Famous 18th Century British Writers

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century British Writers, including Lord Byron, Jane Austen, William Blake, Thomas Paine and William Wordsworth.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Jane Austen

Jane Austen.
9
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 16, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Steventon Rectory, Hampshire, England
Died: July 18, 1817

Considered one of the greatest writers in English history, Jane Austen is best known for her six major novels - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Her writing was set among the British landed gentry and dealt with ordinary people in everyday ordinary situation. The author achieved great fame after her death. 

 2 William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth.
12
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 7, 1770
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingdom of Great Britain
Died: April 23, 1850

English poet William Wordsworth, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, released Lyrical Ballads in 1798, which set the tone for the Romantic Age of English Literature. Wordsworth was known for his poems I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, The Prelude, and The Solitary Reaper. He also served as the Poet Laureate.

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 3 William Blake

William Blake.
12
Famous As: Painter, Poet
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 12, 1827
William Blake, author of The Songs of Innocence and of Experience, was a prominent figure of the early phase of the Romantic Age, known as the pre-Romantic era. Known for his visual artistry and poetry, he was also a staunch abolitionist and a forerunner of the "free love" movement.

 4 P B Shelley

P B Shelley.
5
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: August 4, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: England
Died: July 8, 1822
Legendary English Romantic poetry P.B. Shelley is remembered for his masterpieces such as Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and Prometheus Unbound. He was known for his poetic imagery, and his popularity soared after his premature death due to drowning while boating at age 29. 

 5 John Keats

John Keats.
6
Famous As: Romantic poet
Birthdate: October 31, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moorgate
Died: February 23, 1821
John Keats was one of the leading 19th-century Romantic poets, along with Byron and Shelley, known for his natural imagery and emotions in his poems. Some of his best-known works are Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, and Ode to a Nightingale. He died of tuberculosis at age 25.

 6 Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson.
7
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 18, 1709
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lichfield, England
Died: December 13, 1784

Essayist, biographer, lexicographer, and literary critic Samuel Johnson, or Dr. Johnson, is remembered for his A Dictionary of the English Language and Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets. He was also a poet, a playwright, and a staunch Tory. His mannerisms indicated he had Tourette syndrome.

 7 Samuel Coleridge

Samuel Coleridge.
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 21, 1772
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ottery St Mary, Devon, Great Britain, United Kingdom
Died: July 25, 1834

Samuel Coleridge was an English poet, philosopher, theologian, and literary critic. He is credited with co-founding the Romantic Movement in England along with his friend William Wordsworth. Despite struggling from bouts of depression and anxiety throughout his adult life, Samuel Coleridge had a major influence on American transcendentalism and writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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 8 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft.
6
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 27, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 10, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, advocate of women's rights, and philosopher. Wollstonecraft, who attracted a lot of attention for her unconventional personal relationships, is widely considered a founding feminist philosopher. Although her unorthodoxy initially attracted criticisms, her advocacy of women's equality became increasingly important during the 20th century. Modern-day feminists cite her works and her life as important influences.

 9 Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke.
5
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: January 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Died: July 9, 1797

Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher, Edmund Burke, was a member of parliament (MP) in the House of Commons of Great Britain for several years. He supported  Catholic emancipation and strongly opposed the French Revolution. He felt revolution destroyed the fabric of good society and traditional institutions of state and society. He is considered the philosophical founder of modern conservatism. 

 10 Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb.
3
Famous As: Writer & Essayist
Birthdate: February 10, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Inner Temple, London, England
Died: December 27, 1834

Renowned British essayist Charles Lamb was a major figure of the Romantic period. He is best remembered for his Essays of Elia and his book of abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays, Tales from Shakespeare, which he co-wrote with his sister, Mary. He had also once spent time in a mental facility.

 11 Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon.
3
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: April 8, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1794

 12 John Wesley

John Wesley.
4
Famous As: Anglican Cleric and Christian Theologian
Birthdate: June 17, 1703
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Epworth, England
Died: March 2, 1791

John Wesley was an English cleric, evangelist, and theologian. He is best remembered for leading a revival movement called Methodism within the Church of England. He is credited with founding societies that eventually became the dominant form of the Methodist movement, which remains relevant today. He continues to be the main theological influence on Methodists all over the world.

 13 Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith.
3
Famous As: Novelist, Playwright, Poet
Birthdate: November 10, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ballymahon
Died: April 4, 1774

Oliver Goldsmith was an Anglo-Irish novelist, poet, and playwright. Described by his contemporaries as a disorganized and impetuous person, Goldsmith is best remembered for his works, such as The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village, and She Stoops to Conquer. A respected writer, Goldsmith's statue has been erected in several places, including the Trinity College, Dublin.

 14 John Clare

John Clare.
8
Famous As: English poet
Birthdate: July 13, 1793
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Helpston, England
Died: May 20, 1864

 15 Thomas De Quincey

Thomas De Quincey.
3
Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: August 15, 1785
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Manchester
Died: December 8, 1859

Essayist Thomas De Quincey is best remembered for his iconic book Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, which initially appeared in the London Magazine. The work was an autobiographical account of his own addiction to opium, which he had begun consuming to help him deal with the pain of his facial neuralgia.

 16 Frances Burney

Frances Burney.
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 13, 1752
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lynn Regis, England
Died: January 6, 1840

 17 Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray
3
Famous As: Poet, Writer, Literary critic
Birthdate: December 26, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: July 30, 1771

 18 Henry Fielding

Henry Fielding.
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: April 22, 1707
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sharpham
Died: October 8, 1754

 19 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 15, 1689
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 21, 1762

 20 William Godwin

William Godwin.
3
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 3, 1756
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wisbech
Died: April 7, 1836

 21 James Boswell

James Boswell
3
Famous As: Biographer
Birthdate: October 18, 1740
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 19, 1795

Best known for his biography of his friend Samuel Johnson, 18th-century biographer and diarist James Boswell was also a qualified lawyer. Know for his reckless lifestyle and his trysts with prostitutes, he had contracted gonorrhea and had also fathered many children, including two illegitimate ones.

 22 William Cowper

William Cowper.
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: November 26, 1731
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berkhamsted
Died: April 25, 1800

 23 Gilbert White

Gilbert White
2
Famous As: Naturalist
Birthdate: July 18, 1720
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Selborne, Hampshire, England
Died: June 26, 1793

 24 Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire

Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 13, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Horringer, England
Died: March 30, 1824

 25 Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts
3
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: July 17, 1674
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Southampton, Kingdom of England
Died: November 25, 1748

 26 William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt.
5
Famous As: English Writer & Literary Critic
Birthdate: April 10, 1778
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Maidstone, Kent, England
Died: September 18, 1830

English essayist and critic William Hazlitt is remembered for his characteristic humanism in his works. Initially aspiring to be a painter, he traveled to Paris but later deviated to philosophy and metaphysics. Though he penned iconic works such as The Spirit of the Age, he spent his later life in oblivion.

 27 Walter Savage Landor

Walter Savage Landor
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: January 30, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warwick, England
Died: September 17, 1864

 28 Henry Fuseli

Henry Fuseli
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 7, 1741
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Z├╝rich
Died: April 16, 1825

 29 William Blackstone

William Blackstone
3
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: July 10, 1723
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 14, 1780

 30 Samuel Richardson

Samuel Richardson
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: August 19, 1689
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mackworth
Died: July 4, 1761

 31 Laurence Sterne

Laurence Sterne
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 24, 1713
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clonmel, Ireland
Died: March 18, 1768

 32 Leigh Hunt

Leigh Hunt.
3
Famous As: English Essayist, Poet & Critic
Birthdate: October 19, 1784
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Southgate, London
Died: August 28, 1859

Known for poems such as Abou Ben Adhem, 19th-century English poet, critic, and essayist Leigh Hunt had founded the newspaper The Examiner, with his brother. Apart from critiquing the politics, theater, and art of his time, he also criticized Prince Regent George, an act that put him behind bars briefly.

 33 David Garrick

David Garrick
3
Famous As: Actor, Playwright, Film producer, Writer, Screenwriter, Stage actor
Birthdate: February 19, 1717
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hereford
Died: January 20, 1779

 34 Robert Knox

Robert Knox
3
Famous As: Military physician
Birthdate: September 4, 1791
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: December 20, 1862

 35 Tobias Smollett

Tobias Smollett
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 19, 1721
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dalquhurn (now part of Renton, Scotland Renton), Scotland
Died: September 17, 1771

Best known for his picaresque novels such as The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett was born into a family of lawyers and soldiers and initially attended medical training. Some believe he quit university without a degree, while it is also said he had served as a navy surgeon.

 36 Eleanor Hibbert

Eleanor Hibbert
3
Famous As: British author
Birthdate: September 1, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1993

 37 Hannah More

Hannah More
3
Famous As: Writer, Poet, Essayist
Birthdate: February 2, 1745
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fishponds
Died: September 7, 1833

English religious author Hannah More soared to literary fame with the release of Village Politics, penned under the pseudonym Will Chip. Its popularity made her write an entire series of tracts that educated the poor. She also established clubs and schools, apart from opposing slavery along with the Clapham Sect.

 38 Maria Edgeworth

Maria Edgeworth
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1768
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Blackbourton, England
Died: May 22, 1849

 39 William Whewell

William Whewell
3
Famous As: Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician
Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: March 6, 1866

William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He worked in a wide range of fields, publishing works in the disciplines of physics, mechanics, geology, economics, and astronomy. He also wrote poetry, sermons, and theological tracts. He is credited with coining the terms linguistics, physicist, consilience, scientist, catastrophism, and uniformitarianism.

 40 John Evelyn

John Evelyn
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 31, 1620
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: February 27, 1706

 41 John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby

John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
3
Famous As: Former Lord Privy Seal
Birthdate: September 8, 1647
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 24, 1721

 42 Thomas Love Peacock

Thomas Love Peacock
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 18, 1785
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Weymouth, England
Died: January 23, 1866

 43 Eliza de Feuillide

Eliza de Feuillide
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 22, 1761
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: April 25, 1813

 44 Frederick Marryat

Frederick Marryat
2
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: July 10, 1792
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 9, 1848

 45 Thomas Hood

Thomas Hood
2
Famous As: Writer, Poet
Birthdate: May 23, 1799
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: May 3, 1845

 46 Adam Ferguson

Adam Ferguson
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 1, 1723
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: February 22, 1816

 47 Mary Lamb

Mary Lamb
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: December 3, 1764
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 20, 1847

 48 William Cullen

William Cullen
2
Famous As: Physician, Chemist, Farmer, Academic, University teacher, Writer, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: April 15, 1710
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamilton
Died: February 5, 1790

 49 John Cleland

John Cleland
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 24, 1709
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England
Died: January 23, 1789

 50 Christopher Smart

Christopher Smart
2
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 11, 1722
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shipbourne, England
Died: May 21, 1771