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Abercromby, Alexander, Lord Abercromby (1745–1795), judge and essayist, was born on 15 October 1745, probably at Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, the fourth and youngest son of George Abercromby of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire (1705–1800), who had trained as an advocate, and his wife, Mary (d. 1767)...

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Alberti, Georg Wilhelm [pseud. Alethophilus Gottingensis] (bap. 1724, d. 1758), theologian and essayist, was baptized on 17 August 1724 ns at the church of St Aegiduen, Osterode am Harz, in the electorate of Hanover; he was the son of August Christoph Alberti...

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Arbuckle, James (d. 1742), poet and essayist, was probably born in Belfast, where he grew up. He belonged to an extended Belfast merchant family of Scottish descent and was perhaps the nephew of James Arbuckle (d. 1736), an international trader and a prominent lay elder in ...

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Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743–1825) by Richard Samuel, 1778 [top left, hand out in gesture Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barbauld [née Aikin], Anna Letitia [Anna Laetitia] (1743–1825), poet and essayist, was born on 20 June 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, elder child of the Revd John Aikin (1713–1780), schoolmaster, and his wife Jane (1714–1785), daughter of the Revd John Jennings of ...

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Barnes, Thomas (1785–1841), newspaper editor and essayist, was born in Southwark, London, on 11 September 1785, the eldest son of John Barnes (b. 1753), a solicitor practising in Clifford's Inn, Bloomsbury, and Tenterden, Kent, and his wife, Mary, née Anderson. His mother died when he was young, and he was initially raised by his grandmother with his brother, ...

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Beresford, John Davys (1873–1947), novelist and essayist, was born on 7 March 1873 at the rectory, Castor, Northamptonshire, to an evangelically minded couple, the Revd John James Beresford (1822–1897), a Church of England clergyman, and his wife, Adelaide Elizabeth Morgan (b. 1836)...

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Blair, Eric Arthur [pseud. George Orwell] (1903–1950), political writer and essayist, was born in Motihari, Bengal, India, on 25 June 1903, the only son of Richard Walmesley Blair (1857–1938), a sub-deputy opium agent in the government of Bengal, and his wife, Ida Mabel Limouzin (1875–1943)...

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Eric Arthur Blair [George Orwell] (1903–1950) by Felix H. Man, c. 1947 © Estate of Felix H. Man / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bolling, Robert (1738–1775), poet and essayist, was born in Chesterfield, Virginia, on 17 August 1738, the son of Major John Bolling (1700–1757), a planter, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Blair (1709–1775). The Bollings were descended from an Essex family which had settled in ...