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List of Famous Essayists

List of famous essayists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top essayists in the world? This includes the most prominent essayists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable essayists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic essayists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned essayists.

The list you're viewing is made up of people like Gore Vidal and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

From reputable, prominent, and well known essayists to the lesser known essayists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the essayist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous essayists ever?" and "What are the names of famous essayists?" then you're in the right place. (786 items)

List of Famous Essayists People
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    Gore Vidal was an American writer and a public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As Eugene Louis Vidal, he was born to a political family; his maternal grandfather was Thomas Pryor Gore, U.S. Senator for Oklahoma. As Gore Vidal, he was a ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 87 (1925-2012)
    • Birthplace: West Point, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Politician, Journalist, Novelist, Screenwriter, Author + 4 more
    • Credits: Ben-Hur, Gattaca, Bob Roberts, Igby Goes Down, Caligula + 23 more
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    Christopher Eric Hitchens was an Anglo-American author, literary critic and journalist. He contributed to New Statesman, The Nation, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Slate and Vanity Fair. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor and co-editor of over thirty books, ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 62 (1949-2011)
    • Birthplace: Portsmouth, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Commentator, Journalist, Author, Essayist, Writer + 1 more
    • Credits: Phil Ochs: There but for Fortune, Manufacturing Dissent, Collision, Human Terrain: War Becomes Academic
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    Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 21 January 1950), better known by his psuedonymGeorge Orwell, was an English author. His work is marked by a profound conscientiousness of social injustice, an intense dislike of totalitarianism, and a passion for clarity in language.His two most popular works are 1984 ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 47 (1903-1950)
    • Birthplace: Motihari, India
    • Profession: Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Writer
    • Credits: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Animal Farm, 1984, A Merry War + 3 more
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    Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 79 (1803-1882)
    • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
    • Profession: Poet, Author, Essayist, Writer, Philosopher
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    Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu, published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest authors of all time. more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 51 (1871-1922)
    • Birthplace: Auteuil-Neuilly-Passy
    • Profession: Librarian, Novelist, Essayist, Writer, Critic
    • Credits: Swann in Love, Time Regained, The Captive, À la recherche du temps perdu, Ici et là
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    Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, commonly referred to as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright and philosopher who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Tolstoy was a master of realistic fiction and is widely considered one of the greatest novelists of all ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 82 (1828-1910)
    • Birthplace: Yasnaya Polyana, Russia
    • Profession: Novelist, Author, Essayist, Writer, Philosopher + 1 more
    • Credits: To Live, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, War and Peace + 41 more
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    Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was prolific and wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 72 (1920-1992)
    • Birthplace: Petrovichi, Russia
    • Profession: Biochemist, Historian, Novelist, Author, Essayist + 3 more
    • Credits: I, Robot, Bicentennial Man, Probe, Nightfall
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    Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. Many of his ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 60 (1821-1881)
    • Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
    • Profession: Novelist, Author, Essayist, Writer, Engineer
    • Credits: Au Hasard Balthazar, The Gambler, Pickpocket, Saawariya, The Double + 54 more
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    James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry. Hughes is best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. He famously wrote about the period that "the ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 65 (1902-1967)
    • Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States of America
    • Profession: Poet, Novelist, Lyricist, Author, Essayist + 3 more
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    Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 57 (1907-1964)
    • Birthplace: Springdale, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Profession: Marine biologist, Biologist, Conservationist, Author, Essayist + 2 more
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    Philip Kindred Dick was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher whose published works mainly belong to the genre of science fiction. Dick explored philosophical, sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 54 (1928-1982)
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Novelist, Essayist, Writer
    • Credits: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Total Recall, The Adjustment Bureau + 12 more
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    Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography, history, ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 63 (1849-1912)
    • Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
    • Profession: Painter, Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter, Author + 4 more
    • Credits: Miss Julie, Miss Julie, Dreamplay, Dance of Death, De vader + 11 more
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    Clive James AO CBE is an Australian-British author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and memoirist, best known for his autobiographical series Unreliable Memoirs, for his chat shows and documentaries on British television and for his prolific journalism. He has lived and worked in the United ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: age 76
    • Birthplace: Kogarah, Australia
    • Profession: Poet, Novelist, Author, Essayist, Writer + 2 more
    • Credits: The Clive James Show
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    John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic. Updike's most famous work is his "Rabbit" series, which chronicles the life of the middle-class everyman Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom over the course of several decades, from young adulthood to death. Both ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 77 (1932-2009)
    • Birthplace: Reading, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Profession: Poet, Literary critic, Novelist, Art critic, Author + 3 more
    • Credits: The Witches of Eastwick, The Roommate, The Music School, Pigeon Feathers, Ted Williams
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    Samuel Johnson, often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. Johnson was a devout Anglican and committed Tory, and has been described as "arguably the most ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 75 (1709-1784)
    • Birthplace: Lichfield, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Lexicographer, Poet, Biographer, Essayist, Critic
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    Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best known French writers. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 83 (1802-1885)
    • Birthplace: Besançon, France
    • Profession: Statesman, Poet, Novelist, Essayist, Writer + 2 more
    • Credits: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Misérables, Les Misérables + 46 more
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    James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century America, and their ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 63 (1924-1987)
    • Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Activist, Poet, Novelist, Essayist, Writer + 1 more
    • Credits: Go Tell It on the Mountain
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    Lee Earle "James" Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy has become known for a telegrammatic prose style in his most recent work, wherein he frequently omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences, and in particular for the novels The Black Dahlia, The Big ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: age 67
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Crime writer, Screenwriter, Essayist, Actor, Writer
    • Credits: L.A. Confidential, The Black Dahlia, Dark Blue, Street Kings, Rampart + 6 more
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    John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith, OC was a Canadian and, later, American economist, public official, and diplomat, and a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism. His books on economic topics were bestsellers from the 1950s through the 2000s, during which time Galbraith fulfilled the role of ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 98 (1908-2006)
    • Birthplace: Iona Station, Ontario, Canada
    • Profession: Professor, Novelist, Author, Essayist, Economist + 1 more
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    Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges KBE, was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature. His work embraces the "character of unreality in all literature". His best-known books, Ficciones and El Aleph, published in the 1940s, are ... more on Wikipedia
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    • Age: Died at 87 (1899-1986)
    • Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • Profession: Librarian, Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter, Author + 4 more
    • Credits: Invasión, Death and the Compass, The Spider's Stratagem, Los Cuentos de Borges: El Sur, Ghazal + 12 more
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