Portrait of Francis Bacon in sixteenth-century armor.

Francis Bacon

(1561 - 1626)

American writer Theodore Dreiser.

Theodore Dreiser

(1871 - 1945)

Writer and editor J.M. Tyree.

J.M. Tyree

Black and white photograph of English poet and librarian Philip Larkin.

Philip Larkin

(1922 - 1985)

American writer Eudora Welty.

Eudora Welty

(1909 - 2001)

American writer and sex-advice columnist Dan Savage.

Dan Savage

American author and scholar Norman Maclean.

Norman Maclean

(1902 - 1990)

American sociologist and reformer W. E. B. Du Bois.

W.E.B. Du Bois

(1868 - 1963)

Bust of Hesiod

Hesiod

Black and white photograph of Emily Dickinson sitting next to a desk.

Emily Dickinson

(1830 - 1886)

Photograph of American writer James Baldwin.

James Baldwin

(1924 - 1987)

Photograph of British novelist and editor J.R. Ackerley with dog.

J.R. Ackerley

(1896 - 1967)

Color photograph of writer and editor Garret Keizer.

Garret Keizer

Black and white photograph of critic and novelist Mary McCarthy.

Mary McCarthy

(1912 - 1989)

Black and white photograph of American writer James Agee.

James Agee

(1909 - 1955)

American writer Daniel Woodrell.

Daniel Woodrell

Sculpture bust of Greek dramatist Euripides.

Euripides

(c. 484 BC - c. 406 BC)

Russian writer Teffi.

Teffi

(1872 - 1952)

Bust of Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

(121 - 180)

Engraving of Scottish economist Adam Smith.

Adam Smith

(1723 - 1790)

Claire Démar

(1799 - 1833)

Lawyer, writer, and professor Amy Chua.

Amy Chua

Black and white engraving of Roman poet Ovid in profile.

Ovid

(43 BC - c. 17)

American writer Saul Bellow.

Saul Bellow

(1915 - 2005)

Roman general and ruler Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar

(c. 100 BC - 44 BC)

Ed Sanders

Procopius

(c. 490 - c. 562)

French poet and author Christine de Pisan.

Christine de Pisan

(1364 - c. 1430)

Chinese philosopher Confucius.

Confucius

(551 BC - 479 BC)

Portrait of Alexis de Tocqueville wearing a black suit and standing in front of a chair.

Alexis de Tocqueville

(1805 - 1859)

Stone mason LeRoy Pollock.

LeRoy Pollock

(1876 - 1933)

Shen Fu

(1763 - c. 1825)

Professor and editor Justin E. H. Smith.

Justin E.H. Smith

American comedian and writer Larry David.

Larry David

American writer Philip Connors.

Philip Connors

Florentine ruler and patron Lorenzo de Medici.

Lorenzo de’ Medici

(1449 - 1492)

Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician Moses Maimonides.

Moses Maimonides

(1135 - 1204)

Usama Ibn Munqidh

(1095 - 1188)

Japanese author Tanizaki Juni’chirō.

Junichiro Tanizaki

(1886 - 1965)

Drawing of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

Søren Kierkegaard

(1813 - 1855)

Writer Henry James.

Henry James

(1843 - 1916)

Black and white photograph of Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

Leo Tolstoy

(1828 - 1910)

African-American left-wing activist and author George Jackson.

George Jackson

(1941 - 1971)

Shamshi-Adad I

(c. 1813 BC - c. 1781 BC)

Roman playwright Terence.

Terence

(c. 195 BC - c. 159 BC)

Black and white photograph of German-language writer Franz Kafka.

Franz Kafka

(1883 - 1924)

English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy.

Thomas Hardy

(1840 - 1928)

Suetonius

(69 - c. 130)

Italian poet and scholar Giovanni Boccaccio.

Giovanni Boccaccio

(1313 - 1375)

At the age of seventeen, Hawthorne mused to his mother about the possibility of “relying for support upon my pen.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

(1804 - 1864)

American poet and historian Carl Sandburg.

Carl Sandburg

(1878 - 1967)

Black and white photograph of American novelist John Steinbeck.

John Steinbeck

(1902 - 1968)

Juvenal

(c. 60 - c. 130)

Holy Roman empress Maria Theresa.

Maria Theresa

(1717 - 1780)

American writer Philip Roth.

Philip Roth

(1933 - 2018)

Engraving of William Shakespeare from the first folio edition.

William Shakespeare

(1564 - 1616)

American writer William Styron.

William Styron

(1925 - 2006)

Depiction of Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato

(c. 427 BC - c. 347 BC)

English poet, novelist, and classicist Robert Graves.

Robert Graves

(1895 - 1985)

Image of English naturalist Charles Darwin.

Charles Darwin

(1809 - 1882)

American writer Robert Penn Warren.

Robert Penn Warren

(1905 - 1989)

Saint Teresa of Ávila.

Saint Teresa of Ávila

(1515 - 1582)

Engraving of Greek satirist Lucian.

Lucian

(125 - c. 180)

German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels.

Friedrich Engels

(1820 - 1895)

Iranian author Sadegh Hedayat.

Sadegh Hedayat

(1903 - 1951)

Chinese poet Tao Qian.

Tao Qian

(365 - 427)

English playwright, actor, and composer Noël Coward.

Noël Coward

(1899 - 1973)

American essayist and reporter Anne Fadiman.

Anne Fadiman

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

(1888 - 1965)

Black and white photograph of Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud with cigar.

Sigmund Freud

(1856 - 1949)

Lewis Lapham at his desk

Lewis H. Lapham

Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo.

Michelangelo

(1475 - 1564)

Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt.

Jacob Burckhardt

(1818 - 1897)

Brazilian poet and journalist Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade

(1902 - 1987)

French theologian and philosopher Peter Abelard.

Peter Abelard

(1079 - 1142)

Color drawing of Jane Austen sitting in a chair wearing a blue dress

Jane Austen

(1775 - 1817)

Jamaica Kincaid