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1835
James Hogg (b.1770), Scottish writer, died. His novels included “The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner” (1824).
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1836
Edward Lane (1801-1876), English orientalist, published “Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians,” a classic account of Egyptian society.
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1839
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841), Russian writer, authored “A Hero of Our Time.” It is an example of the superfluous man novel, noted for its compelling Byronic hero (or anti-hero) Pechorin and for the beautiful descriptions of the Caucasus.
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1839
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), English novelist, authored his play “Richelieu.” It included his line “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
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1840 Apr 2
Emile Zola (d.1902), French novelist, reporter (Nana) , was born. He tried to wake the consciousness of the fin de siecle.
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1842 Mar 23
Stendhal [Marie-Henri Beyle], French author (b.1783)), died at 59.
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1842
Nikolai V. Gogol (1809-1852), Ukrainian-born Russian writer, published his novel “Dead Souls.” It appeared in Moscow under the title, imposed by the censorship, of “The Adventures of Chichikov.”
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1843 Apr 15
Henry James (d.1916), US novelist, writer and critic, was born in England. His older brother was William James, the psychologist and philosopher. Henry James Sr. in the 1850s dragged his 4 sons and daughter across Europe in search a “sensual education.” Henry’s first 40 years are documented by Sheldon M. Novick in "Henry James: The Young Master." There is also a 5-vol. biography by William Edel. His novels included "The Princess Casamassima," a work about the folly of radical politics. "It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature." In 2008 Paul Fisher authored “House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family.”
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1843 Dec 17
British author Charles Dickens published “A Christmas Carol” at his own expense. It was one of many public and private efforts by Dickens to bring about social reform: prison visits, charity drives, promotion of the so-called "Ragged Schools" for the poor, cash for a fired worker, or a child's education.
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1844
Englishman Alexander Kinglake (25) authored his travel book “Eothen.” The name was from the Greek for “from the east.” It told of his adventures traveling across the Ottoman Empire from Belgrade to Cairo.
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1844
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), English socialist, authored “The Condition of the working Class in England.”
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1844
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), English novelist, authored “The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq.”
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1845
Der Struwwelpeter, a popular German children's book, was published by Heinrich Hoffmann. It comprises ten illustrated and rhymed stories, mostly about children. Each has a clear moral that demonstrates the disastrous consequences of misbehavior in an exaggerated way. The title of the first story provides the title of the whole book. Literally translated, Struwwel-Peter means Shaggy-Peter.
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1847 Oct 16
Charlotte Bronte's book "Jane Eyre" was published by Smith, Elder & Co. under the pen name Currer Bell. In 2017 John Pfordresher authored “The Secret History of Jane Eyre: How Charlotte Bronte Wrote her Masterpiece.”
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1847 Dec 16
Mary Catherwood (d.1901), American novelist, was born in Luray, Ohio. "Next to the slanderer, we detest the bearer of the slander to our ears."
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1847
George Bush, a professor of Hebrew at New York Univ., authored “The Valley of Vision,” in which he called on the US government to militarily wrench Palestine from the Turks and return it to the Jews.
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1848 Jan 26
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) of Massachusetts presented an essay at the Concord Lyceum that explained his motives for refusing to pay taxes. In 1849 it was published as “Resistance to Civil Government.”
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1848
Turgenev authored his comedy "A Poor Gentleman." A 2002 Broadway production of the play was called "Fortune’s Fool."
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1848
Charles Dickens (1812-1870, English author, published his novel “Dombey and Son.”
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1849 Feb
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, anonymously authored the article: "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question," in which he 1st used the phrase "the dismal science" to describe political economics: It is “not a gay science… no, a dreary, desolate, and indeed quite abject and distressing one; what we might call, by way of eminence, the dismal science." Carlyle himself argued in this essay for the reintroduction of slavery into the West Indies. In 2001 David M. Levy authored "How the Dismal Science Got Its Name."
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1849
In Canada Josiah Henson (b.1789), former Maryland slave, authored his autobiography. It became the model for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
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1849
Henry David Thoreau published "Walden; or Life in the Woods" in which he described his experiences while living near Walden Pond on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
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1850 Mar 30
Charles Dickens published the first issue of his magazine “Household Words.”
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1850 Jun 27
Lafcadio Hearn (d.1904), Irish-American journalist, author, was born in Greece.
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1850 Aug 5
Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne met at a picnic with friends at Monument Mountain near Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Two days later, Melville visited Hawthorne at his little red farmhouse in Lenox. Hawthorne gave him two bottles of champagne and they took a walk to the lake. That same day, Hawthorne wrote to a friend, "I met Melville, the other day, and liked him so much that I have asked him to spend a few days with me before leaving these parts." For a year and a half, the two friends lived six miles apart during the most productive time in their writing lives. Their five greatest books - The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, Moby-Dick, The Blithedale Romance, and Pierre - were either being written or published. In fact, The Blithedale Romance and Pierre were written at the same time, and The Scarlet Letter and Moby-Dick were published only a year apart. In the fall of 1851, Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne.
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1850
British author Charles Dickens published “The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery” in book format. It had been serialized a year earlier.
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1851 Nov 14
Herman Melville’s novel "Moby Dick" was published in the US. The 1st publication was in London on October 18.
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1852 Mar 20
Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was first published in book form after being serialized. It was based on the theme that slavery is incompatible with Christianity. In 2011 David S. Reynolds authored “Mightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America.”
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1852
1853
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) authored his novel Bleak House in 20 monthly installments. It castigated the insufferable delays of the legal process in Britain. In the novel he describes a fictional court case, Jarndyce v Jarndyce, which concerns the fate of a large inheritance. It has dragged on for many generations prior to the action of the novel, so that, by the time it is resolved late in the narrative, legal costs have devoured nearly the entire estate. The case is thus a byword for an interminable legal proceeding.
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1854
Charles Dickens authored “Hard Times.” One of his reasons for writing it was that sales of his weekly periodical, Household Words, were low, and it was hoped the novel's publication in instalments would boost circulation – as indeed proved to be the case.
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1855 Jan 25
Dorothy Wordsworth (b.1771), English prose writer and the sister of poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850), died. In 2009 Frances Wilson authored “The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth.”
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1855 Mar 31
Charlotte Bronte (b.1816), English author (Jane Eyre), died. In 1994 Lyndall Gordon authored “Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life.” In 2015 Clare Harmon authored “Charlotte Bronte: A Life.”
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1855
Hinton Rowan Helper of North Carolina published “The Land of Gold: Reality vs. Fiction,” in which he critically commented on California and San Francisco based on his three plus years in the state. “Suffice it to say that we know of no country in which there is so much corruption, villainy, outlawry, intemperance, licentiousness, and every variety of crime, folly and meanness.” The book was republished in 1948 under the title “Dreadful California.”
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1856 Feb 17
Heinrich Heine (b.1797), German journalist and poet, died in Paris. His prose work included a series of travel memoirs that began in 1826 with “The Harz Journey.”
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1856
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), French writer, authored "The Old Regime and the French Revolution."
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1857
Thomas Hughes authored "Tom Brown’s School Days." Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman is a fictional character originally created by the author Thomas Hughes in his semi-autobiographical work Tom Brown's Schooldays. In this book, set at Rugby School, Flashman is the notorious bully, who persecutes its eponymous hero Tom Brown.
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1857
Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English novelist, published his serial novel “Little Dorrit” in book form. It had been serialized in 1855-1857.
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1858 Nov 20
Selma Lagerdorf (d.1940), Swedish novelist, was born. Her work included “The Story of Gosta Berling.”
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1859 Apr 4
Knut Hamsun (d.1952), Norwegian writer, was born. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1920.
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1859 Apr 16
Alexis de Tocqueville (b.1805), French writer, died in Cannes. His collected writings filled 17 volumes and included "Democracy in America" (1835) and "The Old Regime and the French Revolution" (1856). In 2001 a new English translation by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop was published. In 2001 Sheldon S. Wolin authored "Tocqueville Between Two Worlds." In 2006 Hugh Brogan authored “Alexis de Tocqueville: Prophet of Democracy in the Age of Revolution – A Biography.”
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1859 Aug 28
Leigh Hunt (b.1784), English poet and essayist, died. He is remembered for his immortal couplet: “The Two divinist things this world has got: / A lovely women in a rural spot. In 2005 Nicholas Roe authored “Fiery Heart: The first Life of Leigh Hunt.” Anthony Holden authored “The Wit in the Dungeon: The Life of Leigh Hunt.”
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1859 Nov 1
Henry David Thoreau stood up in front of a crowd in Boston’s Tremont Temple and delivered a lecture in support of abolitionist John Brown.
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1859 Dec 8
Thomas De Quincey (b.1785), English essayist, died. In 2006 his essays on murder were collected and published under the title “On Murder.” He is best know for his famous “Confessions of an Opium Eater” (1821).
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1859 Dec 28
Thomas Babington Macaulay (b.1800), English essayist, historian and politician, died. He was one of the first to advocate Indian independence, albeit on the grounds of English commercial self interest. In 2012 Zareer Masani authored “Macaulay: Pioneer of India’s Modernization.
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1861
Rebecca Harding Davis authored “Life in the Iron Mills.”
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1861
Imre Madach (1823-1864), Hungarian writer, authored “The Tragedy of Man,” a “Paradise Lost” for the industrial age.
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1862 May 6
Henry David Thoreau (b.1817), American writer, died of tuberculosis in Concord, Mass. In 1999 his unfinished manuscript "Wild Fruits," a catalog of his observations on local plants and fruits, was published. In 2017 Laura Dassow Walls authored “Henry David Thoreau: A Life.”
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1862 May 15
Arthur Schnitzler (d.1931), playwright and novelist (La Ronde), was born in Austria.
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1862
Victor Hugo published "Les Miserables." The novel covers events in France from 1815 to 1833. In 2004 Mario Vargas Llosa authored his book-length Spanish essay: “The Temptation of the Impossible: Victor Hugo and ‘Les Miserables.’ The English translation came out in 2007. From 1909 to 2017 some 65 film versions were made of the novel, making it the most frequently adopted novel of all time.
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1864
“The Maine Woods” by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was published posthumously, based on 3 previous visits to Maine in 1846, 1853 and 1857.
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1864
Scottish author W.R. chambers published “Book of Days: A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities in Connection with the Calendar, Including Anecdote, Biography, & History, Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character.”
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1864
Anthony Trollope’s novel “Can You Forgive Her” began to appear in serial form. It is the first of six novels in his "Palliser" series.
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1865 Sep 17
In San Francisco Mark Twain and ‘Mousetrap Man’ (Tremenheere Lanyon Johns) were seen walking up Clay street under the influence of hashish. At this time concentrated cannabis was commonly available in tincture or solid form in drug stores.
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1865 Sep 23
Emmuska Orczy (d.1947), baroness and writer, was born in Tarnaors, Hungary. Her family moved to London in 1880. Her books included "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1905).
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1866 Sep 21
H.G. Wells (d.1946), English novelist and historian was born as Herbert George Wells in Bromley, Kent, England. His work included the novel "Marriage," "The Time Machine" (1895), "The Invisible Man" (1897) and "The War of the Worlds" (1898).
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1866
Mark Twain, dispatched to Hawaii for the Sacramento Union, wrote some 25 letters for the paper at $20 per letter.
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1867 May 27
Arnold Bennett (d.1931), English novelist, playwright and critic, was born. His books included “Riceyman Steps” (1923) in which he probes the unsettling and symbolic depths of a marriage that becomes too close.
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1867 Oct
Karl Marx (1818-1883), London-based German philosopher, sociologist, economic historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist, published Volume 1 of “Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Okonomie” (Capital: Critique of Political Economy). The first English edition was published in 1887. It is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production. Volumes II and III remained mere manuscripts upon which Marx continued to work for the rest of his life and were published posthumously by Engels.
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1867
Mark Twain was commissioned to report on the voyage of the steamship Quaker City, which sailed for the Middle East. In 1869 he authored “The Innocents Abroad,” an account of his observations.
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1867
Anthony Trollope authored “Phineas Finn,” the 2nd of his 6 Palliser novels, which chronicled political life in Victorian England.
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