02/05/2014 12:59 pm ET Updated Feb 10, 2014

9 Famous Authors Who Were Totally Hot (PHOTOS)

Zest Books

From Huffington Post Books staff: Kelly Murphy's new book, Historical Heartthrobs: 50 Timeless Crushes-From Cleopatra to Camus compiles photos and the life stories of 50 of history's sexiest men and women. The book tells you who they were, why they mattered and also why they were so smolderingly hot. Below is an excerpt focusing on some of the attractive authors mentioned.

  • Albert Camus
    We always want what we can’t have, and the prospect of actually locking down the elusive Albert Camus is made all the more appealing by his ultimate inaccessibility. Sure, his list of lovers could probably stretch the length of the Champs-Elysées if placed end to end, but he had passion to spare for each one. In his own words, “Why should it be essential to love rarely in order to love much?” Oh, Albert.
  • Dorothy Parker
    Parker’s biting sense of humor could be intimidating to some, but intoxicating to others. Though shallow about appearances (she coined the phrase “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses”), she was a tireless advocate for civil rights throughout her life. Her spirit lives on to this day, and the Dorothy Parker Foundation was created in 1998 to pay homage to her works and general spunk. When caught at a saloon while on the New Yorker’s payroll, Parker claimed, “Someone else was using the pencil.” In her obituary in the New York Times, Parker was called both “deceptively sweet” and “a glittering, annihilating humorist.”
  • Ernest Hemingway
    He was a bombastic, insecure, bipolar man— but man, did he live a full life. A date with Ernest Hemingway was a date you wouldn’t soon forget, but a marriage to the literary icon was much more problematic, as a rule. Still, in terms of sheer masculine handsomeness, he’s hard to beat.
  • Frederick Douglass
    Frederick Douglass was the total package. At a time when racism was explicit, profound, and unrelenting, he fought for change. He was fighting a noble fight if ever there was one, and he not only made his case but also made friends almost everywhere he went. He was not to be denied.
  • George Sand
    Seemingly oblivious to the standard for female behavior in an upper-class setting, Sand relied entirely on her intellect and wit to exercise her sensuality. No stranger to criticism, she found ways to circumvent the system while igniting the hearts of some of Paris’s most influential and productive minds. In this case, crush-worthy is an understatement; Sand was a heartbreaker and a soul shaker. She was the complete package—appropriating masculinity without renouncing her own seductive nature, acting bullheaded in public while still ensuring the safety of her children in private, and staying true to her convictions even when offered an easy (and lucrative) out.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Stowe, a deeply religious woman with a strong moral compass, wrote a very long, very sentimental novel that inspired people to change their political beliefs. That being said, the writer and critic James Baldwin famously hated Uncle Tom’s Cabin because its protagonist was too saintly— and too asexual—to pass as a real person. So in his view, the book failed to reckon with the reality of black Americans, despite the fact that the book did help to achieve real change.
  • Lord Byron
    Lord Byron was the archetype of the sexy, tortured poet. His adventurous sexuality, paired with serious athleticism in the physical prime of his early life, made him an attractive figure, in spite of his philandering. On the upside of his Casanova lifestyle, Byron’s embrace of many forms of sexual expression (minus the alleged incest) was ahead of its time and helped to set the stage for more progressive thinking on sexuality in the years to come.
  • Sylvia Plath
    Plath was very photogenic. Very. When you look at the photos, it’s easy to forget how difficult her life was, but when you need a reminder, it’s wise to go back to her work. Be careful, though, the morbid, teasing, furious passion of her words still has a visceral power. One way or another, she’s hard to resist. So give in for a moment, but remember to take a step back when the pull is too strong. Hers is a dark seduction.
  • W.E.B. Du Bois
    With a thick beard and fluffy moustache framing his pillowy lips, and a razor-sharp mind, W.E.B. DuBois was a helluva figure to strike up a conversation with. He was most likely compatible with someone who could keep up with his debate tactics. We only docked him a point for his überextremist views that translated into a lack of tolerance as he aged. Otherwise, we’re bestowing our blessing on anyone who can get a word in edgewise.

Excerpted from HISTORICAL HEARTTHROBS: 50 Timeless Crushes – from Cleopatra to Camus with permission of the publisher, Zest Books. Text copyright © Kelly Murphy 2014.

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