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.

Vote for Your Favourite 18th Century Novelists

 1 
Jane Austen
(Novelist)

Jane Austen
10
Birthdate: December 16, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: 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 
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(Novelist Best Known for 'The Sorrows of Young Werther', the First Novel of The Sturm Und Drang Movement)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
5
Birthdate: August 28, 1749
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Goethe House, Frankfurt, Germany
Died: March 22, 1832

Regarded as the greatest literary figure in Germany's modern era, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a statesman and writer. Apart from writing poetry and prose, he also wrote treatises on color, anatomy, and botany. Thanks to his literary genius, Goethe was made part of the Duke's privy council in Weimar and he implemented several reforms at the University of Jena.

 3 

Mary Wollstonecraft
5
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.

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

Jonathan Swift
5
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.

 5 
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.

 6 
Walter Scott
(Novelist and Poet known for his Works Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and The Lady of the Lake)

Walter Scott
6
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.

 7 
Marquis de Sade
(Novelist, Philosopher)

Marquis de Sade
6
Birthdate: June 2, 1740
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
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. 
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 8 

Oliver Goldsmith
3
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.

 9 

E. T. A. Hoffmann
5
Birthdate: January 24, 1776
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: June 25, 1822

E. T. A. Hoffmann was a German author, jurist, artist, composer, and music critic. His stories served as an inspiration and laid the foundation for The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is also based on Hoffmann's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Hoffmann is among the most influential authors of the Romantic Movement.

 10 
Jacob Grimm
(Philologist)

Jacob Grimm
3
Birthdate: January 4, 1785
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hanau, Germany
Died: September 20, 1863

Part of the legendary folklorist duo known as the Brothers Grimm, Jacob Grimm gave to the world Grimm’s Fairy Tales, along with his younger brother, Wilhelm Grimm. The son of a lawyer, he, too, had initially studied law. He also contributed immensely to Germanic linguistics, with his Grimm's law.

 11 
William Hazlitt
(English Writer & Literary Critic)

William Hazlitt
4
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.

 12 
Horace Walpole
(Writer, Novelist, Autobiographer, Politician)

Horace Walpole
3
Birthdate: September 24, 1717
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: March 2, 1797

 13 
Samuel Richardson
(Writer, Novelist)

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

 14 
Laurence Sterne
(Novelist)

Laurence Sterne
4
Birthdate: November 24, 1713
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Clonmel, Ireland
Died: March 18, 1768

 15 

Henry Fielding
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1707
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sharpham
Died: October 8, 1754

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

 17 
Frances Burney
(Novelist)

Frances Burney
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1752
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: King’s Lynn, England
Died: January 6, 1840

 18 
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
(Explorer, Antiquarian, Egyptologist, Archaeologist, Novelist, Travel writer)

Giovanni Battista Belzoni
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1778
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Padua
Died: December 3, 1823

Giovanni Battista Belzoni was an Italian explorer and archaeologist of Egyptian antiquities. A pioneer in the field of Egyptian archaeology, Belzoni was the first person to enter the famous Pyramid of Khafre. Belzoni is also credited with unblocking the entrance of the temple at Abu Simbel and discovering the tomb of Seti I, which is referred to as Belzoni's Tomb. 

 19 
Sarah Josepha Hale
(American author)

Sarah Josepha Hale
4
Birthdate: October 24, 1788
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newport, New Hampshire, United States
Died: April 30, 1879

 20 

Tobias Smollett
3
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.

 21 
Jean Paul
(Romantic Writer)

Jean Paul
4
Birthdate: March 21, 1763
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wunsiedel, Germany
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

 22 

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.

 23 

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

Heinrich von Kleist
3
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.

 25 
Eleanor Hibbert
(British author)

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

 26 

Dorothy Wordsworth
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1771
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cockermouth, England
Died: January 25, 1855

 27 
Alessandro Manzoni
(Poet, Novelist and Philosopher.)

Alessandro Manzoni
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1785
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: May 22, 1873

Alessandro Manzoni was a 19th-century Italian poet, novelist, and philosopher. His novel The Betrothed is generally counted among the masterpieces of world literature. He is credited to have contributed to the stabilization of the modern Italian language. He was politically active and was a member of the Italian Senate. He was a proponent of Liberal Catholicism. 

 28 
James Hogg
(Poet, Writer, Novelist, Biographer, Songwriter)

James Hogg
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1770
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ettrick, Scotland
Died: November 21, 1835

 29 
Cao Xueqin
(Writer)

Cao Xueqin
2
Birthdate: 1724 AD
Birthplace: Nanjing, China
Died: 1763 AD

 30 

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

 31 
Frederick Marryat
(Naval officer)

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

 32 

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

 33 
Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
(Former Writer best known for writing the epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) (1782))

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Amiens, France
Died: September 5, 1803

 34 
John Cleland
(Novelist)

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

 35 

Ludvig Holberg
2
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.

Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1788
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Łubowice, Poland
Died: November 26, 1857

German Romantic lyricist Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff is best remembered for his epic poem Robert und Guiscard, which highlights the French Revolution. His prose works such as Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing, revolving around themes such as love, too, gained him fame. He also worked in the civil services

 37 

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

 38 

Charles Brockden Brown
2
Birthdate: January 17, 1771
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 22, 1810

 39 

Nikolay Karamzin
2
Birthdate: December 12, 1766
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mikhaylovka, Russia
Died: June 3, 1826

 40 

Clemens Brentano
2
Birthdate: September 9, 1778
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Koblenz, Germany
Died: July 28, 1842

 41 

Johann David Wyss
2
Birthdate: May 28, 1743
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bern, Switzerland
Died: January 11, 1818

Best known for his classic The Swiss Family Robinson, originally written in German, Swiss author and pastor Johann David Wyss was apparently inspired by Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and decided to write a tale for his sons. The book was later edited and illustrated by 2 of his sons.

 42 

Pierre de Marivaux
2
Birthdate: February 4, 1688
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 12, 1763

 43 

Charlotte Smith
2
Birthdate: May 4, 1749
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 24, 1806

 44 
John Galt
(Novelist)

John Galt
2
Birthdate: May 2, 1779
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: April 11, 1839

John Galt was a Scottish entrepreneur, novelist, and social and political commentator. Often referred to as the first English-language political novelist, Galt wrote extensively on issues pertaining to the Industrial Revolution. John Galt is also known as the father of Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt, who went on to become one of the fathers of the Canadian Confederation.

 45 

Friedrich Schlegel
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1772
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hannover, Germany
Died: January 12, 1829

 46 

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

 47 
Matthew Lewis
(Novelist)

Matthew Lewis
2
Birthdate: July 9, 1775
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 14, 1818

Remembered as Monk Lewis, because of his iconic Gothic novel The Monk, English novelist Matthew Lewis initially worked for the British embassy in the Netherlands. The owner of a huge fortune in Jamaica, he made a voyage to the place to supervise his slaves but died of yellow fever on the voyage back.

 48 

Charles Maturin
2
Birthdate: September 25, 1780
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 30, 1824

Adelbert von Chamisso
2
Birthdate: January 30, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sivry-Ante, France
Died: August 21, 1838

 50 

John Pendleton Kennedy
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: August 18, 1870