I wonder, would it be redundant to include history with these two and make it a trio? If the case being made is that science and literature are both reflective of society in a way that continues to fascinate the mind and inform future generations for time immemorial, is history as a subject or practice somehow precluded from individual consideration because it is a subset of literature? As the article notes, it is not only non-fiction, but fiction like prose, poetry and epics that have proven themselves to be an indelible mark of culture and the force of ideas and imagination.
History, at least in my opinion, is different enough from these kinds of works in both its value and its standards of research and veracity that it merits consideration. After all, history has proven that it often repeats itself and, in a way, history represents the results of these indefatigable undulations caused by, or recorded in science and literature. It is a series of guideposts in a sense, serving as records of massive success and massive failure and charting out exactly why and how it came to be this way.
Watching a movie does not create this illusion because we feel we are still we, looking at the scene.
They can be an overused trope. They can be a critical (and often comic) element of films (Woodie Alan, Annie Hall, etc.). And there are times where a character can speak volumes without words, with the right acting, direction, cinematography, and editing.
In text (absent illustrations / comics / graphic novels), words are very nearly all you've got.
(Again: a few exceptions, largely notable for proving the rule.)
In a movie you hear someone speaking. But when you read the thoughts of the protagonist written in a book those thoughts just enter your brain. The experience of reading them in the language used doesn't much differ from when you think your own thoughts.
I think other works such as the Bible, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Bhagavad Gita, and the Koran would have made the authors point much better about how books written a long time ago and in very different circumstances still can tell us who we are.
Surely, these books have far more influence on our world than Lucretius's poems or Faust.
Faust had a pretty big influence on Goethe, who used it in order to create what is "considered by many to be Goethe's magnum opus and the greatest work of German literature" (to quote Wikipedia).
I know that in the Anglo world things like German literature and the romantic movement generated by guys like Goethe didn't have that much of an effect (I think that Keats' and Lord Byron's influence was rather short-lived in practice), but here on the Continent the romantic movement's prestige was immense almost for the entire 19th century and going into the 20th (at the limit guys like Proust and Kafka can certainly be considered as romantics).
For example here's a Faust-related quote from an article talking about Lenin's high interest in European literature :
> At home, Shakespeare, Goethe and Pushkin, among others, were read aloud on Sunday afternoons (...) He devoured Goethe during his two decades in exile, reading and rereading Faust many times.
And talking about the Soviets, let's not forget that the same legend of Faust also inspired Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" , one of the most interesting literary works of the 20th century.
For comparison, the Bible was not at all seen as interesting in Europe during the 19th or the 20th century, only the "réactionnaires" (as they were called in France) had any interest in it + the Pope in Rome who had almost no influence at all after Napoleon's wars.
You might accuse me of euro-centrism, and you would be right, but the fact is that almost all of the world's most influential ideas had been devised in Europe up until WW2, and only after that has US started to challenge Europe's intellectual influence.
Is that true? This was the time when Germany was creating higher criticism.
It is difficult to take for a fact vague statements that make sweeping generalisations without even an outline of the issues at hand. Maybe we should begin by making a list of the world's most influential ideas first?
Second, even in the restricted context, sure many very influential non-Europeans may have been European-educated (as a result of European colonisation), but that doesn't mean you can casually discard the bases of their ideologies that came from their non-European roots. Take the case of Gandhi in India. European-educated for sure, and probably the most influential Indian of the 20th century: but his most influential ideas were distinctly non-European.
Third, what about influential people who weren't European-educated or in any obvious way influenced by European thought? Take the case of Abdul Sattar Edhi, considered Pakistan's "most respected" humanitarian (quote from Wikipedia). No European influence in sight.
Outside shifting goalposts and cherry-picking, I think your original point was a bit of an overreach. You might as well add most influential in Europe, really. The world is bigger than Europe.