1. Oscar Wilde, a writer and merciless wit of (mostly) the 19th century.
Quotation from Oscar Wilde: The Major Works
2. Maya Angelou, a writer who lays her sorrows bare.
Quotation from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
3. Noam Chomsky, who challenged accepted ideas of linguistic theory.
Quotation from Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?
4. bell hooks, an activist and scholar who does not accept the status quo.
Quotation from Feminism Is for Everybody
5. Louise Erdrich, a Native American writer who wrote in her debut novel that right and wrong “were shades of meaning, not sides of a coin.”
Quotation from this essay
6. Salvador Dalí, a painter, here answering a question about why he drove in a car filled with cauliflower.
Quotation from this 1958 interview with Mike Wallace
7. Simone de Beauvoir, a 20th century feminist theorist who rejected norms of “womanhood.”
Quotation from The Second Sex, quoted in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
8. Lenny Bruce, a comedian whose obscene act paved the way for comedians’ freedom of speech.
Quotation from this interview
9. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese activist and former political prisoner.
Quotation from her Nobel lecture
10. Frida Kahlo, a painter who defies classification.
Quotation from Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures