Writers

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
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 ...more
Christopher Hitchens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
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 psuedonymGeorge Orwell, was an English author. His work is marked by a profound conscientiousness of social injustice, an ...more
Ralph Waldo Emerson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher. Dostoyevsky's literary works explore human ...more
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Rachel Carson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Philip K. Dick is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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, ...more
August Strindberg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Clive James is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
John Updike is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Samuel Johnson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
James Ellroy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
John Kenneth Galbraith is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Jorge Luis Borges is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Essayists
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 ...more
Larry Kramer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Larry Kramer is an American playwright, author, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to ...more
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Joyce Carol Oates is an American author. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over forty novels, as well as a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short ...more
Zadie Smith is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Zadie Smith FRSL is an English novelist, essayist, and short story writer. As of 2012, she has published four novels, all of which have received substantial critical praise. In 2003, she was ...more
Nora Ephron is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Nora Ephron was an American journalist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer, director, and blogger. Ephron is best known for her romantic comedies and was nominated three ...more
Wallace Shawn is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Essayists
Wallace Michael "Wally" Shawn is an American stand-up comedian, actor, singer, dancer, playwright, essayist, and voice artist, best known for appearing in films, such as Wally Shawn in ...more