Book critic Michael Dirda.

Michael Dirda

German socialist philosopher Friedrich Engels.

Friedrich Engels

(1820 - 1895)

German architect and Nazi official Albert Speer.

Albert Speer

(1905 - 1981)

British writer Salman Rushdie.

Salman Rushdie

Black and white photograph of Cuban poet, patriot, and martyr José Martí.

José Martí

(1853 - 1895)

Procopius

(c. 490 - c. 562)

English economist and demographer Thomas Malthus.

Thomas Malthus

(1766 - 1834)

Photograph of English novelist Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens

(1812 - 1870)

Statue depicting Roman orator and historian Tacitus.

Tacitus

(56 - c. 120)

English architect Christopher Wren.

Christopher Wren

(1632 - 1723)

Theognis

(c. 570 BC - c. 490 BC)

Turkish author Orhan Pamuk.

Orhan Pamuk

Jules Verne

Jules Verne

(1828 - 1905)

American food journalist and editor Frederick Kaufman.

Frederick Kaufman

Former Prime Minister of United Kingdom Benjamin Disraeli.

Benjamin Disraeli

(1804 - 1881)

Photograph of American journalist and novelist George Packer.

George Packer

Sufi mystic and poet Rumi.

Rumi

(c. 1207 - 1273)

English diarist and naval administrator Samuel Pepys.

Samuel Pepys

(1633 - 1703)

Photo of stone Aristotle statue face

Aristotle

(384 BC - 322 BC)

Italian poet and scholar Giovanni Boccaccio.

Giovanni Boccaccio

(1313 - 1375)

Lewis Mumford

(1895 - 1990)

Engraving of Roman author and administrator Pliny the Younger.

Pliny the Younger

(61 - 112)

Classical bust of Thucydides.

Thucydides

(c. 460 BC - c. 404 BC)

Marco Polo

Marco Polo

(1254 - 1324)

Black and white photograph of E. B. White sitting at his typewriter with his dachshund.

E.B. White

(1899 - 1985)

Photograph of Soviet playwright and writer Mikhail Bulgakov.

Mikhail Bulgakov

(1891 - 1940)

Painting of François Rabelais.

François Rabelais

(1494 - 1553)

Photograph of American writer Ralph Ellison.

Ralph Ellison

(1914 - 1994)

Portrait bust of Roman poet Virgil.

Virgil

(70 BC - 19 BC)

Black and white photograph of historian and man of letters Henry Adams.

Henry Adams

(1838 - 1918)

Black and white photograph of a young F. Scott Fitzgerald sitting at a desk.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

(1896 - 1940)

black and white photo of Groucho Marx wearing glasses and smoking a cigar from the side of his mouth

Groucho Marx

(1890 - 1977)

Essayist and novelist Pico Iyer.

Pico Iyer

Image of French writer Honoré de Balzac with hand on chest.

Honoré de Balzac

(1799 - 1850)

Vitruvius

(c. 80 BC - 15 BC)

Photograph of Joan Didion

Joan Didion

Greek dramatist Sophocles.

Sophocles

(c. 496 BC - 406 BC)

Photograph of Italian writer Italo Calvino.

Italo Calvino

(1923 - 1985)

Chinese poet Du Fu.

Du Fu

(712 - 770)

Photograph of Colin Dickey standing in front of a brick wall.

Colin Dickey

Black and white image of Greek biographer and writer Plutarch.

Plutarch

(46 - c. 120)

Photograph of Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges

(1899 - 1986)

American-Canadian author William Gibson.

William Gibson

American civil war general William Tecumseh Sherman.

William Tecumseh Sherman

(1820 - 1891)

American writer, editor, and translator Eliot Weinberger.

Eliot Weinberger

American writer, political activist, urban theorist, and historian Mike Davis.

Mike Davis

Diodorus Siculus

(c. 90 BC - c. 20 BC)

Sculpture bust of Greek historian Herodotus.

Herodotus

(c. 484 BC - c. 425 BC)

Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa.

Fernando Pessoa

(1888 - 1935)

Lewis Lapham at his desk

Lewis H. Lapham

Image from Codex Manesse depicting a tournament of knights.

Chrétien de Troyes

(c. 1165 - c. 1180)

Photograph of Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire

(1821 - 1867)

German philosopher Oswald Spengler.

Oswald Spengler

(1880 - 1936)

Engraving of the medieval Arab traveler Ibn Battuta.

Ibn Battuta

(1304 - c. 1369)

Sozomen

(c. 380 - c. 450)

British inventor and mathematician Charles Babbage.

Charles Babbage

(1791 - 1871)

Writer and critic Luc Sante.

Luc Sante

Engraving of Scottish economist Adam Smith.

Adam Smith

(1723 - 1790)

Chinese-American journalist Leslie T. Chang.

Leslie T. Chang

American novelist Richard Powers.

Richard Powers

American politician from New York George W. Plunkitt.

George W. Plunkitt

(1842 - 1924)

Black and white photograph of Austrian writer Stefan Zweig.

Stefan Zweig

(1881 - 1942)

Portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

(1821 - 1881)

American writer Theodore Dreiser.

Theodore Dreiser

(1871 - 1945)

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau

(1817 - 1862)

Russian poet Andrei Bely.

Andrei Bely

(1880 - 1934)

Black and white photograph of French writer and film director Marguerite Duras.

Marguerite Duras

(1914 - 1996)

Swiss traveler and writer Nicolas Bouvier.

Nicolas Bouvier

(1929 - 1998)

History professor Warren Breckman.

Warren Breckman

American novelist and journalist John Hersey.

John Hersey

(1914 - 1993)

British author J.G. Ballard.

J.G. Ballard

(1930 - 2009)

Novelist and psychiatrist Daniel Mason.

Daniel Mason

French novelist Irène Némirovsky.

Irène Némirovsky

(1903 - 1942)

British urban planner Ebenezer Howard.

Ebenezer Howard

(1850 - 1928)

American-born Canadian urbanologist Jane Jacobs.

Jane Jacobs

(1916 - 2006)

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

Hernán Cortés

(1485 - 1547)

American composer George Gershwin.

George Gershwin

(1898 - 1937)

American poet and novelist Helen Hunt Jackson.

Helen Hunt Jackson

(1830 - 1885)

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen

(1805 - 1875)

French novelist Gustave Flaubert.

Gustave Flaubert

(1821 - 1880)

Ammianus Marcellinus

(c. 330 - 395)

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

H.L. Mencken

(1880 - 1956)

German sociologist and philosopher Georg Simmel.

Georg Simmel

(1858 - 1918)

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

Franz Kafka

(1883 - 1924)

American author and journalist Jamie James.

Jamie James

Woody Allen in thick black rim glasses

Woody Allen

Greek rhetorician Libanius.

Libanius

(314 - 393)