Famous 18th Century Novelists

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Novelists, including Voltaire, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Marquis de Sade and Denis Diderot.

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 Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 30, 1797
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Somers Town, London, England
Died: February 1, 1851
An author who was admired for her exploration of the Gothic genre, Mary Shelley is best remembered for her novel Frankenstein. She also edited the works of her husband, Romantic poet P.B. Shelley. She lost her husband to a drowning accident and eventually passed away due to brain tumor.

 2 Jane Austen

Jane Austen.
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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. 

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 3 Voltaire

Voltaire.
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 21, 1694
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 30, 1778
18th-century historian, author, philosopher, and advocate of freedom of speech Voltaire was a leading figure of the French Age of Enlightenment. He often ran into trouble for his criticism of the French nobility and the Roman Catholic Church. He once went to Britain on voluntary exile, fearing imprisonment in France.

 4 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft.
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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.

 5 Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade.
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Famous As: Erotic Novelist
Birthdate: June 2, 1740
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris
Died: December 2, 1814
Marquis de Sade is remembered for his erotic books such as The 120 Days of Sodom. He was known for his peculiar way of deriving sexual pleasure by torturing his victims, now known as “sadism.” He was jailed for several years for sexual abuse against men, women, and children. 

 6 Stendhal

Stendhal.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 23, 1783
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grenoble
Died: March 23, 1842
French author Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by his pseudonym, Stendhal, had used a number of other pseudonyms, too. He had lost his mother early in life and had also served in the French army briefly. He is remembered for novels such as The Red and the Black.

 7 Walter Scott

Walter Scott.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 15, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 21, 1832

Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

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 8 Honoré de Balzac

Honoré de Balzac.
4
Famous As: French Novelist and Playwright
Birthdate: May 20, 1799
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tours
Died: August 18, 1850

Honoré de Balzac was a French playwright and novelist. Since his works gave a detailed, unfiltered representation of society, Honoré de Balzac is generally considered one of the founders of realism and an important figure in European literature. Renowned for creating multi-faceted characters, Balzac influenced several popular writers like Charles John Huffam Dickens, Émile Zola, Henry James, and Gustave Flaubert.

 9 Denis Diderot

Denis Diderot.
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 5, 1713
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Langres, France
Died: July 31, 1784

Denis Diderot revolutionized the Age of Enlightenment as the co-founder of Encyclopédie, which was banned for questioning religion. He had flirted with the idea of joining the theater and becoming a priest, and even studied law, but later devoted himself to languages, literature, and philosophy.

 10 Henry Fielding

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

 11 Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver Goldsmith.
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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.

 12 Horace Walpole

Horace Walpole
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Autobiographer, Politician
Birthdate: September 24, 1717
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: March 2, 1797

 13 William Hazlitt

William Hazlitt.
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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.

 14 Laurence Sterne

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

 15 Thomas De Quincey

Thomas De Quincey.
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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 Giovanni Battista Belzoni

Giovanni Battista Belzoni
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Famous As: Explorer, Antiquarian, Egyptologist, Archaeologist, Novelist, Travel writer
Birthdate: November 5, 1778
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Padua
Died: December 3, 1823

 18 Tobias Smollett

Tobias Smollett
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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.

 19 Eleanor Hibbert

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

 20 Jean Paul

Jean Paul.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 21, 1763
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wunsiedel, Holy Roman Empire
Died: November 14, 1825

Jean Paul was a German writer best remembered for his humorous stories and novels. While many of his fans hold him in high regard, his critics treat his work with indifference. Due to such a disparity, Paul holds an unusual position in German literary history. Robert Schumann admired Jean Paul's works, which served as an inspiration to the former's Papillons

 21 Heinrich von Kleist

Heinrich von Kleist
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 18, 1777
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany
Died: November 21, 1811

Dissatisfied with his army career, Heinrich von Kleist had also studied law and math but quit studies later to devote himself to writing. Part of German Romanticism, he penned iconic plays such as The Schroffenstein Family and Hermann’s Battle. He eventually shot himself and his lover Henriette in a murder-suicide.

 22 James Hogg

James Hogg
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Famous As: Poet, Writer, Novelist, Biographer, Songwriter
Birthdate: December 9, 1770
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ettrick, Scotland
Died: November 21, 1835

 23 Cao Xueqin

Cao Xueqin
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: 1724 AD
Birthplace: Nanjing, China
Died: 1763 AD

 24 John Cleland

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

 25 Alfred de Vigny

Alfred de Vigny.
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Famous As: Poet, Playwright, Novelist
Birthdate: March 27, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Loches
Died: September 17, 1863

Alfred de Vigny was a French poet whose poem La Maison du berger is regarded by some as the greatest 19th-century French poem. One of the leaders of French Romanticism, Vigny also wrote philosophical novels. Also regarded as a thinker, Alfred de Vigny was one of the first French poets to develop a serious interest in Buddhism.

 26 Ludvig Holberg

Ludvig Holberg
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 3, 1684
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: January 28, 1754

 27 Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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Famous As: Writer, Inventor, Novelist, Officer
Birthdate: October 18, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Amiens
Died: September 5, 1803

 28 Bettina von Arnim

Bettina von Arnim
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Famous As: Writer, Salon-holder, Composer, Novelist
Birthdate: April 4, 1785
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Frankfurt
Died: January 20, 1859

 29 Pierre de Marivaux

Pierre de Marivaux
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 4, 1688
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 12, 1763

 30 Madeleine de Scudéry

Madeleine de Scudéry
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 15, 1607
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: June 2, 1701

 31 Sarah Fielding

Sarah Fielding
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 8, 1710
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: England
Died: April 9, 1768

 32 Alexander Radishchev

Alexander Radishchev
2
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 31, 1749
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: September 24, 1802

 33 Alain-René Lesage

Alain-René Lesage
2
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: May 6, 1668
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sarzeau, France
Died: November 17, 1747

 34 Johann Kuhnau

Johann Kuhnau
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Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: April 6, 1660
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geising, Germany
Died: June 5, 1722

 35 Elizabeth Carter

Elizabeth Carter
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: December 16, 1717
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Deal, England
Died: February 19, 1806

 36 Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 23, 1751
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cesvaine, Latvia
Died: June 4, 1792

 37 Justus Möser

Justus Möser
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 14, 1720
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Osnabrück, Germany
Died: January 8, 1794

 38 Georges Rodenbach

Georges Rodenbach
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: July 16, 1855
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tournai, Belgium
Died: December 25, 1898

 39 Isabelle de Charrière

Isabelle de Charrière
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 20, 1740
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: December 27, 1805

 40 Jean-François Marmontel

Jean-François Marmontel
1
Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: July 11, 1723
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bort-les-Orgues, France
Died: December 31, 1799

Jean-François Marmontel was a French historian and writer. He was a prominent member of the Encyclopédistes movement. He studied with the Jesuits at Mauriac and taught in their colleges. He began a literary career at the advice of Voltaire and wrote a series of tragedies, including Cleopâtre and Heraclides. He was a member of Les Neuf Sœurs, a masonic lodge. 

 41 Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington
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Famous As: Poet, Writer
Birthdate: September 1, 1789
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Clonmel
Died: June 4, 1849

 42 William Hill Brown

William Hill Brown
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 31, 1765
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 2, 1793

 43 Julie de Lespinasse

Julie de Lespinasse
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Famous As: FrWriter
Birthdate: November 9, 1732
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: May 23, 1776

 44 William Warburton

William Warburton
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 24, 1698
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newark-on-Trent, England
Died: June 7, 1779

 45 Claudine-Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin

Claudine-Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 27, 1682
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
Died: December 4, 1749

 46 Étienne-Gabriel Morelly

Étienne-Gabriel Morelly
1
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: 1717 AD
Birthplace: Vitry-le-François, France
Died: 1778 AD

 47 Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon

Claude Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon
1
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 13, 1707
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 12, 1777

 48 Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens

Jean-Baptiste de Boyer, Marquis d'Argens
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: June 24, 1704
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
Died: January 11, 1771

 49 Abbé Prévost

Abbé Prévost
1
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 1, 1697
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Artois
Died: November 25, 1763

 50 John Hill

John Hill
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Famous As: Author and botanist
Birthdate: November 17, 1714
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Peterborough, England
Died: November 21, 1775