Literary Timeline


November 1

American novelist Stephen Crane is born.  (1871) (The Red Badge of Courage, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets)

Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and Floyd Allington run off the highway near Billings, Montana, on their return from a hunting trip.  Hemingway was the only one injured, suffering a nearly compound fracture of his right arm.  (1930)

November 2

The Confederate ship which Sidney Lanier is serving on as a signal officer manages to get through a Union blockade near Wilmington, North Carolina.  However, the vessel is captured fourteen hours later.  (1864)

Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton is published by the Century Company, New York.  (1904)

The New York Herald Tribune lists John Steinbeck's East of Eden as the best-selling fiction book.  (1952)

November 3

Poet of nature and editor for fifty years of the New York Evening Post, William Cullen Bryant was born in Cummington, Massachusetts. (1794)  ( Thanatopsis, To a Waterfowl)

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

John Steinbeck's play Pipe Dream opens in New York.  It is a Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein III musical based on Steinbeck's novel Sweet Thursday.  (1955)

Tennessee William's play Battle of Angels opens at Circle Theatre in New York, 34 years after its Boston premiere.  (1974)

November 4

An entry in the journal of Herman Melville reads as follows:  "This time tomorrow I shall be on land, & press English earth after the lapse of ten years-then a sailor, now H. M. author of 'Peedee' 'Hullabaloo' & 'Pog-Dog.'"  (1849)

Writer John Jay Chapman, known primarily as a literary critic, dies.  (1933)

William Faulkner publishes "Hands upon the Waters" in the Saturday Evening Post.  (1939)

November 5

Ralph Waldo Emerson gives his first lecture, "The Uses of Natural History," at the Masonic Temple in Boston, Massachusetts.  (1833)

Ernest Hemingway is divorced from his second wife, Pauline.  (1940)

November 6

An entry in the journal of Herman Melville reads as follows:  "[The Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine review of Redburn is] very comical-seemed so, at least, as I had to hurry over it-in treating the thing as real.  But the wonder is that the old Tory should waste so many pages upon a thing, which I, the author, know to be trash, & wrote it to buy some tabacco [sic] with."  (1849)

Dashiell Hammett is hospitalized for tuberculosis after having been first diagnosed with the disease while serving in the army at Camp Mead, Maryland, the year before.  (1920)

James Jones is born.  (1921) (From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line)

November 7

Novelist Henry Adams writes to United States Ambassador to Great Britain John Hay about issues relating to China and the "Anglo-German agreement."  (1900)

Tennessee William's first story, "Isolated," is published in Junior Life, a bi-weekly newspaper of Blewett Junior High School in St. Louis, Missouri.  (1924)

A Curtain of Green by Eudora Welty is published by Doubleday in New York.  (1941)

Walker Percy, aged 30, marries Mary Bernice Townsend.  (1946)

Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill opens on Broadway.  (1956)

Random House publishes Raymond Carver's poetry collection Ultramarine.  (1986)

November 8

Hudson River Bracketed by Edith Wharton is published by D. Appleton and Company, New York.  (1929)

Six photographs by Eudora Welty appear in Life magazine.  (1937)

William Faulkner is notified that he has won the Nobel Prize for literature.  (1950)

November 9

Ralph Waldo Emerson's mother, Ruth Haskins, is born in Boston, Massachusetts.  (1768)

Poet Anne Sexton is born.  (1928) ( Young, Somewhere in Africa)

November 10

Author Herman Melville joins his old friend Nathaniel Hawthorne at Liverpool, England.  Hawthorne has been appointed to the American Consulate there by his good friend, U.S. President Franklin Pierce.  Writing about the event, Hawthorne says, "I felt rather awkward at first; because this is the first time I have met him since my ineffectual attempt to get him a consular appointment from General Pierce."  (1856)

Henry David Thoreau and Walt Witman, authors who held a healthy disrespect for each other, came together and traded their respective volumes, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Leaves of Grass.  Each wrote brief sentiments inside the books and managed to utter a few polite sentiments about the other.  (1856)

William Faulkner's brother Dean is killed in a plane crash.  (1935)

William Faulkner wins the Nobel Prize for literature.  (1949)

Period of Adjustment High Point over a Cavern by Tennessee Williams opens at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York to "respectful but tepid reviews."  (1960)

November 11

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is born in Indianapolis.  (1922) (Player Piano, Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five)

The American Academy of Arts and Letters awards the Howells Medal for fiction to Ellen Glasgow for the most distinguished work of American fiction in the past five years.  (1940)

Author James Baldwin leaves for Paris.  Earlier in the year he had published his first essay, "The Harlem Ghetto" and his first short story, "Previous Condition."  (1948)

November 12

Smoking cigars and walking with Nathaniel Hawthorne amid the "sand hills" along the shore near Liverpool, England, Herman Melville "beg[ins] to reason of Providence and futurity, and of everything that lies beyond the human ken."  Writing about their conversation, and about his friend Herman, Nathaniel states, "It is strange how he persists-and has persisted ever since I knew him, . . .in wandering over these deserts, . . . He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; . . .he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us." (1856)

A revised version of James Russell Lowell's "Emerson the Lecturer" (Ralph Waldo Emerson) is published in The Nation.  (1868)

Ernest and Pauline Hemingway become parents again with the birth of their son, Gregory.  Dr. Don Carlos Guffey is given a signed copy of a manuscript of Death in the Afternoon, which later sold for $13,000 in 1958.  (1931)

On Jeopardy (ABC Television), under the category "American Authors" for $1000 the question read:  "Scientific American was one of the magazines that reviewed Gravity's Rainbow."  The question was who was the author.  The correct answer was Thomas Pynchon.  (1992)

November 13

Eudora Welty wins a $300 O. Henry Memorial Prize for her short story "The Wide Net" published by Harper's Magazine.  (1942)

William Faulkner's The Mansion is published.  (1959)

November 14

Emily Norcross Dickinson, the mother of Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, dies.  (1882)

Thomas Wolfe's collection of stories From Death to Morning is published by Charles Scribners' Sons, New York.  (1935)

William Faulkner publishes "The Unvanquished" in the Saturday Evening Post.  (1936)

November 15

Poet Marianne Moore is born in St. Louis, Missouri. (1887) ( Poetry, The Fish, To a Chameleon)

The novelist Henry Adams writes from Paris to his lifelong friend, Charles Milnes Gaskell of England, about political issues.  (1903)

Edith Wharton's book The Reef is published by D. Appleton and Company, New York.  (1912)

The New York Times runs an article on a non-stop group reading of Gravity's Rainbow held at Princeton University.  This was a concept that was viewed as a "good idea" and repeated at other locations of higher learning.  Pynchon, however, never attended any of these gatherings.  (1987)

November 16

The Washington Star reports on the public re-interment of the remains of Edgar Allen Poe, at Baltimore.  The article on the subject also quotes "the old gray," Walt Whitman, who after the ceremony, said, "For a long while, and until lately, I had a distaste for Poe's writings.  I wanted, and still want for poetry, the clear sun shining, and fresh air blowing-the strength and power of health, not of delirium, . . . Non-complying with these requirements, Poe's genius has yet conquer'd a special recognition for itself, and I . . . appreciate it and him." (1875)

Wallace Stevens reads "A Collect of Philosophy" at the University of Chicago.  (1951)

A review in the New Statesman of author Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow records both Vineland and Lot 49 as out of print, as it was released.  (1973)
November 17

Herman Melville writes to his dear friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne, acknowledging that Hawthorne profoundly influenced him while writing Moby Dick.  Pondering their successes, Melville asks, "When shall we be done growing?"  He then provides his own answer; "As long as we have anything more to do, we have done nothing.  So now, let us add Moby Dick to our blessing, and step from that.  Leviathan is not the biggest fish-I have heard of Krakens." (1851)

Zelda Fitzgerald's father dies.  (1931)

Ernest Hemingway receives his second award from the Batista Government in Cuba, the Order of San Cristobal.  (1955)

Jack Kerouac marries Joan Haverty in Greenwich Village, New York.  (1950)

November 18
Putnam's Monthly Magazine publishes the first part of "Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street," by Herman Melville.  (1853) 

The novelist Henry Adams writes from Paris to his friend and colleague, the writer Henry James, about James's latest work, William Wetmore Story and His Friends.  (1903)

The New York Saturday Press publishes Mark Twain's "The Celebrated frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches," propelling him to national fame. (1865)

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller closes on Broadway after 742 performances.  (1950)

Thorton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth opens in New York.  (1942)

"Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" by Mark Twain appears in the New York Saturday Press.  (1865)

November 19

Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven and Other Poems and Tales is published in New York by Wiley and Putnam.  (1845)

The Atlantic Monthly publishes the poem, "Brahma," by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  (1857)

The Atlantic Monthly publishes "A True Story Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It," by Mark Twain.  (1874)

F. Scott Fitzgerald's play The Vegetable, or from President to Postman opens at the Apollo Theatre in Atlantic City.  (1923)

November 20

Nathaniel Hawthorne records the visit of his friend Herman Melville at Liverpool, England, in the American and English Notebooks.

Novelist (Brian) Donn Byrne is born.  (1889) (Messer Marco Polo, English Teaching Perspectives)

Jack Kerouac drives back to New York with Lew Welch and Albert Saijo whom he met in San Francisco.  (1959)

November 21

Edgar Allan Poe delivers the first of his lectures on American poetry, beginning in Philadelphia.  Both the audience and the reviews were favorable.  Poe gives further performances of this lecture.  (Among Poe's later lectures are "The Poets and Poetry of America," "The Poetic Principle," and "The Universe").  The last of these became the basis for his book Eureka, written in 1848).  (1843)

Ernest Hemingway marries his fourth wife, Martha Gellhorn, in the Union Pacific dining room in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  (1940)

Ellen Glasgow dies in her sleep at One Main Street in Richmond, Virginia, following her fourth heart attack.  (1945)

November 22

Ralph Waldo Emerson's mother, Ruth Haskins Emerson, dies at the age of 85 at Emerson's home.  (1853)

Jack London takes an overdose of a prescribed medicine intended to help him sleep and dies.  Although his death certificate declares that he died of uremic poisoning, it was more likely a suicide.  (1916)

Jack Kerouac, the father of the "Beat Generation," is featured in a Lowell Sun newspaper article that highlights his football achievements at Horace Mann Prep School.  (1939)

November 23

John Steinbeck's play Of Mice and Men opens in New York and runs for 207 performances.  (1937)

William Faulkner publishes Tomorrow.  (1940)

William Faulkner is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  (1948)
Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale opens on Broadway at the Morosco Theatre starring Betsy Palmer and David Selby.  (1976)

November 24

Frances Burnett is born.  (1849) (The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy)

Writing to poet Sara Teasdale, poet Vachael Lindsay (responding to her question about his intentions) replied:  "It really amounts to a mania with me-getting letters-and writing them-if I have a minute-and just the right person-is equally a pleasure . . . A nice girl to write is a grand thing . . ."  (1913)

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. marries his long-time friend, author and photographer Jill Krementz.  (1979)

November 25

Nathanael West (aka Nathan Weinstein) is advised to withdraw from Tufts College, where he had enrolled a year earlier, because he is failing every course.  He attends Brown University in the spring of 1922.  (1921)

November 26

William Faulkner publishes "Landing in Luck" in the Mississippian .  (1919)

Thirteen-year-old Eudora Welty's story "Soph'more Class" is published in Jackson Hi-Lite.  (1922)

Ernest Hemingway is quoted in the Kansas City Times, from a conversation about his time spent as a reporter on the Kansas City Star.  He reminisces, ". . .those (the Star's Copy Style Sheets) were the best rules I ever learned for the business of writing.  I've never forgotten them.  No man with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the thing he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides by them."  (1940)

Limited Editions Club awards its gold medal to Ernest Hemingway for his novel For Whom the Bell Tolls, chosen as the book in the previous three years most likely to become a classic.  (1941)

Wallace Stevens reads "A Collect of Philosophy" at City College of New York.  (1951)

William Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun, opens in London's Royal Court Theatre.  (1957)

November 27

Poet and author John Peale Bishop is commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army infantry.  (1917)

John Steinbeck's novel, Bombs Away is published by Viking Press.  (1942)

William Faulkner publishes Knights Gambit.  (1949)

While bedridden with pneumonia and a high fever, Eugene O'Neill shouts, "Born in a hotel room-and God damn it-died in a hotel room!"  He then lapses into a coma from which he never regains consciousness, and dies.  (1953)

November 28

Brooks Atkinson is born.  (1894) (Henry Thoreau, The Cosmic Yankee)

Theatre adaptation of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel opens on Broadway.  (1957)

Richard (Nathaniel) Wright dies of a heart attack in Paris, France.  (1960)

November 29

Amos Bronson Alcott, the father of Louisa May Alcott, is born.  (1799)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, to Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott.  Before the age of two, Louisa and her family moved to Massachusetts where she lived the bulk of her life.  Her father was a philosopher, educational reformer, and a leader in the Transcendentalist movement.  (1832) (Little Women, Little Men)

Kenneth Rexroth in his New York Times Book Review article on Mexico City Blues attacks Jack Kerouac, the father of the "Beat Generation," and his writing.  (1959)

November 30

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) is born in Florida, Missouri.  (1835) (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)

Tennessee William's play Fugitive Kind premiers with the Mummers of St. Louis, directed by Willard Holland.  (1937)

William Faulkner leaves for Paris to begin work on Land of the Pharaohs for Howard Hawks, then on to Stresa and St. Moritz.  (1953)

Ernest Hemingway is admitted to the Mayo Clinic for psychiatric treatment under the pseudonym Dr. George Saviers.  (1960)