Literary Timeline


September 1

Henry David Thoreau has dinner with Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Later, recording the event in his journal, Hawthorne describes "Mr. Thoreau," as being "as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding well with such an exterior.  But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty." (1842)

The future author of the Tarzan series, Edgar Rice Burroughs, is born.  (1875) (Tarzan of the Apes)

Pursuant to the request of Henry Adams, just prior to the writer's death, Henry Cabot Lodge builds upon Adams' "Editor's Preface" to The Education of Henry Adams, signing it as his own.  (1918)

The Children by Edith Wharton is published by D. Appleton and Company, New York.  (1928)

Wallace Stegner marries Mary Stuart Page.  (1934)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., marries his high school sweetheart Jane Marie Cox.  (1945)

Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar is published in New York by Doubleday.  (1955)

September 2
Nathaniel Hawthorne and his "little wife" join Henry David Thoreau on a short excursion on the Concord River, in his rowboat.  Despite numerous attempts, Nathaniel fails to adequately maneuver the "little vessel."  He later marvels that "Mr. Thoreau managed the boat so perfectly, that it seemed instinct with his own will, and to require no physical effort to guide it."  (1842)

In a letter to John Murray, Herman Melville writes:  "You ask for 'documentary evidences' of my having been at the Marquesas-in Typee.-Dear Sir, how indescribably vexatious, when one really feels in his very bones that he has been there, to have a parcel of blockheads question it! . Seriously on the receipt of your welcome favor, Dear Sir, I addressed a note to the owners of the ship, asking if they could procure for me, a copy of that part of the ship's log which makes mention of two rascals running away at Nukaheva-to wit Herman Melville and Richard T. Greene.  As yet I have nothing in reply-If I think of any other kind of evidence I will send it, if it can be had and dispatched."  (1846)

Ayn Rand begins writing Atlas Shrugged.  (1946

September 3

Regional writer, Sarah Orne Jewett, is born in South Berwick, Maine. (1849)  (A White Heron)

Ernest Hemingway marries his first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, in Horton Bay, Michigan, only a few miles away from his beloved summer home, "Windemere Cottage."  (1921)

After a party at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Bixby Canyon cabin (near San Francisco) Jack Kerouac, the father of the "Beat Generation," suffers a breakdown.  (1960)

E. E. Cummings dies in North Conway, New Hampshire, of a brain hemorrhage.  (1962)

September 4

Author Hamlin Garland is born.  (1860) ( Son of the Middle Border, Main-Travelled Roads)

Mark Twain's "Journalism in Tennessee" appears in the Buffalo Express.  (1869)

Richard (Nathaniel) Wright is born near Natchez, Mississippi.  (1908) (Native Son, Black Boy)

September 5

Poet and author Ambrose Bierce is promoted to sergeant-major in the Union army during the Civil War.  (1861)

In a letter to Catherine G. Lansing author Herman Melville writes (on the subject of life):  "Whoever is not in the possession of leisure can hardly be said to possess independence.  They talk of the dignity of work.  Bosh.  True Work is the necessity of poor humanity's earthly condition.  The dignity is in leisure.  Besides, 99 hundredths of all the work done in the world is either foolish and unnecessary, or harmful and wicked."  (1877)

On The Road by Jack Kerouac is published in New York by Viking.  Kerouac is in New York with his girlfriend Joyce Glassman.  (1957)

September 6

Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden.  (1847)

William Faulkner publishes "Thrift," in the Saturday Evening Post.  (1930)

Jack Kerouac dreams that his head is bandaged and that he's being chased by the police.  He hides inside a parade of children chanting his name.  (1957)

September 7

Three months before her fifth birthday, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson begins four years at "Primary School."  (1835)

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson and her younger sister Lavinia Norcross Dickinson, begin their first year at Amherst Academy.  (1840)

A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton is published in New York by Scribner's Sons.  (1923)

Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway (his last novel) is published.  It received bad critical reviews, but became a best-seller anyway.  (1950)

William S. Burroughs, best known as the author of Naked Lunch, accidentally kills his wife while in Mexico, reportedly while attempting to shoot a glass off of her head.  He is not held, and shortly thereafter, leaves the country.  (1951)

September 8

James Fenimore Cooper resigns as Consul of Lyons, France.  (1829)

Joaquin Miller is born.  (1837) (Columbus)

Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea is published by Scribner's Sons in New York.  It was first published in its entirety in Life magazine, the first time Life had published a full text.  (1952)

September 9

Jack Kerouac, father of the "Beat Generation," leaves Mexico and travels to California to see Allen Ginsberg who is living in a cottage at 1624 Milvia Street in Berkeley.  (1955)

Jack Kerouac, the father of the "Beat Generation," begins a one-week visit to John Llellon Holmes home in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.  (1962)

Gabrielle, the mother of Jack Kerouac (the father of the "Beat Generation"), has a stroke.  (1966)

September 10

Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers an abolitionist speech at the Kansas Relief Meeting, held at Cambridge, Massachusetts.  (1856)

A Mask of Poets prints Emily Elizabeth Dickinson's poem "Success in counted sweetest."  (1878)

William Faulkner publishes "Country Mice," in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.  (1925)

Wallace Stevens reads "Imagination as Value" at Columbia University.  (1948)

September 11

Author O. Henry is born.  (1862) (The Gift of the Magi, The Last Leaf)

A future member of the Fugitive Poets at Vanderbilt, Merrill Moore is born.  (1903)

Thomas Wolfe's story "The Child by Tiger" is published by The Saturday Evening Post.  (1937)

William Faulkner goes to Washington for four days as the chairman of the Writers' Group, People-to-People Program.  (1956)

September 12

Charles Dudley Warner is born.  (1829) ( In the Wilderness, The Golden House)

H. L. Mencken is born.  (1880) (Prejudices, The American Language)

William Faulkner and his wife Estelle drive their daughter Jill to Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she enters Pine Manor Junior College.  (1951)

September 13

The Virginia City, Nevada, Territorial Enterprise publishes "Over the Mountains," a short story by Mark Twain.  (1863)

Ralph Waldo Emerson's brother William dies.  (1868)

Sherwood Anderson is born.  (1876) (Winesburg, Ohio, The Triumph of the Egg)

September 14

Francis Scott Key writes "The Star-Spangled Banner" while imprisoned aboard a British ship that is bombarding Baltimore, Maryland.  (1814)

Ralph Waldo Emerson marries Lydia Jackson.  (1835)

James Fenimore Cooper dies in Cooperstown, New York.  (1851)

Writing in his American and English Notebooks, Nathaniel Hawthorne recalls being filled with so much emotion that it was difficult to "read the last of the Scarlet Letter to my wife, just after writing it."  (1855) 

John Steinbeck is presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  (1964)

September 15

James Fenimore Cooper is born in Burlington, New Jersey, as the eleventh son of Judge William Cooper (also a member of the New York State legislature) and Elizabeth (Fenimore) Cooper.  (1789) ( The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder)

Henry and John, Jr., Thoreau open the Concord Academy School and advertise experimental learning.  (1838)

Longman's Magazine publishes "The Art of Fiction," an essay by Henry James, written in response to another essay by the English novelist Walter Besant.  (1884)

Zelda Fitzgerald is released from Prangins Clinic in Nyon, Switzerland.  (1931)

Thomas Clayton Wolfe dies in Baltimore, Maryland at age 37.  (1938)

Raymond Carver's third major-press book of stories, entitled Cathedral is published by Knopf.  (1983)

September 16

The Gods Arrive by Edith Wharton is published in New York by D. Appleton and Company.  (1932)

Edith Wharton's last book, The Buccaneers, is published posthumously in New York by D. Appleton and Company.  (1938)

FBI officials interview Richard Wright in Paris about his relationship to the Communist Party when he goes to renew his passport.  (1954)

September 17

On a visit to Concord, Massachusetts, Walt Whitman enjoys "a long and blessed evening" with his friends, Ralph Waldo Emerson and A. B. Alcott and his daughter Louisa.  They actively discuss many works of their favorite authors and poets, including Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, William Ellery Channing, and Horace Greeley.  (1881)

William Carlos Williams is born.  (1883) (The Red Wheelbarrow, The Use of Force)

Writer Laurence Stallings publishes his story "The Big Parade," in the New Republic.  (1924)

Dashiell Hammett is allowed to reenlist in the U.S. Army, as a private, even though he had intermittent periods of illness from tuberculosis since his service stateside during World War I, and even though he was under surveillance by the FBI because of his activities on behalf of liberal and communist causes.  (1942)

September 18
The Baltimore American Museum publishes "Ligeia," by Edgar Allen Poe.  (1838)

Burton's Gentleman's Magazine publishes "The Fall of the House of Usher," by Edgar Allen Poe.  (1839)

You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe is published posthumously by Harper & Bros.  (1940)

Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March is published in New York by Viking.  (1953)

National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, Katherine Anne Porter dies in Silver Spring, Maryland. (1980)

September 19

John Steinbeck's East of Eden is published in New York by Viking.  (1952)

Jack Kerouac's (the father of the "Beat Generation,") sister Nin dies.  (1964)

September 20

Upton Sinclair is born.  (1878) (The Jungle, OIL!)

Maxwell Perkins is born.  (1884)

William Faulkner is posted to the School of Military Aeronautics in Toronto after his entry into the Canadian Royal Air Force in July.  (1918)

September 21

Wallace Stevens marries Elsie Kachel.  (1909)

William Faulkner publishes These 13 , a short story collection.  (1931)

September 22

William Faulkner's family moves to Oxford, Mississippi, just prior to his fifth birthday.  (1902)

F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes Tales of the Jazz Age , a short story collection.  (1922)

Jack Kerouac, the father of the "Beat Generation," begins his post-graduate year at Horace Mann Prep School in New York.  (1939)

September 23

Ernest Hemingway's book Death in the Afternoon is published by Scribner's in New York with a first run of 10,300 copies.  (1932)

Tennessee Williams arrives in Iowa City to finish his undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa.  (1937)

Eudora Welty's story "A Memory" is accepted for publication by the Southern Review.  It was lightly revised for a later publication in A Curtain of Green .  (1937)

A poll conducted by Dial Press to determine the greatest living American writer has Carl Sandburg leading over Ernest Hemingway and Willa Cather.  (1942)

Eudora Welty's The Wide Net and Other Stories is published by Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York.  (1943)

September 24

F. Scott Fitzgerald is born at 481 Laurel Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota.  (1896) (The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned)

In Morroco by Edith Wharton is published by Scribner's, New York.  (1920)

A Sweet Devouring by Eudora Welty is published by Albondocani Press, New York.  (1969)

September 25

Due to an order (originating with King George II) on this day, given by the governor of Nova Scotia to the French colonists occupying that island, the dispersal of the Acadians resulted.  Some of these refugees made their way into the United States, becoming separated from loved ones.  The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is inspired to write Evangeline based on such a tale-one that Nathaniel Hawthorne turns down as a lead.  (1755)  

William Cuthbert Faulkner is born in New Albany, Mississippi.  (1897) (As I Lay Dying, Absalom, Absalom, Sound and the Fury)

Wallace Stevens' daughter Holly divorces John Martin Hanchak.   (1951)

September 26

Claimed by both the United States and Great Britain, poet Thomas Sterns Eliot is born in St. Louis, Missouri. (1888) ( The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land)

Known for his writings about Japan, author Lafcadio Hearn dies.  (1904)

Writer John Dos Pasos is inducted into the U.S. Army Medical Corps and, after basic training at Camp Crane in Allentown, Pennsylvania, he shipped out for France in November.  (1918)

September 27

Edgar Allan Poe leaves Richmond, perhaps aboard the steamship Pocahontas.  He arrives in Baltimore on September 28.  (1849)

William Faulkner publishes "Yo Ho and Two Bottles of Rum," in the New Orleans Times Picayune.  (1925)

Ernest Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms is published by Scribner's in New York with a first run of 31,500 copies.  In four months the book had sold 79,251 copies.  (1929)

William Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust is published.  (1948)

William Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun is published.  (1951)

September 28

Herman Melville dies in New York from a heart attack, shortly after midnight.  He was seventy-two years old; his last novel, The Confidence Man, had been published more than three decades earlier.  By this time in his career he had been almost totally forgotten by all but a small group of admirers in Great Britain and the United States.  (1891)

Elmer Rice is born.  (1892)

Jack Kerouac's article "After Me, the Deluge" appears in the Chicago Tribune.  (1969)

September 29

In a New York Times obituary, Herman Melville is noted as dying "yesterday at his residence, 104 Twenty-sixth Street [in New York].of heart failure, aged seventy-two.."  Melville left "a wife and two daughters, Mrs. M.B. Thomas and Miss Melville."  (1891)

William Faulkner publishes "Ambuscade," in the Saturday Evening Post.  (1934)

William Faulkner goes to Denver, Colorado, for a four-day UNESCO conference.  (1959)

September 30

Ralph Waldo Emerson marries Ellen Tucker.  (1829)

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson enters Mount Holyoke.  (1847)

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is published by Scribner's in New York.  (1911)

Truman Streckfus Persons (Truman Capote) is born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Arch Persons and Lillie Mae Faulk.  His parents were divorced in 1931 and his mother remarried Joseph Garcia Capote the following year.  His name is changed to Truman Garcia Capote in 1935.  (1924) (A Christmas Memory, The Grass Harp, Breakfast at Tiffany's)