History of modern literature
history of literaturein the Modern periodin Europe begins with the Age of Enlightenmentand the conclusion of the Baroque periodin the 18th century, succeeding the Renaissance and Early Modern periods.
In the classical literary cultures outside of Europe, the Modern period begins later, in
Ottoman Turkeywith the Tanzimatreforms (1820s),in Qajar Persia under Nasser al-Din Shah(1830s),in Indiawith the end of the Mughal eraand the establishment of the British Raj(1850s),in Japanwith the Meiji restoration(1860s),in Chinawith the New Culture Movement(1910s).
The early 18th century sees the conclusion of the
Baroque periodand the incipient Age of Enlightenmentwith authors such as Immanuel Kant, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseauor Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. European cultural influence begins to spread to other continents, notably Edo periodJapan, with notable authors of the period including Ueda Akinariand Santō Kyōden. Early US American literatureappears towards the end of the century, e.g. with " The Power of Sympathy" by William Hill Brown(1789). The late 18th century in Germany sees the beginning Romantic ( Novalis) and " Sturm und Drang" ( Goetheund Schiller) movements.
The 19th century was perhaps the most literary of all centuries, because not only were the forms of
novel, short storyand magazine serial all in existence side-by-side with theatreand opera, but since film, radio and television did not yet exist, the popularity of the written word and its direct enactment were at their height.
The early part of the century
The romantic movement was well under way and along with it developed the splintering of fiction writing into
genres and the rise of speculative fiction. There was a romantic tendency toward the exploration of folk traditions and old legends. In 1802 Sir Walter Scottpublished "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border". Amelia Opie, another romantic, was publishing poetry in the early 19th century and was an active anti-war campaigner. Anne Bannerman(1765-1829) reworked legends of King Arthurand Merlin. William Blakeworked in words and pictures to share his visions and mysticism. In 1807 Thomas Moorepublished "Irish Melodies". Lord Byron produced many influential poems during this period. In 1808 Goethepublished part one of " Faust". In 1810 Sir Walter Scottpublished " Lady of the Lake". Percy Shelleypublished a gothic novel: " Zastrozzi". The term "Gothic" had, by this time, come to mean a desire for a romantic return to the times before the renaissance. Percy Shelleyalso published a gothic novella: "St. Irvyne" in 1811.
North Americans who would later produce great literature were being born in the first third of the century. In 1803 the great American poet
Ralph Waldo Emersonwas born ( May 25) in Bostonand in 1804 Nathaniel Hawthorne. In 1807 Henry Wadsworth Longfellowand then Edgar Allan Poein 1809. Phillipe-Ignace Francois Aubert du Gaspe, author of the first French Canadiannovel was born in 1814 followed by Henry David Thoreauin 1817 and Herman Melvillein 1819. Canadian poets Octave Crémazieand James McIntyre were both born in 1827. In 1830 was the birth of Emily Dickinsonand, just over a third of the way through the century, in 1835 Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) arrived in this world. Before all of them was Washington Irving, said to be the first American "Literary Lion" and mentor to several other American writers. Washington Irving wrote " The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (a short story contained in his collection " The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon") while he was living in Birmingham, Englandand it was first published in 1819.
In 1807 Charles and
Mary Lambpublished " Tales from Shakespeare", a simple retelling of some of Shakespeare's plays in the form of little stories accessible to a child readership. Along with all the other genres born in the 19th century came the genre of Children's literature.
In 1809 Schlegel published "On Dramatic Art and Literature".
Alfred, Lord Tennysonwas born ( August 6).
Jane Austenpublished (anonymously) " Sense and Sensibility"
George Crabbepublished "Tales in Verse". Byron published "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" Cantos I and II. Samuel Taylor Coleridgepublished "Remorse". On February 7 Charles Dickenswas born. On May 7 Robert Browningwas born in London. On October 4, in London, Percy Shelleyfirst met William Godwin( 3 March 1756- 7 April 1836), an English writer, husband of feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraftand father of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (who would eventually marry Shelley and become Mary Shelley).
Jane Austenpublished (anonymously) " Pride and Prejudice". Byron published "The Giaour" and "The Bride of Abydos". January 23 Drury Lanereopened with Coleridge's "Remorse". In May Percy Shelleypublished his poem "Queen Mab". In September Sir Walter Scottdeclined the offer of being made Poet Laureate, Robert Southeyaccepted the post. Wilhelm Richard Wagner born 22 May.
Sir Walter Scottpublished "Waverley". Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park" was published anonymously. Robert Southeypublished "Roderick, the Last of the Goths". An English translation of Dante's " Divine Comedy" appeared. On July 28 Percy Shelleyand Mary Godwin ( Mary Shelley) eloped. In 1816 Thomas Love Peacockpublished " Headlong Hall". Coleridge published "Christabel" and " Kubla Khan". Jane Austenanonymously published " Emma". E.T.A. Hoffmannpublished " Undine". Mary Shelley and Percy Shelley went to Genevaand met Byron (with his physician John Polidori). At Byron's villa they told ghost stories and invented the basic ideas which led eventually to Mary Shelley's book " Frankenstein" and Polidori's novel The Vampyre. Their stay at Byron's villa was one of the most famous events in the Gothic/Romantic movement.
John Keatspublished a volume of Poems. Sir Walter Scott published " Harold the Dauntless". Byron published " Manfred".
Mary Shelleyanonymously published " Frankenstein" which came to be known, eventually, as the first science fictionnovel and the template for the mad scientistsubgenre. Byron published "Childe Harold" Canto IV. John Keatspublished "Endymion". Thomas Love Peacockpublished "Rhododaphne" and "Nightmare Abbey". Jane Austen's " Northanger Abbey" and " Persuasion" were published posthumously. Sir Walter Scott published "Rob Roy".
John Polidoripublished " The Vampyre".
John Keatspublished "Lamia", "Isabella" and "Hyperion". Percy Shelley published " Prometheus Unbound". Elizabeth Barrettpublished "The Battle of Marathon". Sir Walter Scottpublished " Ivanhoe", " The Abbot" and " The Monastery". James Catnach: "Street Ballads". A gothic novel, " Melmoth the Wanderer" was published by Charles Robert Maturin.
1821 February 23: John Keats died. Percy Shelley published "Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats" and "Epipsychidion". Byron published "The Prophecy of Dante". Sir Walter Scottpublished "Kenilworth". Fyodor Dostoevskywas born.
Thomas De Quinceypublished " Confessions of an English Opium Eater". Percy Shelley published "Hellas".
In 1823 Mary Shelley published "Valperga". Byron published "The Age of Bronze" and "The Island".
Charles Lambpublished " Essays of Elia". Sir Walter Scott published "Quentin Durward". An English translation of Jacob Grimm, " Grimms' Fairy Tales" appeared.
In 1824 Sir Walter Scott published "
Redgauntlet". Byron died in Greece.
In 1826 Mary Shelley published "
The Last Man", a novel set in the 21st century.
In 1827 Alfred and
Charles Tennyson Turnerpublished "Poems by Two Brothers". August 12: William Blakedied.
Leo Nikolayevitch Tolstoywas born 9 September.
Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegeldied 11 January. Edgar Allan Poepublished a poem: " Al Aaraaf".
In 1831 Sir Walter Scott published "Castle Dangerous".
Edgar Allan Poepublished a poem: " The City in the Sea". (1831)
In 1832 Percy Shelley published his poem "
The Masque of Anarchy", a reaction to the Peterloo massacre. Johann Wolfgang Goethepublished part II of " Faust". On March 20Goethe died. Jerrold Douglaspublished "The Factory Girl", "The Golden Calf" and "The Rent-Day".
Caroline Bowlespublished "Tales of the Factories". Charles Lambpublished "The Last Essays of Elia".
Frederick Marryatpublished " Peter Simple" and " Jacob Faithful". Balzacpublished "Le Pere Goriot". William Morriswas born. On July 25 Samuel Taylor Coleridgedied.
The first modern Arabic compilation of "
The Book of One Thousand and One Nights" was published in Cairo.
The middle of the century
In the mid-nineteenth century
magazines publishing short stories and serials began to be popular. Some of them were more respectable, while others were referred to by the derogatory name of " penny dreadfuls". In 1844 Alexandre Dumas, pèrepublished a novel " The Three Musketeers" ("Les Trois Mousquetaires") and wrote " The Count of Monte Cristo" which was published in installments over the next two years. William Makepeace Thackeraypublished " The Luck of Barry Lyndon". In Britain Charles Dickenspublished several of his books in installments in magazines: " The Pickwick Papers", followed, in the next few years, by " Oliver Twist" (1837-1839), " Nicholas Nickleby" (1838-1839), " The Old Curiosity Shop" (1840-1841), " Barnaby Rudge" (1841), " A Christmas Carol" (1843) and " Martin Chuzzlewit" (1843-1844). In America a version of the penny dreadful became popularly known as a " dime novel". In the dime novels the reputations of gunfighters and other wild westheroes or villains were created or exaggerated. The western genre came into existence. James Fenimore Cooperbegan a series of stories featuring the characters Hawkeyeand Chingachgook. These stories were not only "westerns" but also "historical novels", the earliest setting being approximately 100 years earlier than the year James Fenimore Cooper was writing it. The series was called the " Leatherstocking Tales" and comprised five volumes: " The Deerslayer" (1841), " The Last of the Mohicans" (1826), " The Pathfinder" (1840), " The Pioneers" (1823)), " The Prairie" (1827).
Edgar Allan Poepublished a poem: " The Conqueror Worm".
Edgar Allan Poepublished a short story: " Ligeia" and a novel: " The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket". Elizabeth Barrettpublished "The Seraphim". Lady Charlotte Guestpublished " Mabinogion", a collection of ancient Celtic stories from Wales.
In 1839 the
Canadianwriter Louis Fréchettewas born. Edgar Allan Poepublished three short stories: "William Wilson", " The Devil in the Belfry" and " The Fall of the House of Usher".
In 1840 the
Westcountryauthor Thomas Hardywas born.
Phillipe-Ignace Francois Aubert du Gaspedied. Edgar Allan Poepublished two short stories: " A Descent into the Maelstrom" and a C. Auguste Dupinshort story: " The Murders in the Rue Morgue". Edgar Allan Poepublished a short story: " The Masque of the Red Death" (1842). Edgar Allan Poepublished a short story: " The Pit and the Pendulum" (1842).
In 1843 the
transatlanticauthor Henry Jameswas born. Edgar Allan Poepublished a poem: " Lenore" and four short stories: " The Gold Bug" (1843), "The Black Cat", " The Tell-Tale Heart" and a C. Auguste Dupinshort story: " The Mystery of Marie Roget". Edgar Allan Poepublished a short story: " The Spectacles" (1844). Edgar Allan Poepublished a short story: " The Balloon-Hoax" (1844). Edgar Allan Poepublished a C. Auguste Dupinshort story: " The Purloined Letter" (1844).
Edgar Allan Poepublished a poem: " The Raven" and a short story: " The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" August Wilhelm von Schlegeldied 12 May.
Edgar Allan Poepublished a short story: " The Cask of Amontillado". Charles Dickens published " Dombey and Son" in installments from 1846 to 1848.
Anne Brontëpublished " Agnes Grey", Emily Brontëpublished " Wuthering Heights", and Charlotte Brontëpublished " Jane Eyre". Rymer published "Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood". Edgar Allan Poepublished a poem: " Ulalume".
William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, " Vanity Fair" was published. Elizabeth Gaskellpublished " Mary Barton". Anne Brontëpublished " The Tenant of Wildfell Hall". Grant Allenwas born. Edgar Allan Poepublished an essay he called a prose poem: "".
In 1849 both
Anne Brontëand Edgar Allan Poedied. In the year of his death two of Poe's poems were published: " Annabel Lee" and " The Bells". Dostoyevskipublished " Netochka Nezvanova". The poet Emma Lazaruswas born 22 Julyin New York City.
Alfred Lord Tennysonbecame Poet Laureateand Robert Louis Stevensonwas born 13 November. Two of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories were posthumously published: " The Oblong Box" and " The Oval Portrait".
Sheridan Le Fanupublished "Ghost Stories and Tales of Mystery", Herman Melvillepublished " Moby-Dick" and James Fenimore Cooperdied 14 September.
Oscar Wildewas born 16 October.
Charles Dickens' prolific creative outpouring gave us "David Copperfield" (1849-1850) and then "
Bleak House" (1852-1853), " Hard Times" (1854), " Little Dorrit" (1855-1857), " A Tale of Two Cities" ( 11 July 1859) and " Great Expectations" (1860-1861).
Washington Irvingdied. Dostoyevskipublished " The Village of Stepanchikovo" (or The Friend of the Family). Arthur Conan Doylewas born 22 May, and Knut Hamsunwas born 4 August.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov(Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов) was born 29 January.
Robert Goldsmithdied. Bliss Carmanwas born. E. Pauline Johnsonwas born.
Victor Hugopublished " Les Misérables". Henry David Thoreaudied. Edith Whartonwas born. Dostoyevskipublished "The House of the Dead" and " A Nasty Story". Christina Rossettipublished " Goblin Market and Other Poems" (1862).
The late 19th century
Jules Vernepublished " Cinq semaines en ballon" (" Five Weeks in a Balloon"). (Verne's "Paris au XXe siècle" ("Paris in the 20th Century") was written, but was not published until 1994). "Voyage au centre de la Terre" (" Journey to the Center of the Earth") came out in 1864 and " De la Terre à la Lune" (" From the Earth to the Moon") in 1865. Verne had by then fully established the " scientific romance" as a genre. Charles Dickens published " Our Mutual Friend" in installments from 1864 to 1865. Literature by this time was becoming increasingly popular. The European and North American middle-classes were better educated than ever before and more reading was done. At the same time the styles of writing were tending more and more toward plainer language and more broadly understood themes. People were reading about detectives, ghosts, machines, wonders, adventures, tricky situations, unusual turns of fate and romances. Love stories and grudges, explorations and wars, ideas based on scientific positivismand ideas based on nonsenseand gibberishwere all being published and enjoyed by a readership which could now be termed "the masses".
Nathaniel Hawthornedied. Dostoyevskipublished " Notes from Underground" (or "Letters from the Underworld"). Dostoyevski's concerns and style were singularly original and allow the reader entry to a claustrophobic interior world of the psyche. It is probably correct to describe Dostoyevski as the first Existentialistauthor.
Lewis Carrollpublished " Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", combining social satire with nonsense writing and presenting the two of them in the guise of a children's story. Thomas Chandler Haliburtondied. Edith Maude Eatonwas born.
Dostoyevskipublished " Crime and Punishment", followed by " The Gambler" (1867). Mark Twainpublished " The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County".
Jules Verne published "Les enfants du Capitaine Grant" ("
In Search of the Castaways") 1867-1868 and "Vingt mille lieues sous les mers" (" Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea") in 1870.
Dostoyevskipublished "The Idiot".
Mark Twainpublished " Innocents Abroad". Matthew Arnoldset a cultural agenda in his book " Culture and Anarchy". His views represented one of two polar opposites which would be in struggle against each other for many years to come. The other side of the struggle would be represented by the Aesthetic, Symbolistor Decadentmovement. The chief participants in the cultural opposition at this time included, on the so-called "decadent" side French poets like Jean Moréas, Paul Verlaine, Tristan Corbière, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarméand, in Britain, the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. On the other side were Matthew Arnold, John Ruskinand the tendency amongst the arts toward a utilitarian, constructive and educational ethic. The views of Matthew Arnoldand John Ruskininspired the Arts and Crafts movementand William Morris. This dispute ("art for art's sake" versus "art for the common good") would continue throughout the remainder of the 19th century and much of the 20th.
The "Decadent" movement was a transitional stage between romanticism and "modernism".
In 1870 Charles Dickens died aged 58. Before his death he was working on "
The Mystery of Edwin Drood" (published unfinished). John McCraewas born. Hilaire Bellocwas born ( 27 July).
Dostoyevskipublished "The Possessed" (or "Demons" or "The Devils"). Lewis Carroll published " Through the Looking-Glassand what Alice Found There". Samuel Butler published " Erewhon", an early science fictionnovel. Jules Verne published "Le tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours" ("Around the World in Eighty Days").
Alfred Jarrywas born ( 8 September).
In 1874 Jules Verne published "L'île mystérieuse" ("
The Mysterious Island").
In 1875 "
Carmen", a French opera by Georges Bizet, with text by Henri Meilhacand Ludovic Halévy, reached the stage. Dostoyevskipublished " The Raw Youth" (or "The Adolescent").
In 1876 Lewis Carroll published "
The Hunting of the Snark". Mark Twain published " The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".
Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta" HMS Pinafore, or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor" was staged.
Octave Crémaziedied. Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta" The Pirates of Penzance", or, "The Slave of Duty" was staged.
Dostoyevskipublished " The Brothers Karamazov". Norwegian writer Knut Hamsunpublished Hunger.
Dostoyevskidied. Oscar Wildepublished his first book of poems . Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta"Patience, or, Bunthorne's Bride" was staged. Mark Twain published " The Prince and the Pauper".
Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta" Iolanthe, or, The Peer and the Peri" was staged. Ralph Waldo Emersondied. Henry Wadsworth Longfellowdied. Two of America's finest poets gone in one year.
Wilhelm Richard Wagnerdied 13 February. Franz Kafkawas born 3 July.
In 1884 Mark Twain published "
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas " Princess Ida", or, Castle Adamant (1884) and " The Mikado, or, The Town of Titipu" (1885) arrive on the London stage.
H. Rider Haggardpublished " King Solomon's Mines".
In 1887 Oscar Wilde published "
The Canterville Ghost". Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta" Ruddigore, or, The Witch's Curse" was staged. Sir Arthur Conan Doylepublished " A Study in Scarlet", the first Sherlock Holmesstory and the beginning of crime fictionas a genre. H. Rider Haggardpublished "She" first serialized in " The Graphic" from October 1886 to January 1887.
In 1888 Oscar Wilde published "
The Happy Prince and Other Stories". Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta" The Yeomen of the Guard", or, "The Merryman and his Maid" was staged. Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas " The Gondoliers", or, "The King of Barataria" (1889), " Utopia, Limited", or, "The Flowers of Progress" (1893) and " The Grand Duke", or, "The Statutory Duel" (1896) were all staged.
Lewis Carroll's last novel, the two-volume Sylvie and Bruno, was published in 1889 and 1893 respectively. In 1889 Oscar Wilde published "
The Portrait of Mr. W. H.".
Sir Arthur Conan Doylepublished " The Sign of Four". H. Rider Haggardpublished "The Saga of Eric Brighteyes" an epic vikingnovel. Oscar Wilde published " The Picture of Dorian Gray".
Herman Melvilledied. Oscar Wilde published " Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime and other Stories", " Intentions" and " House of Pomegranates".
Sir Arthur Conan Doylepublished " The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes".
In 1893 Oscar Wilde staged two plays: "Salomé" (French version) and "
Lady Windermere's Fan". His " A Woman of No Importance" and the English version of "Salomé followed in 1894.
Sir Arthur Conan Doylepublished " The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes". Robert Louis Stevensondied 3 December. Mark Twain published " Tom Sawyer Abroad" and " Pudd'n'head Wilson". Oscar Wildewas in prison for "gross indecency" from 1895 to 1897.
Giacomo Puccini's opera " La Bohème" was staged, as was Chekov's play " The Seagull". H. G. Wellspublished " The Time Machine" and " The Island of Dr. Moreau". William Morrisdied 3 October. Mark Twain published " Tom Sawyer, Detective". Alfred Jarry, only 23 years old, wrote his highly influential play " Ubu Roi", which is often cited as a forerunner to the Theatre of the Absurd.
Bram Stokerpublished " Dracula". H.G. Wells published " The Invisible Man".
Henry Jamespublished " The Turn of the Screw". H.G. Wells publishes "The War of the Worlds". Oscar Wilde published " The Ballad of Reading Gaol".
In 1899 Chekov's play "
Uncle Vanya" was staged. Mark Twain published " A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". H.G. Wells published " When The Sleeper Wakes". Grant Allendied. Oscar Wilde staged his plays " The Importance of Being Earnest" and " An Ideal Husband" one year before his death in 1900.
See main article:
Modern European Literature
List of years in literature:
1800s - 1810s - 1820s - 1830s - 1840s - 1850s - 1860s - 1870s - 1880s - 1890s - 1900s -
Modernist poetry is a mode of writing characterised by technical innovation in the mode of versification (sometimes referred to as
free verse) and by the dislocation of the 'I' of the poet as a means of subverting the notion of an unproblematic poetic 'self' directly addressing an equally unproblematic ideal reader or audience. In English, it is generally considered to have emerged in the early years of the 20th century.
These two facets of modernist
poetryare intimately connected with each other. The dislocation of the authorial presence is achieved through the application of such techniques as collage, found poetry, visual poetry, the juxtaposition of apparently unconnected materials, etc. In the best examples of modernist writing, these techniques are used not for their own sake but to open up questions in the mind of the reader.
Modernist poetry in English is often viewed as an American phenomenon in origin, with leading exponents including
Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, H.D., and Louis Zukofsky, but there were a number of important British modernist poets, including David Jones, Hugh MacDiarmid, Mina Loy, and Basil Bunting.
The influence of modernism can be seen in such later poetic groups and movements as the Objectivists, the
Beat generation, the Black Mountain poets, the deep imagegroup, the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and the British Poetry Revival.
Modernistform of prose began from the styles of writing popular in the mid to late 19th century: The nonsense books of Edward Learand Lewis Carrollwere one influence. Another was the dark gothic brooding of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poeand Dostoyevski. These tendencies toward rebellious nonsense and morose introspection were, to some extent, reactions against the science and positivism of the Victorian eramindset. At the same time, however, science continued to influence writers to adopt a spirit of experimentalism.
Joseph Conradpublished " Heart of Darkness", which threw representations of civilised society into sharp contrast with representations of the jungle and played both of them in relation to the human heart and soul.
In the first half of the 20th century writers such as
Franz Kafkaand James Joyceexperimented with dislocations of conventional wisdomin their creations of distorted characters, locations and narrative styles. Literary experiments in form, matching those taking place in modernist painting and sculpture of the same period, challenged the reader to re-examine and deconstruct preconceptions about the world. Bertholt Brechtcreated modernist theatrical productions according to his theory of the alienation effectwhich was supposed to make the audience think and feel in new and critical ways by removing comfortable assumptions and not permitting the narrative to appear too much like reality.
tructuralism, Deconstruction, Poststructuralism, Postmodernism and Post-Colonialism
Thomas Pynchonand main articles: Structuralism, Deconstruction, Poststructuralism, Postmodernismand Post-Colonialism
See main article:
French literature of the 19th century;Americas Argentine literature, Literature of Canada, , Mexican literature;AustraliaSee Australian literature, New Zealand literature; Asian literature; African literature
History of theater
History of science fiction
History of ideas
List of years in literature:
1900s - 1910s - 1920s - 1930s - 1940s - 1950s - 1960s - 1970s - 1980s - 1990s - 2000s
* [http://www.litencyc.com/ The Literary Encyclopedia]
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