Saint Augustine (detail), by Philippe de Champaigne, c. 1645.

Saint Augustine

(354 - 430)

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

Alexis de Tocqueville

(1805 - 1859)

Image of Japanese poet and essayist Yoshida Kenko.

Yoshida Kenko

(c. 1283 - c. 1351)

Jamaica Kincaid

Samuel Johnson

(1709 - 1784)

Larry Kramer

(1935 - 2020)

Sidney Rogerson

(1894 - 1968)

American poet, journalist, and essayist Walt Whitman.

Walt Whitman

(1819 - 1892)

Portrait bust of presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey Homer.

Homer

(c. 800 BC - 725 BC)

Vera Brittain

(1893 - 1970)

Madame de La Fayette

(c. 1634 - 1693)

Image from Codex Manesse depicting a tournament of knights.

Chrétien de Troyes

(c. 1165 - c. 1180)

Edward FitzGerald

(1809 - 1883)

Black and white engraving of Roman author Petronius.

Gaius Petronius Arbiter

(c. 27 - 66)

Rick Bass

Grace Paley

(1922 - 2007)

Ben Jonson

(1572 - 1637)

Photograph of American writer Francine Prose.

Francine Prose

Kazuo Ishiguro

Eliza Haywood

(c. 1693 - 1756)

Engraving of William Shakespeare from the first folio edition.

William Shakespeare

(1564 - 1616)

Portrait of Francis Bacon in sixteenth-century armor.

Francis Bacon

(1561 - 1626)

Black and white photograph of scholar, novelist, and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis.

C.S. Lewis

(1898 - 1963)

Arthur Conan Doyle

(1859 - 1930)

Tim Kreider

Black and white photograph of a young Mark Twain with dark hair.

Mark Twain

(1835 - 1910)

George Sand

(1804 - 1876)

Étienne de La Boétie

(1530 - 1563)

French author Émile Zola.

Émile Zola

(1840 - 1902)

Amin Maalouf. © Claude Truong-Ngoc / Wikimedia Commons

Amin Maalouf

B.D. McClay

Anne Sexton

(1928 - 1974)

William Cullen Bryant

(1794 - 1878)

Portrait of third president of the United States Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson

(1743 - 1826)

Ibn Hazm

(994 - 1064)

Nelson Mandela

(1918 - 2013)

Celia Paul

Ben Hecht

(1894 - 1964)

William Wycherley

(1641 - 1716)

Agnes Repplier

(1855 - 1950)

Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, and writer Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

(106 BC - 43 BC)

Painting of humanist and scholar Erasmus.

Erasmus

(1466 - 1536)

Black and white photograph of critic and novelist Mary McCarthy.

Mary McCarthy

(1912 - 1989)

Claude Yvon

(1714 - 1791)

Jane Jacobs

(1916 - 2006)

Vivian Gornick

Chinese poet Du Fu.

Du Fu

(712 - 770)

Saint Aelred of Rievaulx

(c. 1110 - 1167)

Black and white photograph of French writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir.

Simone de Beauvoir

(1908 - 1986)

Madeleine de Scudéry

(1607 - 1701)

English poet and satirist Alexander Pope.

Alexander Pope

(1688 - 1744)

Photo of stone Aristotle statue face

Aristotle

(384 BC - 322 BC)

British writer Laurence Sterne.

Laurence Sterne

(1713 - 1768)

Peter Kropotkin

(1842 - 1921)

Margaret Fuller

(1810 - 1850)

Deborah Eisenberg

Image of Chinese poet Bai Juyi.

Bai Juyi

(772 - 846)

French novelist Gustave Flaubert.

Gustave Flaubert

(1821 - 1880)

Black and white image of American writer Herman Melville.

Herman Melville

(1819 - 1891)

Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.

Miguel de Cervantes

(1547 - 1616)

Mariana Enriquez

Image of English naturalist Charles Darwin.

Charles Darwin

(1809 - 1882)

Black and white photograph of English writer Virginia Woolf.

Virginia Woolf

(1882 - 1941)

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

Franz Kafka

(1883 - 1924)

Photograph of West Indian poet and playwright Derek Walcott.

Derek Walcott

(1930 - 2017)

British author Mary Shelley.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

(1797 - 1851)

Darius Kazemi

Salka Viertel

(1889 - 1978)

Black and white photograph of Mencken looking over his shoulder at the camera

H.L. Mencken

(1880 - 1956)

Saint Teresa of Ávila.

Saint Teresa of Ávila

(1515 - 1582)

Kamala Markandaya

(1924 - 2004)

Captain Awkward

Oil painting portrair Michel de Montaigne in red robes and white collar

Michel de Montaigne

(1533 - 1592)

Sima Qian

Sima Qian

(c. 145 BC - c. 87 BC)

Sarah Stickney Ellis

(1799 - 1872)

Tommy Orange

Dinaw Mengestu

r/Ask Reddit

r/Ask Reddit

Yuan Zhen

(779 - 831)

Norimitsu Onishi

Lady Sarashina

(c. 1008 - c. 1059)

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

Emily Dickinson

(1830 - 1886)

Russian author Ivan Turgenev.

Ivan Turgenev

(1818 - 1883)

Black and white photograph of British writer Doris Lessing.

Doris Lessing

(1919 - 2013)

Karl Pearson

(1857 - 1936)

Painting of a young Immanuel Kant.

Immanuel Kant

(1724 - 1804)

Mukhamet Shayakhmetov

Black and white image of Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca the Younger.

Seneca the Younger

(4 BC - 65)

English poet, novelist, and classicist Robert Graves.

Robert Graves

(1895 - 1985)