Our topic this week is which pre-1950's author we might like to be. First of all, I NEVER took this question seriously on the "wanting to BE the author". I agree with the other Whores who've said this week they have no interest in living the sometimes troublesome and unhappy lives of certain authors, nor do they hanker to live in a time without modern meds and conveniences. Count me in on that.
When the topic was announced, my author's brain went immediately to the books various authors-of-other-centuries wrote, and which titles I was drawn to the most. (K.A. Krantz opined on my personal favorite, Alexandre Dumas - I LOVE the Musketeers! I'm loyal to the 1970's movie version but I've read and reread the novel a jillion times.)
As a modern day author, especially in my early years when I was trying to find my own voice as a writer, I admire Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey, and their Witch World and Pern respectively. I wish I could find my own Witch World or Pern - somewhere so unique and wonderful, full of adventure and possibilities that readers (like myself) crave and yearn to live there. I don't wish I'd written their books. I want to write my own that evoke the same kind of reaction. I watched the Harry Potter phenomenon from afar, but I imagine it's the same kind of wonderful longing to BE there yourself when you read J. K. Rowling's prose.
So if we're talking pre-1950's, I'll start with Homer and The Iliad and The Odyssey. (I'm always so impressed when a character in a book says they've read these classics in the original Greek, but I've only read them in heavily annotated English.) Or perhaps Virgil and The Aeneid. Being a huge fan of the Ancient World and mythology, these three tales were right up my alley, plus Odysseus and Penelope get a happy ending.
I also admire Jane Austen's novels, for capturing a time and place in a way that many of us still treasure and want to visit. Even if she didn't really write waltzing Dukes....
If I had to choose (and Dumas was taken), I'd go with either Jules Verne or H. G. Wells. I think they're closest to my science fiction romance DNA, with their fabulous mysterious islands, submarines and Men in the Moon and Time Machines....
But wait, there's also H. Rider Haggard, with his cracking good adventure tales like King Solomon's Mines, the Lost World (dinosaurs anyone?), the Lost City of Gold....
Or maybe Edward Bulwer-Lytton, with Last Days of Pompeii (although I'd clean up his style a LOT and insert more romance and less moralizing.... but hey, he was a man of his times too.)
I gravitate to adventure, science fiction and romance, no matter what time I'm in!
(Here's the trailer from the 1970's "Three Musketeers" movies):