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List of Famous Essayists

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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. Featuring American essayists and others, this list has it all. 

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. 
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and ...more

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The Best Gore Vidal Books #366 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #1,048 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Christopher Hitchens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was an English-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, journalist, and social critic. Hitchens was the author, co-author, ...more

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The Best Christopher Hitchens Books #978 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #673 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic, whose work is characterised by lucid ...more

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16 Things You Didn't Know About George Orwell #8 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #67 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

Ralph Waldo Emerson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a ...more

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The Best Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes #104 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #2,310 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (; French: [maʁsɛl pʁust]; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922), known as Marcel Proust, was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for ...more

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The Best Marcel Proust Quotes #45 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #864 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (; Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой, tr. Lev Nikoláyevich Tolstóy; [lʲef nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ tɐlˈstoj] (listen); 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 – 20 ...more

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#3 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #105 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #52 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Isaac Asimov (; c. January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. ...more

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The Best Isaac Asimov Books #51 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #763 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (; Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский, tr. Fyódor Mikháylovich Dostoyévskiy, IPA: [ˈfʲɵdər mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ dəstɐˈjɛfskʲɪj] (listen); 11 ...more

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#2 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #158 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #46 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Essayists
James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a ...more

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#122 of 177 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time #109 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #19 of 111 The Best American Poets

Rachel Carson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the ...more

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#157 of 316 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #723 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #658 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories ...more

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Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True #112 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #847 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

August Strindberg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Johan August Strindberg (; Swedish: [ˈoːɡɵst ²strɪnːdbærj] (listen); 22 January 1849 – 14 May 1912) was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer ...more

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The Best August Strindberg Quotes #192 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #1,155 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

Clive James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Clive James (born 7 October 1939) is an Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and memoirist. He has lived and worked in the United Kingdom since 1962.

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#38 of 78 History's Greatest Essayists #97 of 242 180+ Atheist Authors and Journalists

John Updike is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Essayists
John Hoyer Updike (March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short-story writer, art critic, and literary critic. One of only three writers to win the Pulitzer Prize for ...more

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#326 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #72 of 177 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time #63 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time

Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709 [OS 7 September] – 13 December 1784), often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, ...more

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The Best Samuel Johnson Quotes #173 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #441 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Victor Marie Hugo (French: [viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo] (listen); 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the ...more

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The Best Victor Hugo Quotes #9 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #140 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Essayists
James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of ...more

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#259 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #89 of 177 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time #48 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time

James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Lee Earle "James" Ellroy (born March 4, 1948) is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy has become known for a telegrammatic prose style in his most recent work, wherein ...more

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#175 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #111 of 207 The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today #200 of 313 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100

John Kenneth Galbraith ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Essayists
John Kenneth Galbraith (October 15, 1908 – April 29, 2006), also known as Ken Galbraith, was a Canadian-born economist, public official, and diplomat, and a leading proponent of 20th-century ...more

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The Best John Kenneth Galbraith Quotes #816 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #149 of 432 Famous Tall Men Over 6'2

Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (; Spanish: [ˈboɾxes] (listen); 24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986) was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in ...more

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#42 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #354 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time #501 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Larry Kramer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Larry Kramer (born June 25, 1935) is an American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for ...more

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#284 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #162 of 256 The Best Gay Authors #110 of 113 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans

Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1962 and has since published 58 novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many ...more

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The Best Joyce Carol Oates Books #429 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #102 of 177 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time

Zadie Smith is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Zadie Smith FRSL (born 25 October 1975) is a contemporary English novelist, essayist, and short-story writer. Her debut novel, White Teeth (2000), immediately became a best-seller and won a ...more

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#946 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #46 of 247 The Best Female Authors of All Time #24 of 207 The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today

Nora Ephron is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Nora Ephron ( EF-rən; May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012) was an American journalist, writer, and filmmaker. She is best known for her romantic comedy films and was nominated three times for the ...more

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Every Nora Ephron Movie, Ranked Best to Worst #141 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #52 of 122 The Best Comedy Directors in Film History

Wallace Shawn is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Wallace Michael Shawn (born November 12, 1943) is an American character actor, voice artist, playwright and essayist. His film roles have included those of Wally Shawn (a fictionalized version ...more

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