Engraving of Scottish economist Adam Smith.

Adam Smith

(1723 - 1790)

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

Nathaniel Hawthorne

(1804 - 1864)

Bust of Hesiod

Hesiod

Engraving of William Shakespeare from the first folio edition.

William Shakespeare

(1564 - 1616)

T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot

(1888 - 1965)

Chinese poet Tao Qian.

Tao Qian

(365 - 427)

English playwright, actor, and composer Noël Coward.

Noël Coward

(1899 - 1973)

Lawyer, writer, and professor Amy Chua.

Amy Chua

English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy.

Thomas Hardy

(1840 - 1928)

Bust of Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius

(121 - 180)

French theologian and philosopher Peter Abelard.

Peter Abelard

(1079 - 1142)

Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt.

Jacob Burckhardt

(1818 - 1897)

Roman general and ruler Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar

(c. 100 BC - 44 BC)

Suetonius

(69 - c. 130)

Professor and editor Justin E. H. Smith.

Justin E.H. Smith

American comedian and writer Larry David.

Larry David

Shen Fu

(1763 - c. 1825)

Photograph of American writer James Baldwin.

James Baldwin

(1924 - 1987)

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

W.E.B. Du Bois

(1868 - 1963)

German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels.

Friedrich Engels

(1820 - 1895)

Writer and editor J.M. Tyree.

J.M. Tyree

American essayist and reporter Anne Fadiman.

Anne Fadiman

American writer Philip Roth.

Philip Roth

(1933 - 2018)

Saint Teresa of Ávila.

Saint Teresa of Ávila

(1515 - 1582)

Drawing of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard.

Søren Kierkegaard

(1813 - 1855)

Stone mason LeRoy Pollock.

LeRoy Pollock

(1876 - 1933)

Roman playwright Terence.

Terence

(c. 195 BC - c. 159 BC)

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

Jane Austen

(1775 - 1817)

Chinese philosopher Confucius.

Confucius

(551 BC - 479 BC)

Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician Moses Maimonides.

Moses Maimonides

(1135 - 1204)

Japanese author Tanizaki Juni’chirō.

Junichiro Tanizaki

(1886 - 1965)

American author and scholar Norman Maclean.

Norman Maclean

(1902 - 1990)

Italian poet and scholar Giovanni Boccaccio.

Giovanni Boccaccio

(1313 - 1375)

American poet and historian Carl Sandburg.

Carl Sandburg

(1878 - 1967)

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

Franz Kafka

(1883 - 1924)

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

Emily Dickinson

(1830 - 1886)

Juvenal

(c. 60 - c. 130)

Image of English naturalist Charles Darwin.

Charles Darwin

(1809 - 1882)

Engraving of Greek satirist Lucian.

Lucian

(125 - c. 180)

Russian writer Teffi.

Teffi

(1872 - 1952)

Claire Démar

(1799 - 1833)

Procopius

(c. 490 - c. 562)

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

J.R. Ackerley

(1896 - 1967)

Ed Sanders

Writer Henry James.

Henry James

(1843 - 1916)

Holy Roman empress Maria Theresa.

Maria Theresa

(1717 - 1780)

American writer Saul Bellow.

Saul Bellow

(1915 - 2005)

French poet and author Christine de Pisan.

Christine de Pisan

(1364 - c. 1430)

American writer Philip Connors.

Philip Connors

Lewis Lapham at his desk

Lewis H. Lapham

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

George Jackson

(1941 - 1971)

Depiction of Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato

(c. 427 BC - c. 347 BC)

Usama Ibn Munqidh

(1095 - 1188)

Jamaica Kincaid

Black and white photograph of critic and novelist Mary McCarthy.

Mary McCarthy

(1912 - 1989)

Iranian author Sadegh Hedayat.

Sadegh Hedayat

(1903 - 1951)

American writer William Styron.

William Styron

(1925 - 2006)

Sculpture bust of Greek dramatist Euripides.

Euripides

(c. 484 BC - c. 406 BC)

Black and white engraving of Roman poet Ovid in profile.

Ovid

(43 BC - c. 17)

Black and white photograph of American novelist John Steinbeck.

John Steinbeck

(1902 - 1968)

Portrait of Francis Bacon in sixteenth-century armor.

Francis Bacon

(1561 - 1626)

Shamshi-Adad I

(c. 1813 BC - c. 1781 BC)

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

Alexis de Tocqueville

(1805 - 1859)

Color photograph of writer and editor Garret Keizer.

Garret Keizer

American writer and sex-advice columnist Dan Savage.

Dan Savage

Brazilian poet and journalist Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

Carlos Drummond de Andrade

(1902 - 1987)

American writer Eudora Welty.

Eudora Welty

(1909 - 2001)

English poet, novelist, and classicist Robert Graves.

Robert Graves

(1895 - 1985)

Black and white photograph of American writer James Agee.

James Agee

(1909 - 1955)

American writer Theodore Dreiser.

Theodore Dreiser

(1871 - 1945)

Florentine ruler and patron Lorenzo de Medici.

Lorenzo de’ Medici

(1449 - 1492)

American writer Daniel Woodrell.

Daniel Woodrell

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

Michelangelo

(1475 - 1564)

Black and white photograph of Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

Leo Tolstoy

(1828 - 1910)

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

Philip Larkin

(1922 - 1985)

American writer Robert Penn Warren.

Robert Penn Warren

(1905 - 1989)

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

Sigmund Freud

(1856 - 1949)