Essayists

Essayists are the writers who produce essays. Essays are the literary pieces of work in which the author presents their own arguments and reflections. Since essays convey the author’s individual views, they make for compelling and interesting reading. Essayists may write on a number of topics like politics, education, social issues, literary criticisms, environment, human rights, etc. Even though essays are primarily written in prose, essayists like Alexander Pope have taken the liberty to compose their essays in verse. Essayists, like writers of other genres, do not always believe in conforming to traditions. John Locke was one such essayist who chose to ignore the brevity element in composing his voluminous essays like ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’. The French author Michel de Montaigne who lived during the 16th century is often hailed as the first essayist, though he himself claimed to have been influenced by the writings of Plutarch and Seneca. Essayists like Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson flourished during the Age of Enlightenment when essays became the preferred literary form for convincing people of their position. Scroll down further for more information on famous essayists from all over the world who enriched literature with their writings.

More From Essayists

 1 James Baldwin

James Baldwin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 2 James Gunn

James Gunn
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 23, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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 3 Mark Twain

Mark Twain Image
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 30, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 21, 1910

Mark Twain, “the father of American literature,” was one of the world’s greatest 19-th century humorists and authors. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were drawn from his childhood experiences in Missouri. In his later life, he sunk into bankruptcy and also recovered.

 4 Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier
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Famous As: Computer scientist, Composer, Programmer, Writer, Essayist, University teacher
Birthdate: May 3, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 5 Voltaire

Voltaire
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 21, 1694
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: May 30, 1778

 6 Lisa Brennan-Jobs

Lisa Brennan-Jobs
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Famous As: Daughter of Steve Jobs
Birthdate: May 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
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 7 Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: November 22, 1963
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 8 Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: March 2, 1982
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 9 Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: June 5, 2012

 10 Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 19, 1934
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian

 11 Max Weber

Maximilian Carl Emil Weber
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: April 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: June 14, 1920

 12 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Scottish
Died: December 3, 1894

 13 Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 9, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: French
Died: April 14, 1986

 14 Fareed Zakaria

Fareed Zakaria
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Famous As: Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Economist
Birthdate: January 20, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American

 15 Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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Famous As: Essayist
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Nationality: Lebanese, British, American

 16 Joan Didion

Joan Didion
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Essayist
Birthdate: December 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

 17 Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett
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Famous As: Novelist, Playwright, Theater Director
Birthdate: April 13, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Irish
Died: December 22, 1989

 18 Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy
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Famous As: Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Essayist
Birthdate: November 24, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Indian

 19 Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman
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Famous As: Columnist, Economist, Essayist, Blogger, University teacher, Actor, Pundit, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: February 28, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American

 20 D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: March 2, 1930

 21 Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein
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Famous As: Science Fiction Writer
Birthdate: July 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: May 8, 1988

 22 Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 18, 1709
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: December 13, 1784

 23 Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British

 24 Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: May 8, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 25 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco
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Famous As: Italian Semiotician, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Italian
Died: February 19, 2016

 26 Washington Irving

Washington Irwing
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Famous As: Author, Historian, Diplomat
Birthdate: April 3, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: November 28, 1859

 27 Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Died: April 10, 1966

 28 W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: January 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 29 Flannery O'Connor

Flannery O'Connor
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: March 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: August 3, 1964

 30 John Ruskin

John Ruskin
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Famous As: Art Critic and Painter
Birthdate: February 8, 1819
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: January 20, 1900

 31 E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: June 7, 1970

 32 Thomas Mann

Paul Thomas Mann
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Famous As: Novelist, Short Story Writer
Birthdate: June 6, 1875
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Swiss, German
Died: August 12, 1955

 33 Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 24, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 34 Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 16, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American

 35 Pierre Bourdieu

Pierre Bourdieu
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Famous As: Philosopher, Sociologist, Anthropologist, Publisher, Essayist, Writer, Professor
Birthdate: August 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: January 23, 2002

 36 Rahul Khanna

Rahul Khanna
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Indian

 37 Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Browne
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Famous As: Essayist, Psychic
Birthdate: October 19, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: November 20, 2013

 38 Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Peruvian

 39 Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Film critic, Poet lawyer, Literary critic
Birthdate: July 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British

 40 V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 17, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: August 11, 2018

 41 Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 11, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: August 6, 1969

 42 Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo
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Famous As: Writer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Novelist, Essayist, Journalist
Birthdate: November 20, 1936
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 43 Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British, American

 44 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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Famous As: Film maker
Birthdate: May 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
Died: June 10, 1982

 45 Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby
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Famous As: Author & Editor
Birthdate: April 17, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

 46 Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 31, 1959
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 47 Amrita Pritam

Amrita Pritam
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 31, 1919
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 31, 2005

 48 Robert Christgau

Robert Christgau
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Famous As: Journalist, Reporter, Essayist, Writer, Music critic
Birthdate: April 18, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 49 Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: December 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Swiss, British

 50 Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
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