Famous 18th Century British Writers

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Find out more about the greatest 18th Century British Writers, including Lord Byron, Jane Austen, William Blake, Thomas Paine and William Wordsworth.
Vote for Your Favourite 18th Century British Writers
 1 
Jane Austen
(English Author Best Known for Her Novels: ‘Sense and Sensibility’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Mansfield Park’ and ‘Emma’)
Jane Austen
35
Birthdate: December 16, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Steventon, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
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 
John Locke
(English Philosopher and Physician, Popularly Known as the ‘Father of Liberalism’)
John Locke
11
Birthdate: August 29, 1632
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wrington, Somerset, England
Died: October 28, 1704
John Locke, also known as The Father of Liberalism, was a prominent Enlightenment Age philosopher. A qualified physician, Locke postulated the theory of mind, empiricism, and the idea of tabula rasa. His ideas influenced the social contract theory, the works of Kant and Rousseau, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
William Wordsworth
22
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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 4 
William Blake
(English Poet Who is Considered a Seminal Figure in the History of the Poetry of the Romantic Age)
William Blake
16
Birthdate: November 28, 1757
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
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.
 5 
Mary Wollstonecraft
10
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.

 6 
Jonathan Swift
(Satirist & Author of 'Gulliver's Travels',' A Tale of a Tub' and 'A Modest Proposal')
Jonathan Swift
6
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 7 
Samuel Johnson
11
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.

 8 
Samuel Coleridge
4
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.

 9 
Daniel Defoe
(Author of Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders)
Daniel Defoe
4
Birthdate: 1660 AD
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 24, 1731
Daniel Defoe was an English trader, pamphleteer, and spy, who is best remembered for his 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. He also helped in popularizing the novel format of writing in Britain. He was a forerunner of business journalism, too, and also traded in hosiery, woollen goods, and wine.
 10 
Alexander Pope
(One of the Most Prominent English Poets of the Early 18th Century)
Alexander Pope
7
Birthdate: May 21, 1688
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: May 30, 1744

Alexander Pope was a satirist and poet whose works produced during the Augustan period made him one of the greatest artistic exponents of that period. Widely regarded as one of the most important English poets of the 18th century, Alexander Pope is best remembered for writing discursive poetry and heroic couplets.

 11 
Edmund Burke
(Statesman)
Edmund Burke
5
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. 

 12 
Charles Lamb
(English Essayist, Poet and Antiquarian Best Known for His Books: ‘Essays of Elia’ and ‘Tales from Shakespeare’)
Charles Lamb
4
Birthdate: 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.

 13 
Edward Gibbon
(Historian)
Edward Gibbon
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1794

Eighteenth-century historian and author Edward Gibbon is best remembered for his 6-volume historical work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a narrative that charted events from the 2nd century to the Fall of Constantinople. He had also been an MP, representing Lymington and Liskeard.

 14 
William Penn
(Writer)
William Penn
6
Birthdate: October 14, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 30, 1718

William Penn was a writer and one of the earliest members of the Quakers. He is credited with founding the Province of Pennsylvania. He also oversaw the planning and development of the city of Philadelphia. Penn has several universities and schools named in his honor, including the William Penn University in Iowa. 

 15 
Thomas Gray
(Poet, Writer, Literary critic)
Thomas Gray
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: July 30, 1771
 16 
John Clare
(English poet)
John Clare
10
Birthdate: July 13, 1793
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Helpston, England
Died: May 20, 1864
 17 
Thomas De Quincey
3
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.

 18 
Frances Burney
(Novelist)
Frances Burney
5
Birthdate: June 13, 1752
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: King’s Lynn, England
Died: January 6, 1840
 19 
William Hazlitt
(English Writer & Literary Critic)
William Hazlitt
5
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.

 20 
Gilbert White
(Naturalist)
Gilbert White
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1720
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Selborne, Hampshire, England
Died: June 26, 1793
 21 
William Cowper
5
Birthdate: November 26, 1731
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berkhamsted
Died: April 25, 1800
 22 
Oliver Goldsmith
(Anglo-Irish Novelist, Playwright, Dramatist and Poet)
Oliver Goldsmith
0
Birthdate: November 10, 1728
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: County Longford, Ireland
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.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
7
Birthdate: May 15, 1689
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 21, 1762
 24 
Robert Southey
(Former poet of the Romantic school, and Poet laureate from 1813 until his death)
Robert Southey
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1774
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Died: March 21, 1843
 25 
William Blackstone
(British Jurist and Judge Known for Writing the 'Commentaries on the Laws of England')
William Blackstone
3
Birthdate: July 10, 1723
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 14, 1780

William Blackstone was a British politician, jurist, and judge of the 18th century. Best remembered for authoring the Commentaries on the Laws of England, Blackstone is credited with influencing prominent American personalities like Abraham Lincoln, James Kent, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall among others. His Commentaries, which were cited often in Supreme Court cases, were repeatedly republished throughout the 1770s.

 26 
John Burgoyne
(General, dramatist and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1761 to 1792)
John Burgoyne
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1722
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sutton, Bedfordshire, England
Died: August 4, 1792
 27 
Isaac Watts
(Theologian)
Isaac Watts
3
Birthdate: July 17, 1674
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Southampton, Kingdom of England
Died: November 25, 1748
 28 
Laurence Sterne
(Novelist)
Laurence Sterne
3
Birthdate: November 24, 1713
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clonmel, Ireland
Died: March 18, 1768
 29 
Samuel Richardson
(Writer, Novelist)
Samuel Richardson
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1689
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mackworth
Died: July 4, 1761
 30 
William Godwin
(Journalist)
William Godwin
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1756
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wisbech
Died: April 7, 1836
 31 
Ignatius Sancho
(Composer, Writer)
Ignatius Sancho
3
Birthdate: 1729 AD
Birthplace: Atlantic Ocean
Died: December 14, 1780
 32 
Henry Fielding
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1707
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sharpham
Died: October 8, 1754
 33 
Leigh Hunt
(English Essayist, Poet & Critic)
Leigh Hunt
3
Birthdate: October 19, 1784
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Southgate, London, England
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.

Elizabeth Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
3
Birthdate: May 13, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Horringer, England
Died: March 30, 1824
 35 
Robert Knox
(Military physician)
Robert Knox
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1791
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: December 20, 1862
 36 
David Garrick
(Actor, Playwright, Film producer, Writer, Screenwriter, Stage actor)
David Garrick
4
Birthdate: February 19, 1717
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hereford
Died: January 20, 1779
 37 
Walter Savage Landor
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warwick, England
Died: September 17, 1864
 38 
Maria Edgeworth
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1768
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Blackbourton, England
Died: May 22, 1849
 39 
Hannah More
(Writer, Poet, Essayist)
Hannah More
3
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.

John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Normanby
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1647
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 24, 1721
 41 
Eleanor Hibbert
(British author)
Eleanor Hibbert
3
Birthdate: September 1, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 18, 1993
 42 
William Whewell
(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)
William Whewell
4
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.

 43 
Thomas Chatterton
(Former Poet whose best known poem, O synge untoe mie roundelaie was set to a five-part madrigal by Samuel Wesley)
Thomas Chatterton
3
Birthdate: November 20, 1752
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 24, 1770
 44 
Dorothy Wordsworth
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1771
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cockermouth, England
Died: January 25, 1855
 45 
Thomas Hood
(Writer, Poet)
Thomas Hood
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1799
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: May 3, 1845
 46 
Colley Cibber
(Former Actor and Poet Who Was a Theater Artist and a Manager)
Colley Cibber
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1671
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 11, 1757
 47 
Eliza de Feuillide
2
Birthdate: December 22, 1761
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: April 25, 1813
 48 
Frederick Marryat
(Naval officer)
Frederick Marryat
2
Birthdate: July 10, 1792
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 9, 1848
 49 
Mary Lamb
(Author)
Mary Lamb
2
Birthdate: December 3, 1764
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 20, 1847
 50 
John Evelyn
(Writer)
John Evelyn
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1620
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Surrey, England
Died: February 27, 1706