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  • Lou

    Re: Poe

    He was actually quite well-known by the general public, if constantly hard up for money. "The Raven" made him so. During the last part of his life, he often supported himself with public recitals of it.

    He did, however, become POPULAR after death.

  • Andrei

    You missed one. Ever hear of Jesus? His death made him pretty famous.

    • Andrei – Good call. Hard to believe we overlooked Jesus.

      • Girishan Karthik

        Really much of the facts written and understood about Jesus is still contradicting… If we go my bible the list will go on from Moses to Muhammad… Lets confine it to people whose work is based on rational science and art!!!

  • Tom

    Very interesting list. It really shows how, especially in the worlds of art and science, the visionaries and those who change the course of human thought are only truly recognized through the lens of history.

  • Vale

    Ummm… I think Galileo should have been higher on the list… like second or so.

  • Keith Watabayashi

    Jesus doesn't make the list, as he was quite well known during his life, so much so he was executed by the powers that be. How about Socrates? Absolutely NOTHING about his life, his biography, or anything like that. We only know about him through Plato and other students who wrote about him after he died.

    • Ash

      Socrates would have been a good addition. Thanks Keith 🙂

    • fragge

      Jesus wasn't really well known, there are no historical records for him, despite numerous other mentionings of other self-proclaimed messiahs and similar prophets/charlatans. The only thing that comes close doesn't reference his name, and is likely a forgery since it only appeared in the re-published editions after 1400 or whenever that dastardly spaniard re-published it..

  • Meme

    What about Anne Frank

    • Christopher

      I agree…Anne Frank should certainly be on that list!

  • Guyver

    What about Emmit Till?

  • Parker

    Karl Marx?

    • Elizabeth


    • Vishal Sathyan

      Karl Marx was well known during his lifetime itself.

  • Mayra

    I think that the reason for El Greco to paint in that particular way was he suffered of astigmatism, which caused him to see elongated figures, not necessarily for wanting to leave a unique style.

  • Michael Barratt

    All these wonderful humans who give us so great delight. and richness. I can only think of One who, like Charles spurgeon, one would have on their grave stone,”Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”

  • Sam I Am

    Anne Frank. Absolutely.

  • Raymond127

    Nice list. Made me very sad in a way, that these people never knew the impact they would eventually have. How ’bout Nietzsche? I guess that one is how you look at it. He spent the last eleven years of his life in a catatonic state, aware of nothing and no one. But it was during that time that his fame came into being. While he was sane, only a few academic types had ever uttered a word about him. He got to see just the very beggining of his fame, the first little hint of it. Right before his breakdown, he found out a class on one of his recent works was being taught at some or other university, I forget where. Some rare professor that loved his ideas.
    Even more tragic, because as far as I know he had absolutely no idea of his eventual fame, is the case of the great John Kennedy Toole. His novel A Confederacy of Dunces is a book I’d recommend to anyone. It’s hysterical, sad, thought-provoking, silly, philosophical, absurdist, and ultimately hopeful. Too bad Toole couldn’t have hung in there a bit longer. He killed himself after a bunch of rejections. His mom found the rejected novel and fought to have it published. His case breaks my heart when I think of it. He had so much more to offer, but he gave up. I hope on some level, somehow, he knows the joy he’s given people.

  • Mayra

    I went to an exposition of El Greco´s work once and we were told that one of the reasons El Greco´s style is so particular (elongated figures) is because he suffered of astigmatism, and such visual deviation made his perspective differ from reality, apart from his obvious desire to be remembered throughout History.

  • J in Japan

    It’s a common misconception that Galileo’s theories were rejected because of religious beliefs. That is only partly true. The church was relying on the scientific consensus of the time when they rejected Galileo. That is, it wasn’t the church so much that rejected Galileo’s theories as it was his fellow scientists. Galileo wasn’t a very sociable person, and so the other scientists didn’t cut him any slack at all, probably because he was pretty constantly calling them idiots.

  • Peter Boucher

    How about Johann Sebastian Bach

    • Peter Boucher

      Bach died in 1750 and his music was completely forgotten for decades until the great composer Felix Mendelssohn and his orchestra performed Bach’s B Minor Mass in the late 1820’s to an audience that was stunned and in disbelief as to how beautiful it was and as to who this Bach guy was. That began the resurrection of his music and today, many musical experts and historians regard him as the greatest composer whoever lived. From a mathematical standpoint, his music is perfect.

  • Great list, indeed. But with a considerable mistake: Galileo Galilei became internationally famous a long time before his death. Precisely in 1610 with the publication of the Sidereus Nuncius, regarded as a masterpiece by all European astronomers of the time.

  • Saji Kumar

    Notable omission.. Anne Frank.

    Anne Frank, victim of the Holocaust, most well-known for the diary she kept while in hiding which has since become one of the world’s most widely read books.

  • Julian Durkin

    But… but…

    Sylvia Plath.

  • Laura

    I am thinking Helen Keller is an absolute perfect person to add to this list. If you don’t know who she is then its worth it to read about her. I love who she is and what she stands for. My fondest thought of her is in her silent dark voice I feel I can see and hear her light. She is an example to us All. No matter who we are we can be strengthened by her. May God bless us all in our positive endeavors.

    • Vishal Sathyan

      Helen Keller was very famous during her lifetime, and she was added to the list of the most powerful women ever in 1965, three years before she died.

  • vdfvdsvdsv

    You just tottaly forgot poor Anne Frank…. She deserver to be #1