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    Smellie, 1st Encyclopædia Britannica - 1768  
William Smellie was a Scottish master printer, naturalist, antiquary, editor and encyclopedist. At the age of 28, Smellie was hired by Colin Macfarquhar and Andrew Bell to edit the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which appeare...
 
    Marquis de Sade, French Aristocrat, Writer  
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, was a French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher, and writer, famous for his libertine sexuality. His works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts; in h...
 
    Edward Gibbon, English Historian  
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. The Decline and Fall is known for the qua...
 
    Thomas Paine, Founding Father USA  
Thomas Paine, intellectual, scholar, revolutionary, and idealist, is widely recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A radical pamphleteer, Paine anticipated and helped foment the American Revolution through his power...
 
    Ignatius Sancho, 1st Black Briton to vote  
Ignatius Sancho was a composer, actor, and writer. He is the first known Black Briton to vote in a British election. He gained fame in his time as "the extraordinary Negro", and to 18th century British abolitionists he became a symbol of th...
 
    Gotthold Lessing, German Dramatist  
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the first of the truly German dramatists, was born in a Lutheran clergyman's family. As was a frequent custom in clergymen's families, his father looked after his early education, later sending him to a famous scho...
 
    Edmund Burke, Modern Conservatism  
Edmund Burke PC was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party. He is mainly remembered f...
 
    Casanova, World's Greatest Lover  
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice. His autobiography, Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European soc...
 
    John Newton, Author of Amazing Grace  
John Newton was an English clergyman and hymn writer. Until 1755, his life was spent chiefly at sea, where he eventually became the captain of a slave ship plying the waters between Liverpool and Sierra Leone. For the subsequent five years...
 
    Baron d'Holbach, Philosopher  
Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach was a French-German author, philosopher, encyclopedist and a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment. He was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich in Edesheim, near Landau in the Rhenish Palatinate, but lived an...
 
    Charles Bonnet, Naturalist  
Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist and philosophical writer. In 1760 he described a condition now called Charles Bonnet Syndrome, in which vivid, complex visual hallucinations (fictive visual percepts) occur in psychologically normal people....
 
    Jean François de Saint-Lambert, Poet  
Jean François de Saint-Lambert was a French poet and military officer, but he is most remembered for his involvement in two love affairs. Over the winter of 1747-48, Voltaire and his entourage took up residence in Lunéville. Saint-Lambe...
 
    Denis Diderot, Co-founder of the Encyclopédie  
Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic and writer. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d'Alembe...
 
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Writer, Philosopher  
As a brilliant, undisciplined, and unconventional thinker, Jean-Jacques Rousseau spent most of his life being driven by controversy back and forth between Paris and his native Geneva. Rousseau first attracted wide-spread attention with his...
 
    Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian Polymath  
Mikhail Lomonosov was a Russian polymath, scientist and writer, who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. Among his discoveries was the atmosphere of Venus. His spheres of science were natural science, chemistr...
 
       
 
         
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