It is absolutely horrible to go unappreciated. Unfortunately for these authors, most of them remained completely unrecognized during life, and did not become famous until after their deaths.
Now, all of them, from Thoreau to Stieg Larsson, are widely read and widely known. Most of the following authors are found in anthologies, taught in every English Literature course, and have even had their works (or their lives) adapted for film or television. Some also received literary prizes posthumously.
Did we forget any of your favorite authors who only reached fame after death? Let us know in the comments!