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History of English Literature

  • 731

    The Venerable Bede

    The Venerable Bede
    The Venerable Bede, in his monastery at Jarrow, completes his history of the English church and people. Bede (672/673 – 26 May 735), also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede, was an English monk in Northeast England, in the Kingdom of Northumbria. He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) gained him the title “The Father of English History”.
  • 800

    Beowulf

    Beowulf
    Beowulf, the first great work of Germanic literature, mingles the legends of Scandinavia with the experience in England of Angles and Saxons. It is the highest achievement of Old English literature and the earliest European vernacular epic. It deals with events of the early 6th century and is believed to have been composed between 700 and 750.
  • 950

    The material of the Eddas.

    The material of the Eddas.
    The material of the Eddas, taking shape in Iceland, derives from earlier sources in Norway, Britain and Burgundy. Edda, body of ancient Icelandic literature contained in two 13th-century books commonly distinguished as the Prose, or Younger, Edda and the Poetic, or Elder, Edda. It is the fullest and most detailed source for modern knowledge of Germanic mythology.
  • 1300

    Duns Scotus.

    Duns Scotus.
    Duns Scotus, known as the Subtle Doctor in medieval times, later provides humanists with the name Dunsman or dunce.
  • 1340

    William of Ockham.

    William of Ockham.
    William of Ockham advocates paring down arguments to their essentials, an approach later known as Ockham's Razor. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the 14th century.
  • 1367

    Piers Plowman

    Piers Plowman
    A narrator who calls himself Will, and whose name may be Langland, begins the epic poem of Piers Plowman. Piers Plowman is the greatest poem of the Middle English Alliterative Revival. Langland (perhaps c. 1330-c. 1386) writes passionately about social justice and religious integrity, weaving into the dream of a weary wanderer the whole of humanity's struggle against sin.
  • 1367

    Geoffrey Chaucer.

    Geoffrey Chaucer.
    One of four new yeomen of the chamber in Edward III's household is Geoffrey Chaucer. English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the unfinished work, The Canterbury Tales. It is considered one of the greatest poetic works in English.
  • 1375

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    The courtly poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight tells of a mysterious visitor to the round table of King Arthur. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' is one of the most famous romances in medieval English literature. It tells of the adventures of Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's Round Table. The story of Gawain's struggle to meet the appointment, and his adventures along the way, demonstrate the spirit of chivalry and loyalty that played a central part in English culture.
  • 1385

    Troilus and Criseyde.

     Troilus and Criseyde.
    Chaucer completes Troilus and Criseyde, his long poem about a legendary love affair in ancient Troy. It is made of 5 books:
  • Period: 1387 to 1400

    Canterbury Tales.

    Chaucer begins an ambitious scheme for 100 Canterbury Tales, of which he completes only 24 by the time of his death. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories written between 1387–1400, mainly in verse, in English. The tales are presented as contributions to a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket.
  • 1469

    Thomas Malory.

    Thomas Malory.
    Thomas Malory, in gaol somewhere in England, compiles Morte d'Arthur – an English account of the French tales of King Arthur. It is a reworking of existing tales by Sir Thomas Malory about the legendary King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin, and the Knights of the Round Table. Le Morte d'Arthur was first published in 1485 by William Caxton, and is today one of the best-known works of Arthurian literature in English.
  • Period: 1494 to 1536

    William Tyndale.

    William Tyndale studies in the university at Wittenberg and plans to translate the Bible into English. After church authorities in England prevented him from translating the Bible there, he went to Germany in 1524, receiving financial support from wealthy London merchants. His New Testament translation was completed in July 1525 and printed at Cologne and, when Catholic authorities suppressed it, at Worms. The first copies reached England in 1526.
  • 1510

    Humanism.

     Humanism.
    Erasmus and Thomas More take the northern Renaissance in the direction of Christian humanism. Erasmus lived against the backdrop of the growing European religious Reformation. While he was critical of the abuses within the Catholic Church and called for reform,
  • 1549

    Book of Common Prayer.

    Book of Common Prayer.
    The first version of the English prayer book, or Book of Common Prayer, is published with text by Thomas Cranmer.
  • 1564

    Marlowe and Shakespeare.

    Marlowe and Shakespeare.
    Marlowe and Shakespeare are born in the same year, with Marlowe the older by two months.
  • Period: 1564 to

    William Shakespeare.

    The 18-year-old William Shakespeare marries Anne Hathaway in Stratford-upon-Avon.He was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.
  • 1567

    Common Prayer and the New Testament.

    Common Prayer and the New Testament.
    The Book of Common Prayer and the New Testament are published in Welsh, to be followed by the complete Bible in 1588.
  • Marlowe's first play.

    Marlowe's first play.
    Marlowe's first play, Tamburlaine the Great, introduces the swaggering blank verse of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama
  • Edmund Spenser

    Edmund Spenser
    English poet Edmund Spenser celebrates the Protestant Elizabeth I as The Faerie Queene
  • Shakespeare first masterpiece.

    Shakespeare first masterpiece.
    After tentative beginnings in the three parts of Henry VI, Shakespeare achieves his first masterpiece on stage with Richard III.
  • Hamlet.

     Hamlet.
    Shakespeare's central character in Hamlet expresses both the ideals of the Renaissance and the disillusion of a less confident age.
  • The Authorized version of the Bible

     The Authorized version of the Bible
    James I commissions the Authorized version of the Bible, which is completed by forty-seven scholars in seven years.
  • List of the King's Men.

    List of the King's Men.
    William Shakespeare's name appears among the actors in a list of the King's Men
  • The Masque of Blackness.

    The Masque of Blackness.
    Ben Jonson writes The Masque of Blackness, the first of his many masques for the court of James I.
  • Volpone.

    Volpone.
    The satirical voice of the English playwright Ben Jonson is heard to powerful effect in Volpone. The plot concerns a wealthy, lecherous old man who feigns a mortal illness in order to solicit bribes from greedy acquaintances who hope to inherit his fortune.
  • Shakespeare's sonnets.

    Shakespeare's sonnets.
    Shakespeare's sonnets, written ten years previously, are published.
  • The Tempest.

    The Tempest.
    Shakespeare's last completed play, The Tempest, is performed
  • A Description of New England.

     A Description of New England.
    John Smith publishes A Description of New England, an account of his exploration of the region in 1614.
  • William Shakespeare dies.

    William Shakespeare dies.
    William Shakespeare dies at New Place, his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, and is buried in Holy Trinity Church.
  • John Donne

    John Donne
    John Donne, England's leading Metaphysical poet, becomes dean of St Paul's
  • Thirty-six Shakespeare plays.

     Thirty-six Shakespeare plays.
    John Heminge and Henry Condell publish thirty-six Shakespeare plays in the First Folio.
  • The Temple.

    The Temple.
    George Herbert's only volume of poems, The Temple, is published posthumously.
  • John Milton's Lycidas.

    John Milton's Lycidas.
    John Milton's Lycidas is published in memory of a Cambridge friend, Edward King.
  • The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America.

    The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America.
    The poems of Massachusetts author Anne Bradstreet are published in London under the title The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America.
  • The Compleat Angler.

    The Compleat Angler.
    Devoted fisherman Izaak Walton publishes the classic work on the subject, The Compleat Angler.
  • Samuel Pepys.

    Samuel Pepys.
    On the first day of the new year Samuel Pepys gets up late, eats the remains of the turkey and begins his diary.
  • Paradise Lost.

    Paradise Lost.
    Paradise Lost is published, earning its author John Milton just £10
  • Samuel Pepys ends his diary.

    Samuel Pepys ends his diary.
    Samuel Pepys ends his diary, after only writing it for nine years.
  • Part I of The Pilgrim's Progress.

    Part I of The Pilgrim's Progress.
    Part I of The Pilgrim's Progress, written during John Bunyan's two spells in Bedford Gaol, is published and is immediately popular.
  • Novel Oroonoko.

    Novel Oroonoko.
    Aphra Behn's novel Oroonoko makes an early protest against the inhumanity of the African slave trade.
  • Human Understanding.

     Human Understanding.
    John Locke publishes his Essay concerning Human Understanding, arguing that all knowledge is based on experience.
  • The Augustan Age.

    The Augustan Age.
    The Augustan Age begins in English literature, claiming comparison with the equivalent flowering under Augustus Caesar.
  • The Tatler.

    The Tatler.
    The Tatler launches a new style of journalism in Britain's coffee houses, followed two years later by the Spectator.
  • George Berkeley.

    George Berkeley.
    25-year-old George Berkeley attacks Locke in his Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.
  • Alexander Pope's Rape.

    Alexander Pope's Rape.
    Alexander Pope's Rape of the Lock introduces a delicate vein of mock-heroic in English poetry.
  • Robinson Crusoe.

    Robinson Crusoe.
    Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, with its detailed realism, can be seen as the first English novel.
  • Gulliver's Travels.

    Gulliver's Travels.
    Jonathan Swift sends his hero on a series of bitterly satirical travels in Gulliver's Travels.
  • Treatise of Human Nature.

    Treatise of Human Nature.
    David Hume publishes his Treatise of Human Nature, in which he applies to the human mind the principles of experimental science.
  • Samuel Richardson's Clarissa.

    Samuel Richardson's Clarissa.
    Samuel Richardson's Clarissa begins the correspondence that grows into the longest novel in the English language.
  • Henry Fielding

    Henry Fielding
    Henry Fielding introduces a character of lasting appeal in the lusty but good-hearted Tom Jones.
  • Elegy written in a Country Church Yard.

     Elegy written in a Country Church Yard.
    English poet Thomas Gray publishes his Elegy written in a Country Church Yard.
  • James Woodforde.

    James Woodforde.
    James Woodforde, an English country parson with a love of food and wine, begins a detailed diary of everyday life.
  • Tristram Shandy.

    Tristram Shandy.
    Laurence Sterne publishes the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy, beginning with the scene at the hero's conception.
  • Fingal.

    Fingal.
    Fingal, supposedly by the medieval poet Ossian, is a forgery in the spirit of the times by James MacPherson.
  • James Boswell meets Samuel Johnson.

    James Boswell meets Samuel Johnson.
    James Boswell meets Samuel Johnson for the first time, in the London bookshop of Thomas Davies.
  • Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

    Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    English historian Edward Gibbon, sitting among ruins in Rome, conceives the idea of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Castle of Otranto.

    Castle of Otranto.
    English author Horace Walpole provides an early taste of Gothic thrills in his novel Castle of Otranto.
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica.
    A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland begins publication of the immensely successful Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  • Thomas Chatterton.

    Thomas Chatterton.
    17-year-old Thomas Chatterton, later hailed as a significant poet, commits suicide in a London garret.
  • She Stoops to Conquer.

     She Stoops to Conquer.
    Oliver Goldsmith's play She Stoops to Conquer is produced in London's Covent Garden theatre.
  • Samuel Johnson and James Boswell.

    Samuel Johnson and James Boswell.
    Samuel Johnson and James Boswell undertake a journey together to the western islands of Scotland.
  • Thomas Paine.

    Thomas Paine.
    Encouraged by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine emigrates to America and settles in Philadelphia.
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    English historian Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Wealth of Nations.

     Wealth of Nations.
    Scottish economist Adam Smith analyzes the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations.
  • The School for Scandal.

    The School for Scandal.
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan's second play, The School for Scandal, is an immediate success in London's Drury Lane theatre.
  • Songs of Innocence.

     Songs of Innocence.
    William Blake publishes Songs of Innocence, a volume of his poems with every page etched and illustrated by himself.
  • Jeremy Bentham.

    Jeremy Bentham.
    In his Principles Jeremy Bentham defines 'utility' as that which enhances pleasure and reduces pain.
  • Reflections on the Revolution in France.

    Reflections on the Revolution in France.
    Anglo-Irish politician Edmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France, a blistering attack on recent events across the Channe.
  • Tam o' Shanter.

     Tam o' Shanter.
    Scottish poet Robert Burns publishes Tam o' Shanter, in which a drunken farmer has an alarming encounter with witches.
  • The Rights of Man.

    The Rights of Man.
    Thomas Paine publishes the first part of The Rights of Man, his reply to Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
    English author Mary Wollstonecraft publishes a passionately feminist work, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Thomas Paine moves hurriedly to France.

    Thomas Paine moves hurriedly to France.
    Thomas Paine moves hurriedly to France, to escape a charge of treason in England for opinions expressed in his Rights of Man.
  • 'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright'

    'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright'
    William Blake's volume Songs of Innocence and Experience includes his poem 'Tyger! Tyger! burning bright'
  • Age of Reason.

    Age of Reason.
    Thomas Paine publishes his completed Age of Reason, an attack on conventional Christianit.
  • Period: to

    John Keats dies

    English poet John Keats dies in Rome at the age of twenty-five.
  • Kubla Khan.

     Kubla Khan.
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge says that while writing Kubla Khan he is interrupted by 'a person on business from Porlock'-
  • Lyrical Ballads.

    Lyrical Ballads.
    English poets Wordsworth and Coleridge jointly publish Lyrical Ballads, a milestone in the Romantic movement.
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' is published in Lyrical Ballads.
  • Jerusalem.

    Jerusalem.
    William Blake includes his poem 'Jerusalem' in the Preface to his book Milton
  • The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

     The Lay of the Last Minstrel.
    Walter Scott publishes The Lay of the Last Minstrel, the long romantic poem that first brings him fame.
  • Lady of the Lake.

    Lady of the Lake.
    Walter Scott's poem Lady of the Lake brings tourists in unprecedented numbers to Scotland's Loch Katrine.
  • The Necessity of Atheism.

    The Necessity of Atheism.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from Oxford university for circulating a pamphlet with the title The Necessity of Atheism.
  • Sense and Sensibility.

    Sense and Sensibility.
    English author Jane Austen publishes her first work in print, Sense and Sensibility, at her own expense.
  • The first two cantos.

    The first two cantos.
    The first two cantos are published of Byron's largely autobiographical poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, bringing him immediate fame.
  • Pride and Prejudice.

    Pride and Prejudice.
    Pride and Prejudice, based on a youthful work of 1797 called First Impressions, is the second of Jane Austen's novels to be published.
  • Ozymandias.

    Ozymandias.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes probably his best-known poem, the sonnet Ozymandias.
  • Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

     Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
    Two of Jane Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are published in the year after her death.
  • Modern Prometheus.

    Modern Prometheus.
    Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, a Gothic tale about giving life to an artificial man.
  • Thomas Paine dies.

    Thomas Paine dies.
    William Cobbett brings back to England the bones of Thomas Paine, who died in the USA in 1809.
  • Don Juan.

     Don Juan.
    Byron begins publication in parts of his longest poem, Don Juan an epic satirical comment on contemporary life.
  • Ivanhoe.

     Ivanhoe.
    Walter Scott publishes Ivanhoe, a tale of love, tournaments and sieges at the time of the crusades.
  • Ode to a Nightingale.

     Ode to a Nightingale.
    English poet John Keats publishes Ode to a Nightingale, inspired by the bird's song in his Hampstead garden.
  • Ode to the West Wind.

    Ode to the West Wind.
    English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley publishes Ode to the West Wind, written mainly in a wood near Florence.
  • Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

    Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.
    English author Thomas De Quincey publishes his autobiographical Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.
  • Rural Rides.

    Rural Rides.
    English radical William Cobbett begins his journeys round England, published in 1830 as Rural Rides.
  • Table Talk.

     Table Talk.
    English author William Hazlitt publishes Table Talk, a two-volume collection that includes most of his best-known essays.
  • Charles Dickens.

    Charles Dickens.
    12-year-old Charles Dickens works in London in Warren's boot-blacking factory
  • Domestic Manners of the Americans.

    Domestic Manners of the Americans.
    English author Frances Trollope ruffles transatlantic feathers with her Domestic Manners of the Americans, based on a 3-year stay.
  • Pickwick Papers.

     Pickwick Papers.
    24-year-old Charles Dickens begins monthly publication of his first work of fiction, Pickwick Papers (published in book form in 1837).
  • Oliver Twist.

     Oliver Twist.
    Charles Dickens' first novel, Oliver Twist, begins monthly publication (in book form, 1838).
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

    The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
    English poet Robert Browning publishes a vivid narrative poem about the terrible revenge of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.
  • Lays of Ancient Rome.

    Lays of Ancient Rome.
    English author Thomas Babington Macaulay publishes a collection of stirring ballads, Lays of Ancient Rome.
  • A Christmas Carol.

    A Christmas Carol.
    Ebenezer Scrooge mends his ways just in time in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
  • Conings.

    Conings.
    In his novel Conings by Benjamin Disraeli develops the theme of Conservatism uniting 'two nations', the rich and the poor.
  • The Condition of the Working Class in England.

    The Condition of the Working Class in England.
    Friedrich Engels, after running a textile factory in Manchester, publishes The Condition of the Working Class in England.
  • Nonsense.

    Nonsense.
    Edward Lear publishes his Book of Nonsense, consisting of limericks illustrated with his own cartoons.
  • Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett.

    Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett.
    After marrying secretly, the English poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett go abroad to live in Florence.
  • Brontë sisters.

    Brontë sisters.
    The three Brontë sisters jointly publish a volume of their poems and sell just two copies
  • Vanity Fair.

    Vanity Fair.
    English author William Makepeace Thackeray begins publication of his novel Vanity Fair in monthly parts (book form 1848).
  • Jane Eyre.

    Jane Eyre.
    Charlotte becomes the first of the Brontë sisters to have a novel published — Jane Eyre.
  • Wuthering Heights.

     Wuthering Heights.
    Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights follows just two months after her sister Charlotte's Jane Eyre.
  • Branwell, Emily and Anne die

    Branwell, Emily and Anne die
    Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë die within a period of eight months.
  • David Copperfield.

     David Copperfield.
    Charles Dickens begins the publication in monthly numbers of David Copperfield, his own favorite among his novels.
  • In Memoriam.

    In Memoriam.
    Alfred Tennyson's elegy for a friend, In Memoriam, captures perfectly the Victorian mood of heightened sensibility.
  • Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.

    Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.
    London physician Peter Mark Roget publishes his dictionary of synonyms, the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.
  • Charge of the Light Brigade.

    Charge of the Light Brigade.
    Within six weeks of the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea, Tennyson publishes a poem finding heroism in the disaster.
  • Maud.

     Maud.
    Tennyson publishes a long narrative poem, Maud, a section of which ('Come into the garden, Maud') becomes famous as a song.
  • The Warden.

    The Warden.
    English author Anthony Trollope publishes The Warden, the first in his series of six Barsetshire novels.
  • On the Origin of Species.

    On the Origin of Species.
    Charles Darwin puts forward the theory of evolution in On the Origin of Species, the result of 20 years' research.
  • On Liberty.

    On Liberty.
    In On Liberty John Stuart Mill makes the classic liberal case for the priority of the freedom of the individual.
  • Self-Help.

    Self-Help.
    Samuel Smiles provides an inspiring ideal of Victorian enterprise in Self-Help, a manual for ambitious young men.
  • Idylls of the King.

    Idylls of the King.
    Tennyson publishes the first part of Idylls of the King, a series of linked poems about Britain's mythical king Arthur.
  • A Tale of Two Cities.

    A Tale of Two Cities.
    Charles Dickens publishes his French Revolution novel, A Tale of Two Cities.
  • The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

     The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.
    Edward FitzGerald publishes The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, romantic translations of the work of the Persian poet.
  • Adam Bede.

    Adam Bede.
    English author George Eliot wins fame with her first full-length novel, Adam Bede.
  • Great Expectations.

    Great Expectations.
    Charles Dickens begins serial publication of his novel "Great Expectations" (in book form 1861).
  • The Mill on the Floss.

    The Mill on the Floss.
    George Eliot publishes The Mill on the Floss, her novel about the childhood of Maggie and Tom Tullive.
  • East Lynne.

     East Lynne.
    Mrs Henry Wood publishes her first novel, East Lynne, which becomes the basis of the most popular of all Victorian melodramas.
  • Lewis Carroll.

    Lewis Carroll.
    Oxford mathematician Lewis Carroll tells 10-year-old Alice Liddell, on a boat trip, a story about her own adventures in Wonderland.
  • The Water-Babies.

    The Water-Babies.
    English author Charles Kingsley publishes an improving fantasy for young children, The Water-Babies.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

     Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, a development of the story he had told Alice Liddell three years earlier.
  • Poems and Ballads.

     Poems and Ballads.
    Algernon Swinburne scandalizes Victorian Britain with his first collection, Poems and Ballads.
  • Das Kapital.

    Das Kapital.
    The first volume of Das Kapital is completed by Marx in London and is published in Hamburg.
  • Culture and Anarchy.

     Culture and Anarchy.
    English author Matthew Arnold publishes Culture and Anarchy, an influential collection of essays about contemporary society.
  • Middlemarch.

    Middlemarch.
    George Eliot publishes Middlemarch, in which Dorothea makes a disastrous marriage to the pedantic Edward Casaubon.
  • Through the Looking Glass

     Through the Looking Glass
    Lewis Carroll publishes Through the Looking Glass, a second story of Alice's adventures.
  • Far from the Madding Crowd.

     Far from the Madding Crowd.
    English author Thomas Hardy has his first success with his novel Far from the Madding Crowd.
  • Roderick Hudson.

     Roderick Hudson.
    Henry James's early novel Roderick Hudson is serialized in the Atlantic Monthly and is published in book form in 1876.
  • Bulgarian Horrors.

     Bulgarian Horrors.
    William Gladstone's pamphlet Bulgarian Horrors, protesting at massacre by the Turks, sells 200,000 copies within a month.
  • Sprung rhythm.

    Sprung rhythm.
    English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins develops a new verse form that he calls 'sprung rhythm'.
  • The Hunting of the Snark.

    The Hunting of the Snark.
    Lewis Carroll publishes The Hunting of the Snark, a poem about a voyage in search of an elusive mythical creature.
  • Joseph Conrad.

     Joseph Conrad.
    21-year-old Joseph Conrad, a Polish subject, goes to sea with the British merchant navy.
  • Daisy Miller.

    Daisy Miller.
    Henry James's story Daisy Miller, about an American girl abroad, brings him a new readership.
  • The Aesthetic Movement.

    The Aesthetic Movement.
    The Aesthetic Movement and 'art for art's sake', attitudes personified above all by Whistler and Wilde, are widely mocked and satirized in Britain.
  • Treasure Island.

     Treasure Island.
    Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure story, Treasure Island, features Long John Silver and Ben Gunn.
  • New English Dictionary.

    New English Dictionary.
    Oxford University Press publishes the A volume of its New English Dictionary, which will take 37 years to reach Z.
  • The Arabian Nights.

    The Arabian Nights.
    Explorer and orientalist Richard Burton begins publication of his multi-volume translation from the Arabic of The Arabian Nights.
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

    The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
    Robert Louis Stevenson introduces a dual personality in his novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge.

    The Mayor of Casterbridge.
    Thomas Hardy publishes his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, which begins with the future mayor, Michael Henchard selling his wife and child at a fair.
  • A Study in Scarlet.

    A Study in Scarlet.
    Sherlock Holmes features in Conan Doyle's first novel, A Study in Scarlet.
  • The Wanderings of Oisin.

    The Wanderings of Oisin.
    23-year-old Irish author William Butler Yeats publishes his first volume of poems, The Wanderings of Oisin.
  • Essays in Socialisman.

     Essays in Socialisman.
    The Fabian Society publishes Essays in Socialisman influential volume of essays edited by Bernard Shaw.
  • The Golden Bough.

    The Golden Bough.
    Scottish anthropologist James Frazer publishes The Golden Bough, a massive compilation of contemporary knowledge about ritual and religious custom.
  • The Young Visiters.

    The Young Visiters.
    9-year-old Daisy Ashford imagines an adult romance and high society in The Young Visiters.
  • Gaelic pressure group.

     Gaelic pressure group.
    A Gaelic pressure group, the Highland Association, is founded to preserve the indigenous poetry and music of Scotland.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray.
    Oscar Wilde publishes his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray in which the ever-youthful hero's portrait grows old and ugly.
  • Tess of the Durbervilles.

     Tess of the Durbervilles.
    Thomas Hardy publishes his novel Tess of the Durbervilles, with a dramatic finale at Stonehenge.
  • Lady Windermere's Fan.

    Lady Windermere's Fan.
    Oscar Wilde's comedy Lady Windermere's Fan is a great success with audiences in London's St. James Theatre.
  • National Literary Society.

    National Literary Society.
    W.B. Yeats founds the National Literary Society in Dublin, with Douglas Hyde as its first president.
  • The Countess Cathleen.

    The Countess Cathleen.
    W.B. Yeats publishes a short play The Countess Cathleen, his first contribution to Irish poetic drama.
  • Widowers' Houses.

    Widowers' Houses.
    Bernard Shaw's first play, Widowers' Houses, deals with the serious social problem of slum landlords.
  • The Diary of a Nobody.

    The Diary of a Nobody.
    Mr Pooter is the suburban anti-hero of the The Diary of a Nobody, by George and Weedon Grossmith.
  • Trilby.

    Trilby.
    French-born artist and author George du Maurier publishes his novel Trilby.
  • The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book
    Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book surrounds the child Mowgli with a collection of vivid animal guardians.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest.

    The Importance of Being Earnest.
    Oscar Wilde's most brilliant comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest is performed in London's St. James Theatre.
  • Oscar Wilde.

    Oscar Wilde.
    Oscar Wilde loses a libel case that he has brought against the marquess of Queensberry for describing him as a sodomite. Also, Oscar Wilde loses a libel case that he has brought against the marquess of Queensberry for describing him as a sodomite
  • The Time Machine.

     The Time Machine.
    H.G. Wells publishes The Time Machine, a story about a Time Traveller whose first stop on his journey is the year 802701.
  • A Shropshire Lad.

    A Shropshire Lad.
    English poet A.E. Housman publishes his first collection, A Shropshire Lad.
  • Liza of Lambeth.

     Liza of Lambeth.
    Somerset Maugham publishes his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, based on the London life he has observed as a medical student.
  • Dracula.

    Dracula.
    English author Bram Stoker publishes Dracula, his gothic tale of vampirism in Transylvania.
  • The War of the Worlds.

    The War of the Worlds.
    H.G. Wells publishes his science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds, in which Martians arrive in a rocket to invade earth
  • The Turn of the Screw.

    The Turn of the Screw.
    Henry James publishes The Turn of the Screw in a collection of short stories.
  • The Story of the Treasure Seekers.

    The Story of the Treasure Seekers.
    E. Nesbit publishes The Story of the Treasure Seekers, introducing the Bastable family who feature in several of her books for children
  • Lord Jim.

    Lord Jim.
    Joseph Conrad publishes his novel Lord Jim about a life of failure and redemption in the far East.
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
    Beatrix Potter publishes at her own expense The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
  • Novel Kim.

    Novel Kim.
    Rudyard Kipling's experiences of India are put to good use in his novel Kim.
  • Stories for Little Children.

    Stories for Little Children.
    Rudyard Kipling publishes his Just So Stories for Little Children.
  • Cathleen ni Houlihan.

    Cathleen ni Houlihan.
    The play Cathleen ni Houlihan, by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, fosters Irish nationalism.
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit

    The Tale of Peter Rabbit
    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is published commercially, a year after being first printed by Beatrix Potter at her own expense.
  • Sea Fever.

     Sea Fever.
    John Masefield's poem 'Sea Fever' is published in Salt-Water Ballads.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles

     The Hound of the Baskervilles
    Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles begins publication in serial form.
  • The Wings of the Dove.

    The Wings of the Dove.
    Henry James publishes the first of his three last novels, The Wings of the Dove.
  • Heart of Darkness.

    Heart of Darkness.
    Joseph Conrad publishes a collection of stories including Heart of Darkness, a sinister tale based partly on his own journey up the Congo
  • The Riddle of the Sands.

     The Riddle of the Sands.
    Erskine Childers has a best-seller in The Riddle of the Sands, a thriller about a planned German invasion of Britain.
  • The Ambassadors.

    The Ambassadors.
    Henry James publishes The Ambassadors, the second of his three last novels written in rapid succession.
  • Principia Ethica.

     Principia Ethica.
    British philosopher G.E. Moore publishes Principia Ethica, an attempt to apply logic to ethics.
  • Nostromo.

     Nostromo.
    Joseph Conrad publishes his novel Nostromo, about a revolution in South America and a fatal horde of silver.
  • The Golden Bowl.

    The Golden Bowl.
    Henry James publishes his last completed novel, The Golden Bowl.
  • Peter Pan.

    Peter Pan.
    J.M Barrie's play for children Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up has its premiere in London.
  • Reginald.

     Reginald.
    Under the pseudonym Saki, H.H. Munro publishes Reginald, his first volume of short stories.
  • Oscar Wilde's De Profundis.

    Oscar Wilde's De Profundis.
    Oscar Wilde's De Profundis, a letter of recrimination written in Reading Gaol to Lord Alfred Douglas, is published posthumously.
  • The story of a simple soul.

    The story of a simple soul.
    H.G. Wells publishes Kipps: the story of a simple soul, a comic novel about a bumbling draper's assistant.
  • Major Barbara and Man and Superman.

    Major Barbara and Man and Superman.
    Bernard Shaw has two new plays opening in London in the same year, Major Barbara and Man and Superman.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel.

    The Scarlet Pimpernel.
    Sir Percy Blakeney rescues aristocrats from the guillotine in Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.
  • Everyman's Library

    Everyman's Library
    The first volume of the inexpensive Everyman's Library is issued by Joseph Dent, a London publisher.
  • The Railway Children

     The Railway Children
    E. Nesbit publishes The Railway Children, the most successful of her books featuring the Bastable family.
  • The Man of Property.

    The Man of Property.
    John Galsworthy publishes The Man of Property, the first of his novels chronicling the family of Soames Forsyte.
  • Synge's Playboy of the Western World.

    Synge's Playboy of the Western World.
    J.M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World provokes violent reactions at its Dublin premiere.
  • Father and Son.

    Father and Son.
    Edmund Gosse publishes Father and Son, an account of his difficult relationship with his fundamentalist father, Philip Gosse.
  • Dubliners.

     Dubliners.
    James Joyce completes the 15 short stories eventually published in 1914 as Dubliners.
  • The Wind in the Willows.

    The Wind in the Willows.
    Rat, Mole and Toad, in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, appeal to a wide readership.
  • The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.

     The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp.
    The Welsh poet W.H. Davies has a success with The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, his account of life on the road and in dosshouses.
  • Ann Veronica.

     Ann Veronica.
    The heroine of H.G. Wells' novel Ann Veronica is a determined example of the New Woman.
  • Cargoes.

    Cargoes.
    In his poem Cargoes John Masefield compares a 'dirty British coaster' with two romantic boats from the past.
  • Prester John.

    Prester John.
    John Buchan publishes Prester John, the first of his adventure storie
  • The History of Mr Polly.

    The History of Mr Polly.
    H.G. Wells publishes The History of Mr Polly, a novel about an escape from drab everyday existence.
  • Rudyard Kipling published If.

    Rudyard Kipling published If.
    Rudyard Kipling publishes If, which rapidly becomes his most popular poem among the British.
  • Howard's End.

    Howard's End.
    E.M. Forster publishes Howard's End, his novel about the Schlegel sisters and the Wilcox family.
  • The White Peacock.

    The White Peacock.
    D.H. Lawrence's career as a writer is launched with the publication of his first novel, The White Peacock.
  • Poems.

    Poems.
    Rupert Brooke publishes Poems, the only collection to appear before his early death in World War I.
  • The Innocence of Father Brown.

    The Innocence of Father Brown.
    G.K. Chesterton's clerical detective makes his first appearance in The Innocence of Father Brown.
  • Katherine Mansfield's first collection of stories.

     Katherine Mansfield's first collection of stories.
    In a German Pension is New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield's first collection of stories.
  • Zuleika Dobson.

     Zuleika Dobson.
    Max Beerbohm publishes his novel Zuleika Dobson, in which the beauty of his heroine causes havoc among the students at Oxford.
  • The Listeners.

    The Listeners.
    Walter De la Mare establishes his reputation with the title poem of his collection The Listeners.
  • New Statesman.

    New Statesman.
    The first issue of the New Statesman is published by Beatrice and Sidney Webb.
  • Sinister Street.

    Sinister Street.
    Compton Mackenzie publishes the first volume of his autobiographical novel Sinister Street.
  • Principia Mathematica.

    Principia Mathematica.
    Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell complete a work of mathematical logic, Principia Mathematica.
  • Sons and Lovers.

    Sons and Lovers.
    D.H. Lawrence publishes a semi-autobiographical novel about the Morel family, Sons and Lovers.
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

     Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
    James Joyce's novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man begins serial publication in a London journal, The Egoist.
  • A collection of short stories.

    A collection of short stories.
    After years of delay James Joyce's Dubliners, a collection of short stories, is published.
  • The Times Literary Supplement.

    The Times Literary Supplement.
    The Times Literary Supplement is published in London as an independent paper, separate from The Times.
  • Ragged Trousered Philanthropists .

     Ragged Trousered Philanthropists .
    Robert Tressell's Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is published posthumously in an abbreviated version.
  • Human Bondage.

    Human Bondage.
    Somerset Maugham publishes his semi-autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage.
  • The Voyage Out.

    The Voyage Out.
    The English writer Virginia Woolf publishes her first novel, The Voyage Out.
  • The Rainbow.

     The Rainbow.
    D.H. Lawrence's novel about the Brangwen family, The Rainbow, is seized by the police as an obscene work.
  • Thirty-Nine Steps.

    Thirty-Nine Steps.
    Secret agent Richard Hannay makes his first appearance in John Buchan's Thirty-Nine Steps.
  • 1914 and Other Poems.

    1914 and Other Poems.
    Rupert Brooke's 1914 and Other Poems is published a few months after his death in Greece.
  • Over the Brazier.

     Over the Brazier.
    Robert Graves publishes his first book of poems, Over the Brazier.
  • The author H.H. Munro ('Saki') is killed.

    The author H.H. Munro ('Saki') is killed.
    The author H.H. Munro ('Saki') is killed by a sniper's bullet on a battlefield in France.
  • The Man with Two Left Feet.

    The Man with Two Left Feet.
    Jeeves and Bertie Wooster make their first appearance in P.G. Wodehouse's The Man with Two Left Feet.
  • Eminent Victorians.

    Eminent Victorians.
    Lytton Strachey fails to show conventional respect to four famous Victorians in his influential volume of short biographies entitled Eminent Victorians.
  • The Return of the Soldier.

     The Return of the Soldier.
    Rebecca West publishes her first novel, The Return of the Soldier.
  • The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

     The Economic Consequences of the Peace.
    In The Economic Consequences of the Peace Maynard Keynes publishes a strong attack on the reparations demanded from Germany.
  • Bull-dog Drummond.

     Bull-dog Drummond.
    Sapper's patriotic hero makes his first appearance, taking on the villainous Carl Peterson in Bull-dog Drummond.
  • D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love.

    D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love.
    D.H. Lawrence's Women in Love, a continuation of the family story in The Rainbow, is published first in the USA.
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

    The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
    The Belgian detective Hercule Poirot features in Agatha Christie's first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
  • Trembling of a Leaf.

    Trembling of a Leaf.
    Somerset Maugham's short story 'Rain' (in his collection The Trembling of a Leaf) introduces the lively American prostitute Sadie Thompson.
  • Tractatus Logico Philosophicus.

     Tractatus Logico Philosophicus.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein publishes his influential study of the philosophy of logic, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus.
  • The Forsyte Saga.

    The Forsyte Saga.
    John Galsworthy publishes his novels about the Forsyte family as a joint collection under the title The Forsyte Saga.
  • The Waste Land.

     The Waste Land.
    American-born poet T.S. Eliot publishes The Waste Land, an extremely influential poem in five fragmented sections.
  • Dorothy Sayers' Whose Body?.

     Dorothy Sayers' Whose Body?.
    The gentleman detective Lord Peter Wimsey makes his first appearance in Dorothy Sayers' Whose Body?
  • Saint Joan.

     Saint Joan.
    Bernard Shaw's play Saint Joan has its world premiere in New York.
  • A Glastonbury Romance.

     A Glastonbury Romance.
    John Cowper Powys's novel A Glastonbury Romance is published first in New York.
  • A Passage to India.

     A Passage to India.
    E.M. Forster's novel A Passage to India builds on cultural misconceptions between the British and Indian communities.
  • Milne's When We Were Very Young.

    Milne's When We Were Very Young.
    Christopher Robin features for the first time in A.A. Milne's When We Were Very Young.
  • Pastors and Masters.

    Pastors and Masters.
    English writer Ivy Compton-Burnett finds her characteristic voice in her second novel, Pastors and Masters.
  • Mrs Dalloway.

    Mrs Dalloway.
    Virginia Woolf publishes her novel Mrs Dalloway, in which the action is limited to a single day.
  • The Preservation of Rural England.

    The Preservation of Rural England.
    Patrick Abercrombie publishes The Preservation of Rural England, calling for rural planning to prevent the encroachment of towns.
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

     Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
    T.E. Lawrence publishes privately his autobiographical Seven Pillars of Wisdom, describing his part in the Arab uprising.
  • Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh.

    Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh.
    Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the others make their first appearance in A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.

     A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.
    Hugh MacDiarmid writes his long poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle in a revived version of the Lallans dialect of the Scottish borders.
  • Tarka the Otter.

     Tarka the Otter.
    Henry Williamson wins a wide readership with Tarka the Otter, a realistic story of the life and death of an otter in Devon.
  • The Hotel.

    The Hotel.
    Anglo-Irish author Elizabeth Bowen publishes her first novel, The Hotel.
  • To The Lighthouse.

     To The Lighthouse.
    Virginia Woolf uses a Hebridean holiday as the setting for her narrative in To The Lighthouse.
  • Postures.

    Postures.
    Caribbean-born author Jean Rhys publishes her first novel, Postures, based on her affair with the writer Ford Madox Ford.
  • Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.

     Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.
    Siegfried Sassoon publishes Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, the first volume of a semi-autobiographical trilogy.
  • Journey's End.

     Journey's End.
    Set in a World War I trench, the play Journey's End reflects the wartime experiences of its British author, R.C. Sherriff.
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover.

     Lady Chatterley's Lover.
    D.H. Lawrence's new novel, in which Lady Chatterley is in love with her husband's gamekeeper, is privately printed in Florence.
  • Decline and Fall.

    Decline and Fall.
    Evelyn Waugh succeeds with a comic first novel, Decline and Fall.
  • The Well of loneliness

    The Well of loneliness
    Radclyffe Hall's novel The Well of Loneliness is the first to deal openly with a lesbian subject.
  • A High Wind in Jamaica.

     A High Wind in Jamaica.
    Richard Hughes publishes his first novel, A High Wind in Jamaica.
  • Blind Fireworks.

    Blind Fireworks.
    Blind Fireworks is Ulster writer Louis MacNeice's first collection of poems.
  • The Good Companions.

    The Good Companions.
    English author J.B. Priestley has an immediate success with his first novel, The Good Companions.
  • Goodbye to All That.

    Goodbye to All That.
    English poet Robert Graves puts behind him an England he dislikes in his autobiography, Goodbye to All That.
  • Poems.

    Poems.
    English author W.H. Auden's first collection of poetry is published with the simple title Poems.
  • Swallows and Amazons.

    Swallows and Amazons.
    Swallows and Amazons is the first of Arthur Ransome's adventure stories for children.
  • Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence.

    Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence.
    Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence star in the West End in Private Lives, Coward's comedy of marital complications.
  • Murder at the Vicarage.

    Murder at the Vicarage.
    Agatha Christie's Miss Marple makes her first appearance, in Murder at the Vicarage.
  • 1066 and all that.

    1066 and all that.
    A spoof history text book, 1066 and all that, is justifiably described by its authors, Walter Sellar and Robert Yeatman, as a Memorable History of England.
  • The Waves.

     The Waves.
    Virginia Woolf publishes the most fluid of her novels, The Waves, in which she tells the story through six interior monologues.
  • Conquistador.

    Conquistador.
    US poet Archibald MacLeish publishes a narrative epic, Conquistador, about the conquest of Mexico.
  • The Screwtape Letters.

    The Screwtape Letters.
    British author C.S. Lewis publishes a moral parable, The Screwtape Letters, about the problems confronting a trainee devil.
  • Brave New World.

     Brave New World.
    British author Aldous Huxley gives a bleak view of a science-based future in his novel Brave New World.
  • The Shape of Things to Come.

    The Shape of Things to Come.
    H.G. Wells publishes The Shape of Things to Come, a novel in which he accurately predicts a renewal of world war.
  • The Pylons.

    The Pylons.
    The Pylon group of British poets get their name from Stephen Spender's poem 'The Pylons'.
  • Frost in May.

    Frost in May.
    English author Antonia White publishes an autobiographical first novel, Frost in May.
  • Down and Out in Paris and London.

     Down and Out in Paris and London.
    In Down and Out in Paris and London English author George Orwell writes a sympathetic account of the people he meets on hard times.
  • I, Claudius.

     I, Claudius.
    In I, Claudius the autobiography of the Roman emperor is ghost-written by Robert Graves.
  • A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh.

     A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh.
    In A Handful of Dust Evelyn Waugh sends his hero Tony Last to a disastrous fate, far away in the Amazon rain forest.
  • Murder in the Cathedral.

    Murder in the Cathedral.
    T.S. Eliot's play Murder in the Cathedral has its first performance in Canterbury cathedral.
  • Penguin Books.

     Penguin Books.
    British publisher Allen Lane launches a paperback series to which he gives the name Penguin Books.
  • The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

     The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
    John Maynard Keynes defines his economics in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.
  • Logical Positivism.

    Logical Positivism.
    In Language, Truth and Logic 26-year-old A.J. Ayer produces a classic exposition of Logical Positivism.
  • French without Tears.

    French without Tears.
    Terence Rattigan's first play, French without Tears, is performed in London.
  • The Happy Return.

    The Happy Return.
    C.S. Forester's central character, Horatio Hornblower, features for the first time – in The Happy Return.
  • The Road to Wigan Pier.

    The Road to Wigan Pier.
    George Orwell reveals the harsh realities of contemporary British life in The Road to Wigan Pier.
  • Scoop.

    Scoop.
    British author Evelyn Waugh publishes a classic Fleet Street novel, Scoop, introducing Lord Copper, proprietor of The Beast.
  • Homage to Catalonia .

     Homage to Catalonia .
    In Homage to Catalonia George Orwell describes his experiences fighting for the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.
  • Brighton Rock.

    Brighton Rock.
    British author Graham Greene publishes Brighton Rock, a novel following 17-year-old Pinkie in the criminal underworld of the seaside town.
  • At Swim-Two-Birds.

    At Swim-Two-Birds.
    Irish author Flann O'Brien publishes his first novel, At Swim-Two-Birds.
  • Goodbye to Berlin.

    Goodbye to Berlin.
    British author Christopher Isherwood publishes his novel Goodbye to Berlin, based on his own experiences in the city.
  • Book of Practical Cats.

    Book of Practical Cats.
    T.S. Eliot gives cats a poetic character in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.
  • The Third Policeman.

    The Third Policeman.
    Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman is rejected by numerous publishers before becoming, decades later, his best-known novel.
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.

    Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.
    British author Rebecca West publishes an account of Yugoslavia, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.
  • Five in Five on a Treasure Island.

     Five in Five on a Treasure Island.
    English children's author Enid Blyton introduces the Famous Five in Five on a Treasure Island.
  • Eliot's Four Quartets.

    Eliot's Four Quartets.
    The separate poems forming T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets are brought together for the first time as a single volume, published in New York.
  • The Pursuit of Love.

    The Pursuit of Love.
    English author Nancy Mitford has her first success with the novel The Pursuit of Love.
  • Brideshead Revisited.

    Brideshead Revisited.
    Evelyn Waugh publishes Brideshead Revisited, a novel about a rich Catholic family in England between the wars.
  • Animal Farm.

    Animal Farm.
    In George Orwell's fable Animal Farm a ruthless pig, Napoleon, controls the farmyard using the techniques of Stalin.
  • Titus Groan.

    Titus Groan.
    Titus Groan begins British author Mervyn Peake's trilogy of gothic novels.
  • Under the Volcano.

    Under the Volcano.
    English author and alcoholic Malcolm Lowry publishes an autobiographical novel, Under the Volcano.
  • An Inspector Calls.

     An Inspector Calls.
    J.B. Priestley challenges audiences with An Inspector Calls, a play in which moral guilt spreads like an infection.
  • The Lady's Not For Burning.

    The Lady's Not For Burning.
    Christopher Fry's verse drama The Lady's Not For Burning engages in high-spirited poetic word play.
  • Noddy.

    Noddy.
    Enid Blyton introduces her most successful character, Noddy, a small boy who can't avoid nodding when he speaks.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    Nineteen Eighty-Four.
    George Orwell publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four, a novel set in a terrifying totalitarian state of the future, watched over by Big Brother.
  • Narnia.

    Narnia.
    C.S. Lewis gives the first glimpse of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • The Grass is Singing.

    The Grass is Singing.
    British author Doris Lessing publishes her first novel, The Grass is Singing.
  • The Day of the Triffids.

    The Day of the Triffids.
    British author John Wyndham creates a dark fantasy in his novel The Day of the Triffids.
  • Question of Upbringing,.

    Question of Upbringing,.
    A Question of Upbringing begins Anthony Powell's 'A Dance to the Music of Time'.
  • The Buildings of England.

    The Buildings of England.
    British art historian Nikolaus Pevsner undertakes a massive task, a county-by-county description of The Buildings of England.
  • Men at Arms.

    Men at Arms.
    Evelyn Waugh publishes Men at Arms, the first novel in the Sword of Honour trilogy based on his wartime experiences.
  • The Go-Between.

     The Go-Between.
    English author L.P. Hartley sets his novel The Go-Between in the summer of 1900.
  • Casino Royale.

    Casino Royale.
    James Bond, agent 007, has a licence to kill in Ian Fleming's first novel, Casino Royale.
  • Under Milk Wood.

    Under Milk Wood.
    Dylan Thomas's 'play for voices', Under Milk Wood, is broadcast on BBC radio, with Richard Burton as narrator.
  • The Second World War.

     The Second World War.
    Politician and author Winston Churchill completes his six-volume history The Second World War.
  • Under the Net.

    Under the Net.
    Anglo-Irish novelist Iris Murdoch publishes her first novel, Under the Net.
  • Lucky Jim.

     Lucky Jim.
    English author Kingsley Amis's first novel, Lucky Jim, strikes an anti-establishment chord.
  • Lord of the Flies.

    Lord of the Flies.
    William Golding gives a chilling account of schoolboy savagery in his first novel, Lord of the Flies.
  • Angry Young Men.

    Angry Young Men.
    Kingsley Amis and other young writers in Britain become known as Angry Young Men.
  • The Quiet American.

     The Quiet American.
    Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American is set in contemporary Vietnam and foresees troubles ahead.
  • The Less Deceived.

    The Less Deceived.
    English poet Philip Larkin finds his distinctive voice in his collection The Less Deceived.
  • The Lord of the Rings.

     The Lord of the Rings.
    British philologist J.R.R. Tolkien publishes the third and final volume of his epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings.
  • Look Back in Anger.

    Look Back in Anger.
    John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger features in the first season of London's new English Stage Company.
  • The Hawk in the Rain.

    The Hawk in the Rain.
    The Hawk in the Rain is English author Ted Hughes' first volume of poems.
  • Justine.

    Justine.
    The publication of the novel Justine launches Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet.
  • Room at the Top.

    Room at the Top.
    English author John Braine publishes his first novel, Room at the Top.
  • Not Waving but Drowning.

     Not Waving but Drowning.
    English author Stevie Smith publishes her collection of poems Not Waving but Drowning.
  • The Entertainer.

    The Entertainer.
    Laurence Olivier brings the music-hall artist Archie Rice vibrantly to life in John Osborne's The Entertainer.
  • The Hostage.

    The Hostage.
    Irish dramatist Brendan Behan's play The Hostage is produced in Dublin.
  • Chicken Soup with Barley.

    Chicken Soup with Barley.
    Chicken Soup with Barley begins a trilogy by English playwright Arnold Wesker.
  • Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

    Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
    English author Alan Sillitoe publishes his first novel, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
  • The Birthday Party.

    The Birthday Party.
    Harold Pinter's first play in London's West End, The Birthday Party, closes in less than a week.
  • Billy Liar.

    Billy Liar.
    Keith Waterhouse has a wide success with his second novel, Billy Liar.
  • The Caretaker.

     The Caretaker.
    Harold Pinter's second play in London's West End, The Caretaker, immediately brings him an international reputation.
  • Cider with Rosie.

     Cider with Rosie.
    British author Laurie Lee remembers a Cotswold boyhood in Cider with Rosie.
  • Summoned by Bells.

    Summoned by Bells.
    English poet John Betjeman publishes his long autobiographical poem Summoned by Bells.
  • A Man for All Seasons.

     A Man for All Seasons.
    Paul Scofield plays Thomas More in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons.
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover.

     Lady Chatterley's Lover.
    Penguin Books are prosecuted for obscenity for publishing D.H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, and are acquitted.
  • James and the Giant Peach.

    James and the Giant Peach.
    British author Roald Dahl publishes a novel for children, James and the Giant Peach.
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

    The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
    British novelist Muriel Spark publishes The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, set in an Edinburgh school in the 1930s.
  • War Requiem.

    War Requiem.
    Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, setting poems by Wilfred Owen, is first performed in the rebuilt Coventry Cathedra.
  • The Golden Notebook.

    The Golden Notebook.
    British author Doris Lessing publishes an influential feminist novel, The Golden Notebook.
  • Cover Her Face.

    Cover Her Face.
    British author P.D. James's first novel, Cover Her Face, introduces her poet detective Adam Dalgleis.
  • A Clockwork Orange.

     A Clockwork Orange.
    Anthony Burgess publishes A Clockwork Orange, a novel depicting a disturbing and violent near-future.
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

    The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
    English author John Le Carré publishes a Cold-War thriller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
  • A Summer Birdcage.

    A Summer Birdcage.
    English author Margaret Drabble publishes her first novel, A Summer Birdcage.
  • Annus Mirabilis.

    Annus Mirabilis.
    Sexual intercourse begins in this year, according to Philip Larkin's 1974 poem Annus Mirabilis.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
    Roald Dahl publishes a fantasy treat for a starving child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
  • Shadow of a Sun.

    Shadow of a Sun.
    English author A.S. Byatt publishes her first novel, Shadow of a Sun.
  • The Jewel in the Crown.

    The Jewel in the Crown.
    English novelist Paul Scott publishes The Jewel in the Crown, the first volume in his 'Raj Quartet'.
  • Death of a Naturalist.

     Death of a Naturalist.
    Irish poet Seamus Heaney wins critical acclaim for Death of a Naturalist, his first volume containing more than a few poems.
  • Wide Sargasso Sea.

    Wide Sargasso Sea.
    After a long period of obscurity, Wide Sargasso Sea brings novelist Jean Rhys back into the literary limeligh.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard, is produced at the Edinburgh Festival.
  • The Magic Toyshop.

    The Magic Toyshop.
    English author Angela Carter wins recognition with her quirky second novel, The Magic Toyshop.
  • Relatively Speaking.

    Relatively Speaking.
    English playwright Alan Ayckbourn has his first success with Relatively Speaking.
  • The Mersey Sound.

    The Mersey Sound.
    Three young Liverpool poets publish a shared anthology under the title The Mersey Sound.
  • A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

    A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.
    A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, by English dramatist Peter Nichols, has its premiere in London.
  • Lytton Strachey.

    Lytton Strachey.
    English biographer Michael Holroyd completes his two-volume life of Lytton Strachey.
  • The French Lieutenant's Woman.

     The French Lieutenant's Woman.
    English novelist John Fowles publishes The French Lieutenant's Woman, set in Lyme Regis in the 1860s.
  • Owners.

    Owners.
    English dramatist Caryl Churchill's first play, Owners, is produced in London.
  • Terminal Moraine.

    Terminal Moraine.
    English poet James Fenton publishes his first collection, Terminal Moraine.
  • Small is Beautiful.

    British economist Ernst Friedrich Schumacher publishes an influential economic tract, Small is Beautiful.
  • The Rachel Papers.

    The Rachel Papers.
    Martin Amis, son of Kingsley Amis, publishes his first novel, The Rachel Papers.
  • Buildings of England.

    Buildings of England.
    German-born British art historian Nikolaus Pevsner completes his monumental 46-volume Buildings of England.
  • Heat and Dust.

    Heat and Dust.
    English author Ruth Prawer Jhabwala wins the Booker Prize with her novel Heat and Dust.
  • The Sea, the Sea.

     The Sea, the Sea.
    Iris Murdoch publishes The Sea, the Sea, and wins the 1978 Booker Prize.
  • The Pleasure Steamers.

    The Pleasure Steamers.
    English author Andrew Motion publishes his first collection of poems, The Pleasure Steamers.
  • The Cement Garden.

    The Cement Garden.
    British author Ian McEwan publishes his first novel, The Cement Garden.
  • Amadeus.

     Amadeus.
    Peter Shaffer's play about Mozart, Amadeus, has its premiere in London.
  • War Music.

    War Music.
    War Music is the first instalment of Christopher Logue's version of the Iliad.
  • Midnight's Children.

    Midnight's Children.
    Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children uses the moment of India's independence to launch an adventure in magic realism.
  • A Start in Life.

    A Start in Life.
    English author Anita Brookner publishes her first novel, A Start in Life.
  • Noises Off.

    Noises Off.
    Michael Frayn's farce Noises Off opens in London's West end.
  • The Economic Consequences of Mrs Thatcher.

     The Economic Consequences of Mrs Thatcher.
    British economist Nicholas Kaldor attacks monetarism in The Economic Consequences of Mrs Thatcher.
  • The Dresser.

    The Dresser.
    Ronald Harwood's play The Dresser is partly inspired by the British actor Donald Wolfit.
  • Flaubert's Parrot.

    Flaubert's Parrot.
    English author Julian Barnes publishes a multi-faceted literary novel, Flaubert's Parrot.
  • The Dread Affair.

     The Dread Affair.
    British Rasta poet Benjamin Zephaniah publishes his second collection as The Dread Affair.
  • Partingtime Hall.

    Partingtime Hall.
    English poets John Fuller and James Fenton collaborate in a volume of satirical poems, Partingtime Hall.
  • Talking Heads.

    Talking Heads.
    Talking Heads, a series of dramatic monologues by English author Alan Bennett, is broadcast on British TV.
  • Ayatollah Khomeini .

    Ayatollah Khomeini .
    Ayatollah Khomeini declares a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for his Satanic Verses.
  • A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes.

    A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes.
    British physicist Stephen Hawking explains the cosmos for the general reader in A Brief History of Time: from the Big Bang to Black Holes.
  • David Hare.

    David Hare.
    Racing Demon launches a trilogy on the British establishment by English playwright David Hare.
  • The Madness of George III.

    The Madness of George III.
    Alan Bennett's play The Madness of George III is performed at the National Theatre in London.
  • Regeneration.

    Regeneration.
    Regeneration is the first volume of English author Pat Barker's trilogy of novels set during World War I.
  • The Man with Night Sweats.

    The Man with Night Sweats.
    English poet Thom Gunn's The Man with Night Sweats deals openly with AIDS.
  • Birdsong

    Birdsong
    English novelist Sebastian Faulks publishes Birdsong, set partly in the trenches of World War I.
  • A Suitable Boy.

    A Suitable Boy.
    Vikram Seth publishes his novel A Suitable Boy, a family saga in post-independence India.
  • Trainspotting.

     Trainspotting.
    Scottish author Irvine Welsh publishes his first novel, Trainspotting.
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

     Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
    Louis de Bernières publishes Captain Corelli's Mandolin, a love story set in Italian-occupied Cephalonia.
  • Hughes's Birthday Letters.

     Hughes's Birthday Letters.
    The poems forming Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters describe his relationship with Sylvia Plath.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

     Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
    A schoolboy wizard performs his first tricks in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • Copenhagen.

    Copenhagen.
    Michael Frayn's play Copenhagen dramatizes the visit of Werner Heisenberg to Niels Bohr in wartime Denmark.
  • The Amber Spyglass.

    The Amber Spyglass.
    The Amber Spyglass completes Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials.