Literary Timeline


October 1

Dashiell Hammett publishes his first hard-boiled detective story, "Arson Plus," which introduces the now-well-known operative the "Continental Op," in Black Mask magazine.  (1923)

In the New Republic, author John Cheever, remembering when he was expelled from Thayer Academy, says, "It is strange to be so very young and to have no place to report to at nine o'clock.  That is what education has always been.  It has been laced curtseys and perfumed punctualities."  (1930)

Ralph Waldo Emerson's brother Edward dies unexpectedly at age 29.  (1934)

Kurt Vonnegut, Sr., father of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., dies.  (1957)

Doctors in Syracuse, New York, remove two-thirds of Raymond Carver's cancerous left lung.  (1987)

October 2 

Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family leave the Old Manse, the house they rented from Ralph Waldo Emerson in Concord, Massachusetts, and move into his mother's home in Salem, Massachusetts.  (1845)

Mark Twain receives wide acclaim for his public lecture on the Sandwich Islands, made at San Francisco, California.  (1866)

Wallace Stevens is born in Reading, Pennsylvania.  (1979) (Sunday Morning, Peter Quince at the Clavier)

October 3

Thomas Clayton Wolfe is born in Asheville, North Carolina.  (1900) (Look Homeward, Angel, You Can't Go Home Again)

Edith Wharton's The Hermit and the Wild Woman is published by Scribner's, New York.  (1908)

Author Gore Vidal is born.  (1925) (Julian, Washington, D.C.)

F. Scott Fitzgerald's radio script "Let's Go out and Play" broadcasts in New York City on WABC-Radio (CBS).  (1935)

October 4

Amos Bronson Alcott meets with Walt Whitman in Brooklyn, New York, describing him as "an extraordinary person, full of brute power, certainty of genius and audacity, . . ." (1856)

Damon Runyon is born.  (1884) (Guys and Dolls)

In an obituary column in the Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, Herman Melville is cited as "one of the most original and virile of American literary men. . . . He had long been forgotten, and was no doubt unknown to the most of those who are reading the magazine literature and the novels of the day." (1891)

October 5

Jonathan Edwards is born.  (1703) (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God)

In a letter to Ellen M. Gifford from Herman Melville, he writes (discussing himself):  "It is now quite a time since you first ask me for my photo . . .Well, here it is at last, the veritable face . . .of your now venerable friend . . . venerable in years."  (1885)

Ernest Hemingway's first American book, In Our Time, is published by Boni and Liveright, New York, with an edition of 1,334 copies.  (1925)

October 6

William Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying is published.  (1930)

William Faulkner's novel Light in August is published by Harrison Smith and Robert Hass.  (1932)

Summer and Smoke by Tennessee Williams opens on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre.  (1948)

Eudora Welty's book One Time, One Place: Mississippi in the Depression, A Snapshot Album containing 102 photographs taken by Welty during her employment with the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s is published by Random House, New York.  (1971)

October 7

Edgar Allan Poe is engaged by George Pope Morris and Nathaniel Parker Willis as part of the staff of the Evening Mirror (New York).  Willis is quoted as saying: "Mr. Poe was employed by us, for several months, as critic and subeditor.  This was our first personal acquaintance with him. . . . [he] was at his desk in the office from nine in the morning till the evening paper went to press. . . . he was invariably punctual and industrious."  (1844)

Edgar Allan Poe dies in Baltimore in the Washington College Hospital (later Church Home and Hospital).  (1849)

William Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury is published by Cape and Smith.  (1929)

F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes Save Me the Waltz.  (1932)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s play Happy Birthday, Wanda June (based on an earlier work- Penelope, Cape Cod, Massachusetts 1960) opens at the Theatre de Lys in New York and runs until March 14.  (1970)

October 8

Henry David Thoreau's father, John Thoreau, is born in Boston.  (1787)

In an obituary in the New York Mail and Express, detailing the life of Herman Melville, it is noted that:  "A remarkable man of letters recently passed away . . ."  "If he had died forty years ago his death would have attracted as much attention as the death of Mr. Lowell at that time, for his books were of a kind that was more widely read than those of Mr. Lowell. . . . Mr. Melville was a man of great genius, but he cannot be said to have understood the limitation of his genius, or the things which it could, or could not, accomplish. . . . .  He wrote as he felt, following out his moods and whims, confessing himself to be what he was, and to do what he did."  (1891)

Writer Adelaide Crapsey dies.  Her ashes are placed in an urn donated by her Vassar classmates and placed at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.  (1914)

Author John Hersey, working for Time, Inc. accompanies troops during the third Battle of Matanikau River on Guadalcanal and was later cited by the U.S. secretary of the navy for helping to remove wounded men from the field under fire.  (1942)

Author John Steinbeck is hospitalized with back injuries as a result of helping a Chinese man push a hand truck loaded with beer.  Fifteen days later he undergoes nearly five hours of surgery for the ruptured disc.  (1967)

October 9

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson and party climb Mt. Holyoke.  (1849)

United States President Franklin Pierce appoints his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne to the American Consulate at Liverpool, England.  Writing in his American and English Notebooks, Hawthorne states: "My ancestor left England in 1635.  I return in 1853.  I feel as if I myself had been absent these two hundred years . . ."  (1854)

Novelist Henry Adams writes to his confidante, Elizabeth Cameron, from Apia, Samoa, describing the land, culture, and events he witnesses there.  (1890)

The Writing of Fiction by Edith Wharton is published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.  (1925)

Carol Frost, the son of Robert Frost, commits suicide.  Frost had recently moved into his new residence, Homer Noble Farm in Ripton, Vermont.  (1940)

New York Herald Tribune lists Marjorie Morningstar as the best-selling fiction book.  (1955)

William Faulkner publishes "Mr. Acarius," in the Saturday Evening Post.  (1965)

October 10

Walt Whitman strolls daily through the Common at Boston, and walks beneath the big elms lining the streets of Beacon Hill, reminiscing how he walked these same places twenty years before, with his late friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson.  (1881)

Mark Twain writes about "reading" in public, in "Platform Readings," and published in.  (1907)

A Motor-Flight through France by Edith Wharton is published by Scribner's, New York.  (1908)

The Samuel Clemens family returns from Europe after nearly ten years of exile.  (1900)

Ernest and Hadley Hemingway's first child, John Hadley Nicanor, is born.  (1923)

Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is published.  (1957)

October 11

Washington Irving describes traveling along the banks of the Arkansas River, "near the confluence of the Red Fork."  On his way to the Pawnee country, he passes numerous villages of the Creek Indians.  (1832)

Stark Young is born.  (1881)

October 12

David Henry Thoreau was christened.  His name was to have been Henry David by his parents when he was born on July 12, but his uncle David died and he became the author's namesake.  Thoreau would use "Henry David," until he died, using this name after graduating from Harvard in 1837.  (1817)

Time magazine, in a review of Willa Cather's book The Professor's House, states that "the significance of any new work of Miss Cather's is that it is likely to be a permanent addition to the national library.  She is one of the major artists of our time . . . "

John Steinbeck's America and Americans , reflections on contemporary America, is published by Viking Press.  (1966)

Thomas Pynchon writes a letter to James Sibermann, executive editor of Random House Publishing (who had turned down Pynchon's short-story collection, but had introduced him to his agent Candida Donadio).  Pynchon notes his concern over a review of Richard Farina's book Been Down So Long It Looks Up to Me.  (Pynchon later became Farina's best man and pallbearer over time).  Pynchon is concerned with the editing of the book and had expressed his hope that it would not be heavily cut.  Silbermann would eventually become vice president and senior editor for Pynchon's publisher Little, Brown.  (1965) 

October 13

Conrad Richter is born.  (1890) (The Sea of Grass, The Trees, The Fields, The Town)

Writer Laurence Stallings publishes his story "Turn Out the Guard" in the Saturday Evening Post.  (1928)

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

October 14

Edward Estlin Cummings (e.e. cummings the poet) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Edward and Rebecca Haswell Clarke Cummings.  (1894) (the cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls, anyone lived in a pretty how town)

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton is published in New York by Scribner's. (1905)

Men without Women by Ernest Hemingway is published by Scribner's with a first run of 7,650 copies.  A collection of fourteen short stories, A Simple Inquiry, Ten Indians, A Pursuit Race , and Now I Lay Me were previously unpublished.  (1927)

The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories by Ernest Hemingway is published by Scribner's.  The previously uncollected stories are:  "The Capital of the World," "Old Man At the Bridge," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," and "The Snows of Kilimanjaro."  (1938)

Norman Mailer's The Deer Park is published in New York by Putnam's.  (1955)

William Faulkner's Big Woods is published by Random House.  (1955)

The Shoe Bird by Eudora Welty is published by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York.  (1964)

October 15

Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence is published by D. Appleton and Company, New York.  (1920)

The Hills Beyond by Thomas Wolfe is published posthumously by Harper & Bros.  (1941)

Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums is published; Kerouac, along with Allen Ginsberg meets D. T. Suzuki.  (1958)

October 16

Noah Webster is born.  (1758)  (American Dictionary of the English Language)

Author and playwright Eugene O'Neill is born.  (1888) (Ah! Wilderness, The Iceman Cometh)

William Faulkner's mother, Maud Butler Faulkner, dies.  (1960)

October 17

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson's bread wins second prize at the Agricultural Fair.  (1856)

American novelist Arthur Miller is born.  (1915) ( Death of a Salesman, The Crucible)

A writer best known for his satiric novels of the 1930s, Nathaneal West is born in New York City.  (1903) (The Day of the Locust, Miss Lonelyhearts)

Place in Fiction by Eudora Welty is published by House of Books, Ltd., New York.  (1957)

October 18

Henry Thoreau is elected to serve as secretary of the Concord Lyceum.  (1838)

Burton's Gentleman's Magazine publishes the story, "William Wilson," by Edgar Allen Poe.  (1839)

The Dial publishes two poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The Inward Morning," and "The Maiden in the East."

The Dial publishes Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Ode to Beauty."  (1843)

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton is published in New York by Scribner's.  (1913)

Wallace Stevens and his family sail from New York on a cruise to California, returning in December.  (1923)

Thomas Wolfe's first novel Look Homeward, Angel is published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.  (1929)

John Steinbeck's play Burning Bright opens in New York.  (1950)

Raymond Carver and his wife, Maryann, are legally divorced.  (1982)

October 19
The Baltimore Saturday Visitor publishes "Ms. Found in a Bottle" by Edgar Allen Poe after having earlier awarded him a prize of fifty dollars for the piece. (1833)

The Fruit of the Tree by Edith Wharton is published in New York by Scribner's.  (1907)

Edna St. Vincent Millay dies at age 58 near Austerlitz, New York.  (1950)

Raymond Carver and Maryann Burk Carver's second child, Vance Lindsay Carver, is born in Paradise, California, while Carver attends Chico State College as a part-time student.  (1958)

October 20

Ralph Waldo Emerson's paternal grandfather, Rev. William Emerson, dies.  (1776)

Story magazine rejects Eudora Welty's short story "Why I Live at the P.O."  More rejections follow from New Yorker, Collier's, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Mademoiselle , and Harper's Magazine.  (1938)

As he carries his notebook, an open can of tuna, and a glass of whiskey to his chair in front of the television set, Jack Kerouac hemorrhages internally due to the failure of his liver.  As his chest and throat fill with blood, he undergoes surgery, but dies eighteen hours later without recovering consciousness.  (1969)

October 21

Xingu and Other Stories by Edith Wharton is published by Scribner's.  (1916)

Certain People by Edith Wharton is published by D. Appleton and Company.  (1930)

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is published.  (1940)

Wallace Stevens reads "The Whole Man: Perspectives, Horizons" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  (1954)

Jack Kerouac dies from internal bleeding at St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (1969)

October 22

Henry Thoreau's older sister, Helen, is born five months after their parents married on May 11, 1812.

Having recently graduated from Harvard, Henry Adams and many of his classmates tour Europe together for two years.  They arrive at Berlin, beginning a stay of several months.  (1858)

Tales of Ghosts and Men by Edith Wharton is published by Scribner's in New York.  (1910)

Truman Capote signs a contract for Other Voices, Other Rooms with Random House.  (1945)

Ernest Hemingway's first major novel The Sun Also Rises is published in New York by Scribner's, with a first issue of 5,090 copies.  (1926)

Men at War, a collection of 82 war stories edited and with an introduction by Ernest Hemingway, is published by Crown Publishers, New York.  (1942)

October 23

Twelve Poems by Edith Wharton is published by the Medici Society, London.  (1926)

Eudora Welty's The Robber Bridegroom is published by Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc.  Garden City, New York.  (1942)

The Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway is published by Scribner's with an edition of 10,500 copies.  (1935)

Western author Zane Grey suffers a fatal heart attack while working out at his home.  His death receives worldwide attention due to his success as a writer with sales of his books exceeding 27 million copies in his lifetime.  (1939)

October 24

Sanctuary by Edith Wharton is published in New York by Scribner's.  (1903)

Fighting France from Dunkerque to Belfort by Edith Wharton is published in New York by Scribner's.  (1915)

Jack Kerouac's funeral (the father of the "Beat Generation") is held at St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church in Lowell, Massachusetts.  He is buried at the Edson Catholic Cemetery in the town of his birth.  (1969)

October 25

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

Jack Kerouac discovers his "writing soul" and begins writing "sketches" using "wild form" called "spontaneous bop prose."  (1951)

John Steinbeck is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.  (1962)

October 26

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda's daughter, Scottie, is born.  (1921)

William Faulkner's novel Absalom, Absalom is published by Random House, which Smith and Hass have recently joined as partners.  (1936)

William Faulkner receives the Legion of Honor in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (1951)

October 27

Maxine Hong Kingston is born in Stockton, California.  Her fiction and nonfiction works explore the myths, realities and cultural identities of Chinese and American families. (1940) (The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey)

Ralph Waldo Emerson's maternal grandfather, John Haskins, dies in Boston, Massachusetts.  He is buried at Trinity Church.  He had been a distiller and privateer.  (1814)

Ernest Hemingway's book Winner Take Nothing is published by Scribner's with an edition of 20,300 copies.  This is the first appearance of his stories "The Light of the World,"  "Away You'll Never Be," "The Mother of a Queen," "One Reader Writes," "A Days Wait," and "Fathers and Sons."  (1933)

Sinclair Lewis holds the record for most simultaneous openings of a single play.  During the evening, his It Can't Happen Here opened in 21 theatres in 18 cities in 14 states.  (1937)

F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Last Tycoon.  (1941)

October 28

A second edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse is published by Ticknor and Fields.  (1854)

Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's is published by Random House.  (1958)

Ernest Hemingway receives the Nobel Prize for literature.  Due to a series of recent injuries sustained from plane crashes in Africa, Hemingway was unable to attend the ceremony.  (1954)

October 29

Bill Mauldin is born.  (1921) (Up Front)

The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty is published by Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich, New York.  (1980)

October 30

Ralph Waldo Emerson's son, Waldo, is born.  (1836)

In Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau speaks out in favor of John Brown and his abolitionist raid on Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.  (1859)

The novelist Henry James writes to his brother William, from the Hôtel d'Angleterre, at Rome, Italy.  (1869)

October 31

Future novelist David Graham Phillips is born.  (1867) (The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig, Susan Lenox: Her Fall and Rise)

William Faulkner returns to New York after leaving Oxford, Mississippi, the previous year (mid-November) to work on A Fable in Princeton and New York.  He alternates between there and Oxford.  (1953)