Famous 18th Century Playwrights

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 1 
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
12
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.

 2 
Friedrich Schiller
(Playwright and Poet Known for His Works 'The Robbers', 'Don Carlos' and 'Mary Stuart')
Friedrich Schiller
5
Birthdate: November 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marbach am Neckar, Germany
Died: May 9, 1805

Friedrich Schiller was a German poet, physician, philosopher, playwright, and historian. Schiller is best remembered for his friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the two discussed issues concerning aesthetics. Schiller's discussions with Goethe paved the way for a period, which came to be known as Weimar Classicism. Friedrich Schiller is also widely regarded as Germany's most prominent classical playwright.

 3 
Walter Scott
(Novelist and Poet known for his Works Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and The Lady of the Lake)
Walter Scott
4
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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 4 
Olympe de Gouges
(French Playwright, Political Activist, and Advocate for Women's Rights)
Olympe de Gouges
10
Birthdate: May 7, 1748
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montauban, France
Died: November 3, 1793

Olympe de Gouges was an 18th-century French playwright and political activist. Her writings on women's rights and abolitionism were popular in various countries. She was an outspoken advocate against the slave trade in the French colonies. She demanded that French women be given the same rights as French men. She was executed during the Reign of Terror.

 5 
Pierre Beaumarchais
(French Polymath and One of the Greatest Playwrights of 18th-Century France)
Pierre Beaumarchais
3
Birthdate: January 24, 1732
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 18, 1799

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was a French polymath who had worked as a watchmaker, playwright, musician, financier, and diplomat. He was also an inventor and revolutionary. He was much respected in French society and held influence in the court of King Louis XV. He supported American independence and actively participated in the early stages of the 1789 French Revolution. 

 6 
Carlo Goldoni
(Italian Librettist and Playwright Credited with Producing Some of Italy's Best-Loved and Most Famous Plays)
Carlo Goldoni
4
Birthdate: February 25, 1707
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: February 6, 1793

Carlo Goldoni was an Italian librettist and playwright from the Republic of Venice. He is credited with producing some of Italy's best-loved and most famous plays. His plays are often admired for their ingenious mix of honesty and wit. One of his most famous works, Servant of Two Masters, has been translated into many languages.

 7 
John Burgoyne
(General, dramatist and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1761 to 1792)
John Burgoyne
5
Birthdate: February 24, 1722
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sutton, Bedfordshire, England
Died: August 4, 1792
 8 
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
(Irish Politician, Playwright and Poet)
Richard Brinsley Sheridan
4
Birthdate: October 30, 1751
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: July 7, 1816

Irish-born playwright and satirist Richard Brinsley Sheridan is remembered for his plays such as The School for Scandal and A Trip to Scarborough. He owned Drury Lane Theatre in London and was known for reviving the Restoration comedy of manners, replete with stock characters and satire.

 9 
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
(German Writer, Dramatist, Art Critic and a Spokesperson of the Enlightenment Era)
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
4
Birthdate: January 22, 1729
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kamenz, Germany
Died: February 15, 1781

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a noted German dramatist, critic, and author, remembered especially for his contribution towards liberating German theatre from the influence of its classical and French counterpart. Known for such literary masterpieces like Miss Sara Sampson; Emilia Galotti; Minna von Barnhelm; Nathan the Wise; Laocoön; Hamburg Dramaturgy, he is now considered an outstanding representative of the Enlightenment era.

 10 
David Garrick
(Actor, Playwright, Film producer, Writer, Screenwriter, Stage actor)
David Garrick
6
Birthdate: February 19, 1717
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hereford
Died: January 20, 1779
 11 
Richard Steele
(Writer)
Richard Steele
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1672
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: September 1, 1729
 12 
Hannah More
(Writer, Poet, Essayist)
Hannah More
6
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.

 13 
Heinrich von Kleist
(One of the Leading Lights of German Literary Romanticism)
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.

 14 
Colley Cibber
(Former Actor and Poet Who Was a Theater Artist and a Manager)
Colley Cibber
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1671
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 11, 1757
 15 
Emanuel Schikaneder
(Impresario)
Emanuel Schikaneder
4
Birthdate: September 1, 1751
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Straubing, Germany
Died: September 21, 1812
 16 
Christopher Smart
(Poet)
Christopher Smart
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1722
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shipbourne, England
Died: May 21, 1771
 17 
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.

 18 
Joanna Baillie
(Scottish Poet and Dramatist Best Known by Her Plays on the Passions)
Joanna Baillie
6
Birthdate: September 11, 1762
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hamilton, Scotland
Died: February 23, 1851

Joanna Baillie was a Scottish dramatist and poet who recieved critical acclaim for her works, such as Fugitive Verses and Plays on the Passions. One of her most popular works DeMonfort helped inspire Byron's drama, Manford. Baillie was also known for her philanthropic efforts; she donated half her earnings to charity and took an active part in several philanthropic activities.

 19 
August Wilhelm Schlegel
(Linguist, Translator, Sanskrit scholar, Philosopher, Poet, Literary critic, Literary historian, Romanist, Playwright, University teacher, Writer, Indologist)
August Wilhelm Schlegel
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1767
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hanover
Died: May 12, 1845
 20 
Felicia Hemans
(Poet)
Felicia Hemans
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1793
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Died: May 16, 1835
 21 
Pierre de Marivaux
(Novelist)
Pierre de Marivaux
2
Birthdate: February 4, 1688
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 12, 1763
 22 
Wolfgang von Kempelen
(Author and inventor, known for his chess-playing "automaton" hoax The Turk and for his speaking machine)
Wolfgang von Kempelen
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1734
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bratislava, Slovakia
Died: March 26, 1804

Known as an eccentric thinker, Wolfgang von Kempelen is best remembered for his automatic chess-playing machine The Turk and his speaking machine. The Turk eventually turned out to be a hoax, designed by Kempelen to impress Maria Theresa, the Austrian Empress, and had human chess players operating it.

 23 
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.

 24 
Eliza Haywood
(British author)
Eliza Haywood
2
Birthdate: 1693 AD
Birthplace: England
Died: February 25, 1756
 25 
Vittorio Alfieri
(Dramatist)
Vittorio Alfieri
2
Birthdate: January 16, 1749
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Asti, Italy
Died: October 8, 1803
 26 
Madeleine de Scudéry
(Writer)
Madeleine de Scudéry
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1607
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: June 2, 1701
 27 
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.

 28 
William Wycherley
(Dramatist of the Restoration period, best known for the plays The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer)
William Wycherley
2
Birthdate: April 8, 1641
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clive, Shropshire, England
Died: January 1, 1716
 29 
Alois Senefelder
(Actor and playwright who invented the printing technique of lithography in the 1790s)
Alois Senefelder
2
Birthdate: November 6, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: February 26, 1834
 30 
Judith Sargent Stevens Murray
(Advocate)
Judith Sargent Stevens Murray
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1751
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 9, 1820
 31 
Nicholas Rowe
(Poet)
Nicholas Rowe
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1674
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Little Barford, England
Died: December 6, 1718
 32 
August von Kotzebue
(Playwright)
August von Kotzebue
2
Birthdate: May 3, 1761
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Weimar, Germany
Died: March 23, 1819
 33 
Carlo Gozzi
(Playwright)
Carlo Gozzi
2
Birthdate: December 13, 1720
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: April 4, 1806
 34 
Eugène Scribe
(French dramatist)
Eugène Scribe
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: February 20, 1861
 35 
Charles Dibdin
(Composer)
Charles Dibdin
2
Birthdate: March 4, 1745
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Southampton, England
Died: July 25, 1814
 36 
Charles Maturin
(Writer)
Charles Maturin
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1780
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 30, 1824
 37 
Mary Russell Mitford
(Author)
Mary Russell Mitford
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Alresford, England
Died: January 10, 1855
 38 
Nicolas Chamfort
(Writer)
Nicolas Chamfort
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1741
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Clermont-Ferrand, France
Died: April 13, 1794
 39 
Samuel Foote
(Playwright, Impresario, Actor, Stage actor, Writer)
Samuel Foote
2
Birthdate: January 27, 1720
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Truro
Died: October 21, 1777
 40 
Alain-René Lesage
(Novelist)
Alain-René Lesage
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1668
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sarzeau, France
Died: November 17, 1747
 41 
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
(Author)
Louis-Sébastien Mercier
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1740
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 25, 1814
 42 
Fabre d'Églantine
(Actor)
Fabre d'Églantine
2
Birthdate: July 28, 1750
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Carcassonne, France
Died: April 5, 1794
 43 
Charlotte Lennox
(Author)
Charlotte Lennox
2
Birthdate: 1730 AD
Birthplace: Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Died: January 4, 1804
 44 
Susanna Rowson
(Novelist)
Susanna Rowson
2
Birthdate: 1762 AD
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
Died: March 2, 1824
 45 
Royall Tyler
(Jurist)
Royall Tyler
3
Birthdate: June 18, 1757
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 26, 1826
 46 
Elizabeth Inchbald
(Novelist)
Elizabeth Inchbald
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1753
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Suffolk, England
Died: August 1, 1821
 47 
Isabelle de Charrière
(Dutch-Swiss Writer Best Known for Her Letters and Novels)
Isabelle de Charrière
2
Birthdate: October 20, 1740
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: December 27, 1805

Isabelle de Charrière was born to a Dutch noble family but later married her brother’s Swiss teacher and settled in Switzerland. A fine novelist, known for works such as Trois Femmes and Caliste; ou, lettres écrites de Lausanne, she critiqued social conventions and aristocratic privilege.

 48 
Charles Paul de Kock
(Novelist)
Charles Paul de Kock
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1793
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Passy, Paris, France
Died: April 27, 1871
 49 
Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz
(Writer)
Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz
2
Birthdate: January 23, 1751
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cesvaine, Latvia
Died: June 4, 1792
 50 
Henry Carey
(Poet)
Henry Carey
1
Birthdate: August 26, 1687
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: England
Died: October 5, 1743