7 Radical Authors

This week’s blog post is dedicated to 7 famous authors, who were/are radical in one way or another. I hope you find it interesting.


Andrea DworkinDworkin(September 26th 1946 – April 9th 2005)

Andrea Dworkin is best remembered for her objection to pornography. The radical feminist writer argued that there was a correlation between pornography and violence to women. In the late 1970s and 1980s she was a spokeswoman for the anti-pornography movement, often provoking the ire of liberal feminists with her polarising views. The 10 books she wrote on the subject of feminism include Woman Hating and Right-Wing Women.

Why Radical: radical feminist


Yukio Mishima Mishima(January 14th 1925 – November 25th 1970)

Japan’s most famous author was a controversial figure who held nationalist views and was obsessed with the Samurai code (Bushido). He even set up his own private militia. On November 25th 1968 Mishima and 4 members of his militia barricaded themselves in the Tokyo headquarters of the Eastern Command of Japan’s self-defence forces. After delivering a speech, Mishima committed Seppuku, a Japanese ritual suicide consisting of disembowelment followed by beheading.

Why Radical: nationalist


Taslima Nasreen
Taslima Nasreen
 (Born: 25 August 1962)

Themes in Bangladeshi author and poet Taslima Nasreen’s writing include female oppression and graphic language. When she criticised Islamic philosophy in her book Lajja (1993), a radical fundamentalist organisation called the Council of Islamic Soldiers offered a bounty for her head. The following year she fled Bangladesh to West Bengal. Concerns for her safety culminated in the author going into hiding in New Delhi. In 2015 she moved to the US.

Why Radical: critic


Marquis de Sade Marquis de Sade (June 2nd 1740 – December 2nd 1814)

The Marquis de Sade was a French aristocrat, philosopher and writer who was renowned for his libertine sexuality. His erotic writing was rife with sexual fantasies, pornography, violence and blasphemy. De Sade’s scandalous works made him a despised figure within certain circles, and on several occasions led to him being imprisoned. In 1768 he was exiled to his château at Lacoste. The words sadism and sadist are derived from his name.

Why Radical: sexual libertine


Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
(10th December 1830 – 15th May 1886)

Emily Dickinson was a prolific American poet, who penned over 1700 poems. However, she had fewer than a dozen poems published during her lifetime, and it was only after her death that she achieved fame. The primary reason for Dickinson’s lack of acclaim was her reclusive habits. By the late 1860s’ she very rarely left the house, and when speaking to visitors, she did so from the other side of her closed front door.

Why Radical: recluse


Leo Tolstoy Tolstoy(September 9th 1828 – November 20th 1910)

Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy is widely regarded as being one of the greatest writers of all time. His most famous works are War and Peace and Anna Karenina. It was his time in the army and trips to Europe that led to Tolstoy becoming a Christian Anarchist. Vehemently opposed to state control, he argued that peaceful anarchy could only be brought about by non-violent revolution. His stance is explained in his essay On Anarchy.

Why Radical: political views


Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
 (February 26th 1802 – May 22nd 1885)

Hugo, a successful novelist, poet and dramatist, is considered to be one of his country’s finest writers. His most famous works are The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Misérables. Hugo was an eccentric figure who did all his writing in the nude. The reason being that he believed it helped him avoid procrastination. Unable to leave the house unclothed, he would order his valet to hide his clothes until after he had finished his writing.

Why Radical: eccentric


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  • Very interesting Guy. These lot sure were radical. Have you ever thought of following Hugo’s way of warding off procrastination? Wonder if by the start of the disemboweling stage Mishima was already regretting it — ‘Instead of being disemboweled & beheaded I could be spending the prime of my life being adored, famous & rich.’

    • Unfortunately I am having to get by without a valet due to financial constraints, but if I am ever in a position to hire one I might be tempted to follow Hugo’s example. Seppuku doesn’t sound much fun does it, but Mishima was a man of tradition and principle so can’t imagine he made much of a fuss. Personally I’d be tempted to get the beheading out of the way first, that way the disembowelling wouldn’t be so bad.

  • An interesting post, Guy, which I enjoyed reading. Unfortunately, Hugo’s methods of avoiding procrastination wouldn’t work very well in the present day with so many online distractions. I think the climate in Manchester wouldn’t suit that approach either. 🙂

    • That’s true Heather, online distractions are certainly distracting. The climate in Manchester might not suit the no clothes approach, but then again the cold might make one write quicker.

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