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1891
Arthur Conan Doyle’s historical novel, “The White Company,” was published. It was about the wartime adventures of a medieval band of English archers.
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1891
Emile Zola (1840-1902), French novelist, authored “L’Argent” (Money), the story of a scheming financier. It was first published a a newspaper serial.
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1892 Feb 16
The opera “Werther” premiered at the Imperial Theatre Hofoper in Vienna. It was composed in 1887 by French composer Jules Massenet based on Goethe’s 1774 novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther.”
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1892 Jul 1
James M. Cain (d.1977), fiction writer, was born in Annapolis, Maryland. His work included "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "Mildred Pierce." As a member of the "hard-boiled" school of crime fiction of the 1930s and 1940s he is often associated with the equally popular writers Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
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1892
Cicily Fairfield (aka Rebecca West), writer, was born. Her books included "The Return of the Soldier" and "Black Lamb and Grey Falcon," which was written following a trip through Yugoslavia. She had a relationship with H.G. Wells that led to the birth of a son, Anthony. In 1996 Carl Rollyson wrote her biography: "Rebecca West: A Life." Her pen name came from a character in Ibsen’s play "Rosmersholm." Rebecca West died in 1983.
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1892
Anatole France wrote his novella “Le Procurateur de Judee.“
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1893 Jan 15
Fanny Kemble (b.1809), actress and writer, died in London. Her work included "Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation.” In 2000 Catherine Clinton authored "Fanny Kimble’s Civil Wars" and edited "Fanny Kemble’s Journals." In 2007 Deirdre David authored “Fanny Kemble: A Performed Life.”
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1893 Sep 4
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), English author, first told the story of Peter Rabbit in the form of a "picture letter" to Noel Moore, the son of Potter's former governess. A 2nd illustrated letter the same month later became “The Tale of Jeremy Fisher.” The “Tale of Peter Rabbit” was published in 1901.
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1893 Dec
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventures of the Final Problem,” appeared in The Strand Magazine. In it Holmes and his archenemy, Prof. Moriarty, plunged to their death at the Reichenbach Falls.
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1895 Mar 5
Nikolai Leskov (b.1831), Russian writer, died. His major works include Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865), which was later made into an opera by Shostakovich. In 2013 new translations of 17 of his stories were published by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
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1895 Jul 24
Robert Graves (d.1985), British poet and novelist (Goodbye to All That, I Claudius), was born. "There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money either."
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1895
H.G. Wells wrote "The Time Machine." In 1960 it was made into a film.
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1895
Theodore Fontane (1819-1898), German novelist and poet, authored Effi Briest, the last of the great 19th-century novels of adultery.
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1896 Jul 1
Harriet Beecher Stowe (85), US author (Uncle Tom's Cabin), died.
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1896 Oct 3
William Morris (b.1834), English artist and writer, died. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful of believe to be beautiful.” In 1995 Fiona MacCarthy authored the biography: “William Morris.”
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1896
Arthur Conan Doyle published 2 historical novels, “The Exploits of the Brigadier Gerard” and “Rodney Stone.”
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1896
American writer William Sydney Porter, aka O. Henry (1862-1910), authored his short story “Cabbages and Kings,” in which he coined the term “banana republic.” Porter wrote the story while in Trujillo, Honduras, where he had fled to avoid embezzlement charges in Houston.
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1897 Jan 2
The S.S. Commodore, a small American ship used to smuggle weapons to Cuba, sank off the coast of Florida. Writer Stephen Crane was aboard, along with a crew of 11 and 16 Cuban rebel soldiers. Crane based his 1897 short story, “The Open Boat,” on his survival experience in a lifeboat.
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1897 Apr 17
Thornton Wilder (d.1975), novelist and playwright, was born. His work included "Our Town" and "The Bridge of San Luis Rey."
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1897 Sep 25
William Faulkner (d.1962), American author, was born in New Albany, Miss. His books were mostly set in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. and include “The Sound and The Fury” (1929) and “Intruder in the Dust.” "The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man; it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."
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1898 Jan 10
In France a court-martial against Major Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy began behind closed doors. The next day the defendant was found not guilty. Writer Emile Zola followed this action 2 days later with a 4-thousand word letter in support of Captain Dreyfus and accusing the French military of a conspiracy in the case. Zola was soon found guilty of libel and sentenced to prison, but fled to England and stayed for almost a year.
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1898 Jan 13
Emile Zola's famous defense of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, "J'accuse," was published in Paris. The open letter to French President Felix Faure accused the French judiciary of giving into pressure from the military to perpetuate a cover-up in the Dreyfus treason case.
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1898 Jan 14
Author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson -- better known as "Alice in Wonderland" creator Lewis Carroll -- died in Guildford, England. In 2008 Robin Wilson authored “Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life.”
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1898 Jan
Henry James (1843-1916), England-born US novelist, writer and critic, published his novella "The Turn of the Screw."
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1898 Feb 23
Writer Emile Zola was imprisoned in France for his letter J’accuse in which he accused the French government of anti-Semitism and the wrongful imprisonment of army captain Alfred Dreyfus.
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1898 Jul 25
US Gen’l. Nelson A. Miles (1839-1925) landed troops at Guanica on the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Spain and the US came to terms at the Treaty of Paris and the US acquired Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico became a US territory. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1901. He retired from the army in 1903. His books include Personal Recollections and Observations (1896) and Serving the Republic (1911).
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1898 Sep 20
Theodore Fontane (b.1819), German novelist and poet, died. He is regarded by many to be the most important 19th-century German-language realist writer.
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1898
H.G. Wells (1866-1946) published the classic "War of the Worlds." It was about an invasion of Earth by Martians.
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1899 Apr 23
Vladimir Nabokov (d.1977), writer, was born in Russia. His work included "Lolita," "Pnin," and "Pale Fire." He was an avid butterfly collector. "There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts."
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1899 Dec 30
In the Philippines the Spanish army executed nationalist author Jose Rizal (b.1861) for the crime of rebellion after an anti-colonial revolution, inspired in part by his writings, broke out.
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1899
H.G. Wells authored "When the Sleeper Wakes," the story of a man who falls asleep for 200 years.
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1901 Feb 3
Yukichi Fukuzawa (b.1835), Japanese author, writer, teacher, translator, entrepreneur and journalist, died. He was the founder of Keio University, Jiji-Shinpō (a newspaper) and the Institute for Study of Infectious Diseases.
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1901 Aug
Arthur Conan Doyle published the 1st installment of his book "Hound of the Baskervilles" in The Strand Magazine. It was later reported that he had stolen the idea for the novel from his friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson. A 1st edition copy with dust jacket sold at auction for $131,541 in 1998.
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1901
P.M.B. Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949), Belgian playwright and essayist, authored “The Life of the Bee.”
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1901
The Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated writer Leo Tolstoy, a self-described Christian Anarchist, for blasphemy.
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1902 Jul 1
Start of Sherlock Holmes "Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax."
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1903 Jun 25
George Orwell (d.1950), English novelist, essayist and critic, was born in India as Eric Arthur Blair. He took his pen name in 1932. His books included "Animal Farm" and "1984," which attacked totalitarianism. "Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it."
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1903
Robert Erskine Childers (1870-1922), British author, wrote his spy novel “The Riddle of the Sands.” The Irish nationalist was executed by the authorities of the nascent Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War.
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1904 Sep 26
Lafcadio Hearn (b.1850), Greece-born, Irish-American travel writer, died in Japan. He moved to Japan in 1890 and is especially well-known for his collections of Japanese legends and ghost stories, such as “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things” (1904). In 2009 Christopher Benfey edited “Lafcadio Hearn: American Writings.”
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1904 Oct 7
Isabella Bird Bishop (b.1831), English explorer, writer, and natural historian, died in Edinburgh. Her books included the 2-volume work “Korea and Her Neighbors” (1898).
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1904
Hugo Gernsback (1884-1967), budding inventor and writer, moved to the US, where he patented a new kind of electrical battery.
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1904
1911
Leonard Sidney Woolf (1880-1969) served in the Ceylon Civil Service. He later authored “The Village in the Jungle,” a novel based on his time in Sri Lanka. In 2006 Victoria Glendinning authored “Leonard Woolf: A Life.”
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1904
Ida Tarbell (1857-1944), journalist, published the 2-volume "History of the Standard Oil Company." It revealed the illegal means used by John D. Rockefeller to gain a monopoly and control oil prices and began as a series in McClure's Magazine in 1902. This led to a federal investigation and the 1911 order by the Supreme Court for the breakup of Standard Oil.
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1904
Jack London (1876-1916) authored “Sea Wolf,” a thrilling epic of a sea voyage and a complex novel of ideas.
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1904
British writer Hector Hugh Munro, aka Saki (1870-1916), authored his short story “Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman Who Told the Truth.”
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1905 Feb 2
Ayn Rand (d.1982), writer and social philosopher (Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead), was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, as Alisa Rosenbaum. Her work espoused the political-economic philosophy of Objectivism, capitalism and what she called "rational selfishness." She graduated from the University of Leningrad in 1924 and moved to the United States in 1926, becoming a citizen in 1931. In Objectivism, the individual alone and his acts of self-interest are seen as the positive driving force of society. Rand rejected ideologies of altruism and self-sacrifice. Her novels "Fountainhead" (1943) and "Atlas Shrugged" (1957) and a number of non-fiction works brought wide recognition to her and her theories. Rand founded the journal The Objectivist in 1962. She died in 1982. "Upper classes are a nation’s past; the middle class is its future." "So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of money?"
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1905 Mar 24
Jules Verne (b.1828), French sci-fi author (Around the World in 80 Days), died in Amiens.
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1905 Jul 1
John Hay (b.1838), American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, died in New Hampshire. He served as Lincoln's secretary from 1861 until 1864. In 2013 John Taliaferro authored “All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt.”
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1905 Sep 5
Arthur Koestler (d.1983), Hungarian novelist and essayist, was born. He wrote about communism in “Darkness at Noon” (1941) and “The Ghost in the Machine.”
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1905
H.G. Wells (1866-1946) authored his novel “Kipps,” the story of an oppressed draper’s apprentice and his rise under the English class system.
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1905
Edith Wharton authored her 2nd novel "The House of Mirth," in which Lily Bart attempts to monetize her beauty and gambles on Wall Street.
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1906 Jan 8
Upton Sinclair signed a contract with Doubleday Page, which published "The Jungle." The hero was a newlywed Lithuanian immigrant who found work in a Chicago meatpacking plant. The novel that exposed the intolerable working conditions in the Chicago slaughterhouses. Early chapters were published serially in Appeal to Reason, a Midwestern socialist newspaper.
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1906
Felix Salten (1869-1945), Austrian writer, authored the novel “Josephine Mutzenbacher,” the fictional autobiography of a Vienna prostitute, a notorious pornographic novel. In 1923 he authored “Bambi.”
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1906
Jack London (1876-1916) authored his novella “Before Adam,” in which he envisioned 3 distinct hominids living in the mid-Pleistocene.
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1907 May 13
Daphne du Maurier (d.1989), author (Rebecca), was born in England.
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1907
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) authored her novella "Madame de Treymes."
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1907
P.M.B. Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949), Belgian playwright and essayist, authored “The Intelligence of Flowers.”
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1907
Harold Bell Wright (1872-1944), who had traveled to the Ozarks for his health, published his novel “The Shepherd of the Hills.” In 1960 performances of a stage version began at the Old Mill Theatre in Branson, Missouri. During the first quarter of the twentieth century the novels of Wright outsold every other American writer.
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1907
H.G. Wells (1866-1946) authored “The War in the Air.” It was serialized and published in 1908. It is notable for its prophetic ideas, images, and concepts, such as the use of the airplane for the purpose of warfare and the coming of World War I.
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1908 Sep 29
Joaquin Maria Machado de Assis, Brazilian writer, died. Widely regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature, he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime.
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