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Essayists American Idol

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This is a list of essayists—people notable for their essay-writing.

Note: Birthplaces (as listed) do not always indicate nationality.

A[edit]

  • Augurio Abeto, (1900–1977, Philippines)
  • André Aciman, (born 1951, Egypt)
  • Joseph Addison (1672–1719, England)
  • Theodor W. Adorno (1903–1969, Germany)
  • José de Alencar, (1829–1877, Brazil)
  • Kingsley Amis (1922–1995, United Kingdom)
  • Martin Amis (born 1949, United Kingdom)
  • Oswald de Andrade, (1890–1954, Brazil)
  • Jacob M. Appel (born 1973, United States)
  • Helena Araújo Ortiz (1934–2015, Colombia)
  • Matthew Arnold (1822–1888, United Kingdom)
  • Anastasia Ashman (born 1964, United States)
  • Margaret Atwood (born 1939, Canada)
  • Isaac Asimov (1920–1992, Russia)
  • W. H. Auden (1907–1973, United Kingdom)
  • Joxe Azurmendi (born 1941, Spain)

B[edit]

  • Rambriksh Benipuri (1902–1968, India)
  • Francis Bacon (1561–1626, England)
  • Walter Bagehot (1826–1877, England)
  • James Baldwin (1924–1987, United States)
  • Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825, England)
  • John Perry Barlow (1947–2018, United States)
  • Julian Barnes (born 1946, United Kingdom)
  • Jacques Barzun (1907–2012, France)
  • Enis Batur (born 1952, Turkey)
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867, France)
  • Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953, United Kingdom)
  • Walter Benjamin (1892–1940, Germany)
  • Wendell Berry (born 1934, United States)
  • Jens Bjørneboe (1920-1976, Norway)
  • Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986, Argentina)
  • Alain de Botton (born 1969, Switzerland)
  • Giannina Braschi (born 1953, Puerto Rico)
  • William Brandon (1914–2002, United States)
  • Alfred Brendel (born 1931, Czech Republic)
  • Christopher Buckley (born 1952, United States)
  • Anthony Burgess (1917–1993, United Kingdom)
  • Richard de Bury (1287–1345, England)

C-D[edit]

  • Erskine Caldwell (1903– 2007, United States)
  • Italo Calvino (1923–1985, Italy)
  • Albert Camus (1913–1960, Algeria)
  • Rafael Cansinos Assens (1882–1964, Spain)
  • John Carey (born 1934, United Kingdom)
  • Simon Carmiggelt (1913–1987, Netherlands)
  • Otto Maria Carpeaux (1900–1978, Austria)
  • Kelly Cherry (born 1940, United States)
  • G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936, United Kingdom)
  • Noam Chomsky (1928, United States)
  • Winston Churchill (1874–1965, Great Britain)
  • J. M. Coetzee (born 1940, South Africa)
  • William Cobbett (1763–1835, Great Britain)
  • Charles Caleb Colton (1780–1832, Great Britain)
  • Cyril Connolly (1903–1974, United Kingdom)
  • Abraham Cowley (1618–1667, Great Britain)
  • Emil Cioran (1911–1995, Romania)
  • A. J. Cronin (1896–1981, Scotland)
  • Orson Scott Card (born 1951, United States)
  • Richard Dawkins (born 1941, United Kingdom)
  • Mike Daisey (born 1976, United States)
  • Anthony Daniels (Theodore Dalrymple) (born 1949, United Kingdom)
  • Nik De Dominic (born 1981, United States)
  • Joan Didion (born 1934, United States)
  • Annie Dillard (born 1945, United States)
  • Alfred Döblin (1878-1957, Germany)
  • John Dolan (born 1955, United States)
  • Joe Dolce (born 1947, Australia)
  • Denis Donoghue (born 1928, Ireland)
  • John Dryden (1631–1700, England)

E-G[edit]

  • Klaus Ebner (born 1964, Austria)
  • Umberto Eco (1932–2016, Italy)
  • T. S. Eliot (1888–1965, United States)
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882, United States)
  • Joseph Epstein (born 1937, United States)
  • Filip Erceg (born 1979, Croatia)
  • Barbara Ehrenreich (born 1941, United States)
  • Jaime Eyzaguirre, (1908–1968, Chile)
  • Anne Fadiman (born 1953, United States)
  • Femi Fani-Kayode (born 1960, Nigeria)
  • Frantz Fanon (1925–1961, Martinique)
  • Richard Farmer (1735–1797, England)
  • Benito Jerónimo Feijoo e Montenegro (1676–1764, Spain)
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti (born 1919, United States)
  • Predrag Finci (born 1946, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • E. M. Forster (1879–1970, England)
  • John Foster (1770–1843, United Kingdom)
  • Ian Frazier (born 1951, United States)
  • Robert Fulghum (born 1937, United States)
  • Joan Fuster (1922–1992, Spain)
  • Harry Gamboa, Jr. (born 1951, United States)
  • Karl-Markus Gauß (born 1954, Austria)
  • Malcolm Gladwell (born 1963, United Kingdom)
  • Adam Gopnik (born 1956, United States)
  • Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002, United States)
  • Muhammad Loutfi Goumah (1886–1953, Egypt)
  • Paul Graham (born 1964, England)
  • Clement Greenberg (born 1909, United States)
  • A. C. Grayling (born 1949, United Kingdom)
  • Gordon Grice (born 1965, United States)
  • Stanka Gjurić (born 1956, Croatia)

H-J[edit]

  • Carla Harryman (born 1952, California)
  • William Hazlitt (1778–1830, England)
  • Peter Handke (born 1942 Griffen, Austria)
  • Saeko Himuro (1957–2008, Japan)
  • Fumi Hirano (born 1955, Japan)
  • Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011, United Kingdom)
  • Peter Hitchens (born 1951, United Kingdom)
  • Hugh Hood (1928–2000, Canada)
  • Langston Hughes (1902–1967, United States)
  • David Hume (1711–1776, United Kingdom)
  • Leigh Hunt (1784–1859, England)
  • Shigesato Itoi (born 1948, Japan)
  • Jwalamukhi (1938–2008, India)
  • Michael Johns (born 1964, United States)
  • Diane Johnson (born 1934, United States)
  • Samuel Johnson (1709–1784, England)
  • June Jordan (1936–2002, United States)

K-L[edit]

  • Steven G. Kellman (born 1947, United States)
  • Frank Kermode (1919–2010, United Kingdom)
  • Tracy Kidder (born 1945, United States)
  • Chuck Klosterman (born 1972, United States)
  • Rudy Kousbroek (1929–2010, Netherlands)
  • Hans Krieger (born 1933, Germany)
  • Miroslav Krleža (1893–1981, Croatia)
  • Tomislav Ladan (1932–2008, Serbia)
  • Laila Lalami (born 1968, Morocco)
  • Charles Lamb (1775–1834, England)
  • Shankar Lamichhane (Nepal)
  • Corinne Lee (United States)
  • Albert Leung (born 1961, Hong Kong)
  • C. S. Lewis (1898–1963, Ireland)
  • Li Ao (born 1935, China, Taiwan)
  • Liang Shiqiu (1903–1987. China, Taiwan)
  • Alan Lightman (born 1948, United States)
  • Tim Lilburn (born 1950, Canada)
  • Lin Wenyue (born 1933, Taiwan)
  • Joan Lindsay (1896–1984, Australia)
  • Lu Xun (1881–1936, China)

M-N[edit]

  • John McPhee (born 1931, United States)
  • Maurice Maeterlinck (1862–1949), Belgium)
  • Norman Mailer (1923–2007, United States)
  • Jorge Majfud (born 1969, Uruguay)
  • Nathan McCall (born 1955, United States)
  • Mary McCarthy (1912–1989, United States)
  • Tim McKay (1947–2006, United States)
  • Louis Menand (born 1952, United States)
  • H. L. Mencken (1880–1956, United States)
  • Arthur Miller (1915–2005, United States)
  • Pankaj Mishra (born 1969, India)
  • Donald Grant Mitchell (1822–1908, United States)
  • Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592, France)
  • Angela Morales (born 1966, United States)
  • Michele Moramarco (born 1953, Italy)
  • V. S. Naipaul (born 1932, Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Nakane Kōtei (1839–1913, Japan)
  • Ukichiro Nakaya (1900–1962, Japan)
  • Marie NDiaye (born 1967, France)
  • Virgil Nemoianu (born 1940, Romania)
  • Kathleen Norris (born 1947, United States)

O-R[edit]

  • Joyce Carol Oates (born 1938, United States)
  • George Orwell (1903–1950, United Kingdom)
  • Borislav Pekić (1930–1992, Serbia)
  • Noel Perrin (1927–2004, United States)
  • Samuel F. Pickering Jr. (born 1941, United States)
  • Mestrius Plutarch (46–127, Boeotia, Ancient Greece)
  • Katherine Ann Porter (1890–1980, United States)
  • Kevin Prufer (born 1969, United States)
  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849, United States)
  • Thomas de Quincey (1785–1859, England)
  • Indra Bahadur Rai (born 1927, India)
  • Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1985, United States)
  • Tjalie Robinson (1911–1974, Netherlands)
  • Richard Rodriguez (born 1944, United States)
  • Arundhati Roy (born 1961, India)
  • Bertrand Russell (1872–1970, United Kingdom)

S[edit]

  • Rahul Sankrityayan (1893–1963, India)
  • Edward Said (1935–2003, Palestine)
  • John Ralston Saul (born 1947, Canada)
  • Dan Schneider (born 1965, United States)
  • Robert Schumann (1810–1856, Germany)
  • David Sedaris (born 1956, United States)
  • John Robert Seeley (1834–1895, England)
  • Rafael Calvo Serer (1916–1988, Spain)
  • George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950, Ireland)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822, England)
  • David Shields (1956, United States)
  • Clay Shirky (born 1964, United States)
  • Simeon Simev (born 1949, Republic of Macedonia)
  • Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' (1908–1974, India)
  • Jean Edward Smith (born 1932, United States)
  • Zadie Smith (born 1975, England)
  • Walid Soliman (born 1975, Tunisia)
  • Rebecca Solnit (born 1961, United States)
  • Susan Sontag (1933–2004, United States)
  • Dejan Stojanović (born 1959, Serbia)
  • Lytton Strachey (1880–1932, United Kingdom)
  • Cheryl Strayed (born 1968, United States)
  • Matias Skard (1846-1827, Norway)

T-Y[edit]

  • Nassim Nicholas Taleb (born 1960, Lebanon)
  • Alain Tasso (born 1962, Lebanon)
  • Vijay Tendulkar (1928–2008, India)
  • Issa Laye Thiaw (born 1943, Senegal)
  • Colm Tóibín (born 1955, Ireland)
  • Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910, Russia)
  • Lionel Trilling (1905–1975, United States)
  • George W. S. Trow (1943–2006, United States)
  • Andrew Vachss (born 1942, United States)
  • Paul Valéry (1871–1945, France)
  • Erico Verissimo (1905–1975, Brazil)
  • Gore Vidal (1925–2012, United States)
  • Voltaire (1697–1778, France)
  • Richard Wagner (1813–1883, Germany)
  • David Foster Wallace (1962–2008, United States)
  • Rebecca West (1892–1983, United Kingdom)
  • E. B. White (1899–1985, United States)
  • Oscar Wilde (1852–1900, Ireland)
  • Tom Wolfe (born 1931, United States)
  • Virginia Woolf (1882–1941, United Kingdom)
  • Yang Jiang (1911–2016, China)
  • Marguerite Yourcenar (1903–1987, France)

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


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

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Christopher Hitchens


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 ...more

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#11 on History's Greatest Essayists

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George Orwell


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 ...more

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#35 on Historical Figures You Most Want to Bring Back from the Dead

#8 on The Best Novelists of All Time

#7 on The Best Writers of All Time

#63 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

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Ralph Waldo Emerson


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

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#94 on The Best Writers of All Time

#25 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#70 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#47 on The Greatest Poets of All Time

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