10 Classic American Authors That Don’t Use Profanity (And What They are Famous For)

Published by Slanted Bookshelf Team on

Sometimes, you just want a clean read, a good adult novel that does not contain f-bombs or graphic sex. This can be hard to find nowadays, especially when you are looking at the list of the bestselling suspense novels.

A good, obscenity free novel can make a summer read more pleasant and uplifting. And while sometimes profanity is appropriate for the subject of a book, it doesn’t belong in every book. Some authors are gratuitous with their profanity and sexual scenes, and we don’t want that.

So here is a list of clean American fiction authors and some of their best books. This is part of the series on authors that don’t use profanity. If you like this list and want some more, check out the first article in the series, 18 Bestselling Authors That Don’t Use Profanity. The last article in the series may also interest you – Classic English Authors That Don’t Use Profanity. Which focuses on contemporary authors. Without further ado, let’s get to the list!

Our List of 10 Authors That Don’t Use Profanity

1. Jack London 

The first author on our list, Jack London, lived from the years 1876-1916. At 21 years old, he went off to northwestern Canada for the Klondike gold rush, where he developed much of the material for his wilderness stories. For example, The Call of the Wild and White Fang take place during the Klondike gold rush. The same goes for his hit short story, To Build a Fire. London also wrote about the South Pacific and the San Francisco Bay area in his novel, Sea Wolf.

We think you will enjoy one of the greatest nature novelists of American history, whose writings are clean. Expect themes of man vs. nature and man’s cruelty towards animals. Although his writing is devoid of profanity, there is violence and fighting, since he writes tales of adventure and survival. Recently, his most famous book was turned into a movie – The Call of the Wild, starring Harrison Ford. If you are interested in historical fiction with incredible stories with classic drama by an American literary giant, check out Jack London.

Recommended Reading By Jack London

The Call of the Wild
Wild Fang
The Sea Wolf
Photo by Vladimir Kudinov from Pexels

2. Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist and short story writer from New England, most well known for Little Women – which is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three teenage sisters. This is a great read from the eyes of a feminist abolitionist who lived until 1888 at the age of 55. Alcott was passionate about educating women and blacks to improve their place in society. She writes in an old-fashioned style which, which may be a little harder to understand than modern writing, but has a rhythm of words that takes you back to a simpler time.

Although the book takes place during a very harsh time in American history (The Civil War Era) it is devoid of profanity and obscenity. Alcott’s books are great for children as well as adults. Little Women, the first in a series of four books, was made into a spectacular movie in 2019 ( it rated 94% on Rotten Tomatoes).

Recommended Reading By Louisa May Alcott

Little Women (first book in a series of four)

3. L.M. Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery was a Canadian author who wrote a series of novels starting in 1908. Anne of Green Gables was the first of that series. Her wonderful classic stories are also delightful reads for children. However, the magic of L.M. Montgomery is that she helps adults see the world through the eyes of children. She has a rare gift of making the world interesting and complex. All in all, she has created beautiful, eloquently written stories.

The Blue Castle is definitely suited for adults. It is a romance featuring a bitterly unhappy girl who learns to discover her true self in the face of a terrible tragedy. The Blue Castle is full of romance and joy (as well as some seriousness and darkness) which brings the reader into another world and time. You will enjoy this obscenity and profanity free tale of a young girl’s path to happiness and love. 

Recommended Reading By L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables
The Blue Castle

4. Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane was a writer and poet that passed away at the young age of 28 from tuberculosis. However, in his short life he was able to produce some masterpieces, including his best known work, The Red Badge of Courage. Crane aptly describes the intimate details and innermost thoughts of a newly minted soldier on the front lines of a Civil War battlefield. He shows the reader a gleaming of hope even in the bitter horrors of combat. Some say that the Red Badge of Courage is THE book about war. If you want to try something shorter first, check out The Open Boat, a man-vs-nature short story about 4 men on a boat in the open sea trying to survive.

Recommended Reading By Stephen Crane

The Red Badge of Courage
The Open Boat and Other Stories

5. James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper is a classic American author best known for his romantic depictions of the American West on the frontier and of Native American life. Early in his writing career, he followed in the footsteps of Jane Austen, focusing on morality and life lessons. Thus, his books are mostly clean and wholesome. He is the creator of Natty Bumppo, a beloved American frontiersman and friend of Native Americans in the Last of the Mohicans. This classic was turned into a great, but gory 1992 movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Check out Cooper’s books for clean and heroic stories of action and adventure on the American frontier.

Recommended Reading by Fenimore Cooper

The Pathfinder

The Last of the Mohicans
The Deerslayer

6. Edna Ferber

Edna Ferber is worth checking out for some more classic American stories of the frontiers and plains. She won a Pulitzer prize for her novel, So Big, a snapshot of the bustling city of Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Ferber, who focused on American people, and the sentimental details of their lives, was considered the greatest American novelist of her day. Reading Ferber is liking a time machine back to the turn of the century. Another book of hers, Show Boat, uses the fascinating subject of Chicago riverboats as a backdrop for a story about love, society, marriage, and deception.

Lastly, Cimarron is a beautifully written, but glamorized portrayal of the old West. It includes settlers claiming land grants and prospecting for oil, as well as setting up small towns along the way. Cimmaron was turned into a 1931 Academy-Award winning movie.

Recommended Reading by Edna Ferber

So Big
Show Boat
Photo by mali maeder from Pexels

7. Willa Cather

Willa Cather is a Pulitzer Prize winning American author who lived from 1873-1947. She bounced around from Virginia, to Nebraska, to Pittsburgh, and New York. Her writing is peaceful, rolling, and beautiful. What Georgia O’Keefe does with paint, Willa Cather does with words. Her novels are like murals of the old, arduous American life. She has fantastic descriptive prose which makes her characters come alive in nostalgic vignettes. The Wall Street Journal declared her novel, My Antonia, to be a masterpiece on the 100th year anniversary of its publication.

Recommended Reading by Willa Cather

O Pioneers!
Death Comes for the Archbishop
My Antonia

8. Gene Stratton Porter 

Gene Stratton porter is a fantastic American author who provides excellent romance without all the explicit scenes. Porter was, in addition to being an author, was a naturalist and nature photographer. Her love of nature is evident in her books. Girl of the Limberlost, her most famous work, was adapted four times as a film. Check her out!

Recommended Reading by Gene Stratton Porter

Girl of the Limberlost
The Harvester

9. Eleanor Hodgman Porter

Eleanor H. Porter was a bestselling author in her time. She is best known for her works of  children’s literature, but also of adventure and romance. Porter’s books are also snort-through-your-nose funny, and so very charming. Her quick novels are pleasant, fun diversions within a period of American History. Expect wholesome, family-oriented writing without profanity. Her stories often contain elements of morality. Her most famous book, Pollyanna, was made into a movie.

Recommended Reading by Eleanor Hodgman Porter

Just David
Oh, Money! Money!

10. Ernest Hemingway 

The last author on our list is an interesting case, because Ernerst Hemingway actually has censored profanity in his novels. His works are classic, great reads, and Ernest Hemingway did want to put profanity in them, but they were censored out for the audience of the time. You will notice that swear words have been edited out. For example, he writes ,“They’ll shell the — out of us,” or , “what are you doing now, you lazy drunken obscene unsayable son of an unnameable unmarried gpsy obscenity,” or “Muck them to hell and always.” For that reason, he made the list, but with qualifications.

Hemingway’s stories are excellent, but not exactly squeaky clean. If you have a little more tolerance for suggested profanity, check out his works.

Recommended Reading by Ernest Hemingway 

A Farewell to Arms
The Sun Also Rises
The Old Man and The Sea
For Whom the Bell Tolls

In Conclusion

Remember that this list only contains classic American authors that don’t use profanity. If you want something more modern, check out our list of contemporary 18 Bestselling Authors That Don’t Use Profanity, as well our list of Classic English Authors That Don’t Use Profanity You fill great reads there from authors that are still cranking out good, clean literature. I hope you found your next read here! Happy trails.

Categories: Fiction Books


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