Famous 18th Century Essayists

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 1 
Samuel Johnson
5
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.

 2 
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.

 3 
Jonathan Swift
(Satirist & Author of 'Gulliver's Travels',' A Tale of a Tub' and 'A Modest Proposal')
Jonathan Swift
4
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.

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 4 
Washington Irving
(Author, Historian, Diplomat)
Washington Irving
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 28, 1859

Widely known as the first American man of letters, Washington Irving penned the legendary tales of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which are also called the first short stories by an American author. He had also had a brief stint as a lawyer.

 5 
William Hazlitt
(English Writer & Literary Critic)
William Hazlitt
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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.

 6 
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.

 7 
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.

 8 
Friedrich Schleiermacher
(German Theologian, Philosopher and an Early Leader in Liberal Christianity)
Friedrich Schleiermacher
3
Birthdate: November 21, 1768
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: February 12, 1834

Hailed as an early leader of liberal Christianity, Lutheran philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher was also an eminent biblical scholar and theologian. Best remembered for his works on hermeneutics and theory of translation, he also had a great impact on the evolution of higher criticism and became known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity.

 9 
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.

 10 
George Psalmanazar
3
Birthdate: 1679 AD
Birthplace: South France
Died: May 3, 1763
J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur
3
Birthdate: December 31, 1735
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Caen, France
Died: November 12, 1813
 12 
Ludvig Holberg
(Playwright and an Author)
Ludvig Holberg
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1684
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: January 28, 1754

One of the forefathers of Norwegian and Danish literature, Ludvig Holberg was a legendary literary figure of the Dano-Norwegian dual monarchy era. Initially a French tutor, he later studied music, before devoting himself to writing. His comedies earned him the nickname of The Molière of the North.

 13 
Anna Laetitia Barbauld
(British Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic, Editor, and Author of Children’s Literature)
Anna Laetitia Barbauld
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1743
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kibworth-Harcourt, Leicestershire, England
Died: March 9, 1825

Best known for including political and social themes in her writings, Anna Letitia Barbauld was a renowned poet, essayist, and children’s author. She was the only daughter of Unitarian John Aikin and taught at the Palgrave Academy. She is remembered for her iconic hymn “Life! I Know Not What Thou Art.”

Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle
2
Birthdate: February 11, 1657
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rouen, France
Died: January 9, 1757
 15 
Elizabeth Montagu
(British Social Reformer, Patron of the Arts, Salonnière, Literary Critic and Writer)
Elizabeth Montagu
2
Birthdate: October 2, 1718
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yorkshire, England
Died: August 25, 1800

Part of the 18th-century London intellectual circle, socialite Elizabeth Montagu was a pioneering member of the Bluestockings, a group of women who engaged in evening conversations as a substitute to card-playing. The wife of affluent landowner Edward Montagu, she inherited his riches and later built the Montagu House.

 16 
Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois
(French Actor, Dramatist, Essayist, and Revolutionary.)
Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois
2
Birthdate: June 19, 1749
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 8, 1796

Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois was a French actor, essayist, dramatist, and revolutionary. He played an important role during the Reign of Terror, serving as one of the most important members of the Committee of Public Safety. Although he is credited with saving Madame Tussaud from the Guillotine, Collot d'Herbois oversaw the execution of over 2,000 people in Lyon.

 17 
Joseph Joubert
(Philosopher, Essayist, Writer)
Joseph Joubert
2
Birthdate: May 7, 1754
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montignac
Died: May 4, 1824
Judith Sargent Stevens Murray
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Birthdate: May 1, 1751
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 9, 1820
 19 
Francesco Algarotti
2
Birthdate: December 11, 1712
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: May 3, 1764
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1740
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 25, 1814
Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues
2
Birthdate: August 6, 1715
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
Died: May 28, 1747
 22 
Sylvain Maréchal
2
Birthdate: August 15, 1750
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 18, 1803
 23 
Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro
(Spanish Essayist Known for Encouraging Scientific and Empirical Thought in an Effort to Debunk Myths and Superstitions)
Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro
2
Birthdate: October 8, 1676
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Casdemiro, Spain
Died: September 26, 1764

Eighteenth-century Spanish essayist Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro was a monk of the Benedictine order and also taught theology and philosophy at the University of Oviedo. He later wrote on a variety of subjects such as medicine, philology, and law, in Teatro crítico universal and Cartas eruditas y curiosas.

Konstantin Batyushkov
1
Birthdate: May 29, 1787
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vologda, Russia
Died: July 19, 1855
Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey
1
Birthdate: October 23, 1773
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: January 26, 1850
 26 
José Cadalso
(Spanish Military Officer and Writer Best Known for His ‘Cartas Marruecas’, an Epistolary Novel)
José Cadalso
1
Birthdate: October 8, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: February 26, 1782

José Cadalso was a colonel of the Royal Spanish Army in the 18th century. He was also a well-known author, playwright, poet, and essayist. As an army man, he traveled through Italy, Germany, England, France, and Portugal and studied the literature of these countries. He is credited to have made massive contributions to Spanish Enlightenment literature. 

Étienne Pivert de Senancour
1
Birthdate: November 16, 1770
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 10, 1846
Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens
1
Birthdate: June 24, 1704
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
Died: January 11, 1771
 29 
Henry Francis Cary
(British Author and Translator Known for His Blank Verse Translation of 'The Divine Comedy of Dante')
Henry Francis Cary
1
Birthdate: December 6, 1772
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gibraltar
Died: August 14, 1844

Henry Francis Cary is best remembered for translating Dante’s Divine Comedy in blank verse. He had also penned several biographies of British and French authors. Educated at Oxford, he had also worked at the British Museum as an assistant librarian and was an Anglican clergy.

 30 
Pierre-Claude-François Daunou
1
Birthdate: August 18, 1761
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boulogne, France
Died: June 20, 1840
 31 
Charles-François Lebrun
1
Birthdate: March 19, 1739
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saint-Sauveur-Lendelin, France
Died: June 16, 1824
 32 
John Banim
(Authors)
John Banim
1
Birthdate: April 3, 1798
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kilkenny, Ireland
Died: August 30, 1842
 33 
Vincenzo Cuoco
(Historian)
Vincenzo Cuoco
1
Birthdate: October 1, 1770
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Molise, Italy
Died: December 14, 1823
Vasily Trediakovsky
1
Birthdate: March 5, 1703
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Astrakhan, Russia
Died: August 17, 1768
 35 
George Colman the Elder
0
Birthdate: 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: August 14, 1794
Caroline Howard Gilman
0
Birthdate: 1794 AD
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: 1888 AD
 37 
Pierre, comte Daru
(French military administrator)
Pierre, comte Daru
0
Birthdate: January 12, 1767
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Montpellier, France
Died: September 5, 1829
 38 
Jean-Baptiste Louvet
1
Birthdate: June 12, 1760
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 25, 1797
Buenaventura Carles Aribau
0
Birthdate: November 4, 1798
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 27, 1862