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Literature Timeline  20,000 b.c.e. — 1399

c. 20,000-8,000 B.C.E. Nomadic migrations cross Bering Land Bridge and populate the Americas
c. 7500-7000 B.C.E. Nomadic migrations from Bering Land Bridge reach tip of South America
c. 3000-1500 B.C.E. Stonehenge and other megaliths appear in Britain, France, Scandinavia, and the Mediterranean Islands
c. 3000 B.C.E. Cuneiform (Sumerian) and hieroglyphics (Eygptian) developed
2700 B.C.E. Epic of Gilgamesh (Babylon)
c. 2500 B.C.E. Great Pyramid of Cheops built in Egypt
c. 2000 B.C.E.-500 C.E. Early Southwestern Native American cultures
c. 1580 B.C.E. Book of the Dead (Egypt)
c.1500-1200 B.C.E. Vedas (India)
c. 1200 B.C.E. Chinese develop writing
c. 800-700 B.C.E. Rise of Greek city-states; Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
753 B.C.E. Founding of Rome
c. 750-700 B.C.E. Greek Poet, Hesiod's Theogony
00 B.C.E. Upanishads (India)
563-483 B.C.E. Life of Buddha (India)
551-479 B.C.E. Life of Confucius (China)
c. 550 B.C.E. Aesop's Fables (Greece)
525-456 B.C.E. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides and the tradition of Greek dramatic tragedy
509 B.C.E. Beginning of Roman Republic
439-399 B.C.E. Life of Socrates (Greek philosopher)
427-347 B.C.E. Life of Plato (Greek philosopher)
c. 400 B.C.E. Pentateuch established (Hebrew scripture, based on older oral tradition)
c. 300 B.C.E.-900 C.E. Mayan civilization flourishes in what is now Mexico and Guatemala
146-133 B.C.E. Decline of Roman Republic
58-51 B.C.E. Peak of Julius Caesar's power in Rome
c. 4 B.C.E.-30 C.E. Life of Jesus
29 C.E. Virgil's Aeneid (Latin)
413-426 Augustine of Hippo's City of God (theological synthesis of Platonism and the New Testament)
475 Fall of Rome
570-632 Life of Mohammed (b. Mecca)
656 Koran (Islam) written
850-900 Viking expansion throughout Europe
c. 1000 Beowulf, "The Dream of the Rood," "The Battle of Maldon," "The Wanderer" (Anglo-Saxon)
1000 Formation of Iroquoian Confederacy (North America)
1066 Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror
1095-1270 Crusades
1100-1500 Inca civilization in Cuzco region
1215 Magna Carta signed by England's King John (limits power of crown)
1273 Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica (systematizes Christian theology using Aristotelean concepts of reason)
1265 First English Parliament established
c. 1280 Moses de Leon's The Zohar (Jewish cabalistic text)
1300s-1500s Aztec culture flourishes in Mexico
1300 Beginning of classical revival in Europe
1310 Dante's Comedy written (Italian)
1338-1453 Hundred Years War between England and France
1348-1375 Black Death (bubonic plague) kills one-third of Europe's population.
1375 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Middle English)
1386 Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Literature Timeline 1400-1640

1400s Beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. Spain and Portugal claim parts of Asia, Africa, the Americas
c. 1400 Beginning of Italian Renaissance
c. 1400-1425 Red Book of Hergest (Wales; collection of Celtic stories and mythology)
1405 Christine de Pizan's Book of the City of the Ladies (French)
c. 1420 The Second Shepherd's Play (Middle English)
1432-1438 Margery Kempe's The Book of Margery Kempe (England)
c. 1450 German printer Johannes Gutenberg develops movable type; printing revolution follows
1455-1461 War of the Roses; Henry VII wins English crown
1469 Sir Thomas Malory's Morte D'Arthur (England)
1471-1493 Peak of Inca Empire in what is now Peru, Ecuador and Chile
c. 1480 Everyman (Dutch)
1492-1504 Columbus makes four exploration voyages to the Americas
1493-1520 Further Spanish exploration and colonizing in Caribbean
1500 Beginning of the Northern European Renaissance
1500 French, English, and Dutch begin to explore North America
1500-1530 High Renaissance in Italy; Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes
c.1500-1550 Native American populations devastated by epidemic diseases brought by Europeans
1501 Spain authorizes first shipment of African slaves to the Caribbean
1513 Political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince (Italy)
1516 Sir Thomas More's Utopia (England)
1517-1541 Protestant Reformation in Europe
1519-1521 Spanish explorer Magellan circumnavigates the globe
1534 First French explorations of Canada
1540-1542 Spanish Conquistador Coronado explores southwestern North America
1542 Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca's The Journey of Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca (American southwest)
1558-1603 Reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England
1562 English slave trade begins
1564 Spanish establish St. Augustine in Florida
1588 England defeats Spanish Armada
1588 Thomas Harriot's A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (England)
1589-1596 Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen (England)
1592 Christopher Marlowe's Dr. Faustus and Thomas Nashe's Pierce Penniless, His Supplication to the Devil (England)
c. 1601 Shakespeare's Hamlet first performed (England)
1603-1625 Reign of James I, beginning of Stuart dynasty in England
1605 Francis Bacon's Advancement of Learning (England)
1607 First permanent English colony in North America at Jamestown, Virginia
1608 First French Colonies in North America
1606 Ben Jonson's Volpone (England)
1611 King James Bible published (England)
1616-1621 European diseases decimate Native Americans in New England
1618-1648 Thirty Years War in Europe
1619 First Africans brought to Virginia
1620 Pilgrims establish colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts
1623 John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi (England)
1630 Puritans establish Massachusetts Bay Colony
1633 John Donne's poems published (England)
1637 Thomas Morton's New English Canaan
1637 Pequot War in Connecticut, New England

Literature Timeline 1640 - 1749

1640 Bay Psalm Book is the first book published in the American colonies
1640-1660 English Civil War and Revolution (King Charles I beheaded; revolutionary Oliver Cromwell leads the English commonwealth as Lord Protector)
1641 French mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy (establishes Cartesian dualism, or the philosophical distinction between mind and matter)
1642 Theaters closed in England under Cromwell
1646 Sir John Suckling's Fragmenta Aurea (England)
1647 Roger Williams compiles the first American dictionary of an Indian language (New England)
1648 Robert Herrick's poems published (England)
1650 Anne Bradstreet's The Tenth Muse (New England)
1651 Thomas Hobbe's Leviathan (England)
1660 Stuart Monarchy restored in England
1662 Virginia law decrees slavery for children born to slave mothers
1662 Michael Wigglesworth's The Day of Doom (New England)
1666 Molière's The Misanthrope (France)
1676 Sir George Etherege's The Man of Mode (England)
1676 Increase Mather's A Brief History of the War with the Indians in New England (New England)
1667 John Milton's Paradise Lost (England)
1677 John Dryden's All For Love(England)
1675-1678 King Philip's War destroys power of remaining New England Native American tribes
1681 William Penn founds Pennsylvania
1682 LaSalle claims Louisiana for France
1682 Mary Rowlandson, The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (New England)
1685 Cotton Mather's Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions (New England)
1687 Isaac Newton's Principles of Mathematics (England), most influential text of the scientific revolution
1688 Glorious Revolution (James II replaced by William and Mary on the English throne)
1689-1697 King William's War (colonial war between England and France)
1690 Political and moral philosopher John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (England; writes of the mind as a "tabula rasa," or blank slate, and finds all knowledge rooted in external, sensory experience)
1692 Witchcraft trials and executions in Salem, Massachusetts
1700 William Congreve's The Way of the World (England)
1702-1713 Queen Anne's War (colonial war between Britain and France)
1707 Act of Union unites England, Scotland, and Wales to form Great Britain
1709-1711 Joseph Addison's Tatler (England)
1711 Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism" (England)
1711-1712 Richard Steele's Spectator (England)
1719 Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (England)
1726 Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (England)
1728 John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (England)
1730s First Great Awakening (series of Protestant revivals) begins in New England and middle colonies
1730-1850 Agricultural revolution; tremendous growth in Western Europe's population
1732 Benjamin Franklin begins publishing Poor Richard's Almanac in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1739 Stono River slave uprising in South Carolina
1739 Moral philosopher and historian David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (offers a skeptical reading of Locke's empiricism)
1741 Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (New England)
1744-1748 King George's War (Britain and France vie for power in American colonies)
1746 Lucy Terry writes "Bars of Flight," the first known poem by an African American
1749-1761 Cherokee war against the British in the American South

Literature Timeline  1750 - 1814

1751 Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard"
1751-72 French philosophers Denis Diderot and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert edit Encyclopédie
1754-1763 Seven Years' War (Britain and France vie for control of North American colonies)
1755 Samuel Johnson publishes Dictionary of the English Language (England)
1757 Britain gains control of India
1759 Voltaire's Candide (France)
1763 Treaty of Paris ends Seven Years' War; Britain acquires New France
1769 James Watt patented the steam engine. Beginning of industrialization
1773 Philis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects (New England)
1773 Tea Act and Boston Tea Party (colonial American protest against British trade policy)
1773 Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer (England)
1775 Battle at Lexington-Concord opens the American Revolution with the "shot heard round the world"
1775 First anti-slavery society formed in Philadelphia
1776 Scottish economist Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (describes the invisible hand" of market forces guiding unrestricted capitalist economies)
1776 Second Continental Congress of American colonies adopts the Declaration of Independence
1776 Revolutionary Thomas Paine's Common Sense (Philadelphia)
1781 British commander Lord Cornwallis surrenders to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia; states approve nation's first constitution
1781 German philosopher Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (emphasizes innate rationality of the mind, rather than Locke's idea of a "blank slate")
1786 Robert Burns' Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Scotland)
1787 Political philosophers James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton publish Federalist Papers to defend the Constitution (U.S.)
1788 U.S. Constitution ratified
1789-1799 French Revolution (overthrow of Louis XVI; revolutionary republic established)
1790 First textile factory opens in U.S.
1790 Toussaint-L'Ouverture leads revolution in Haiti
1790 William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (England)
1791 William Bartram's Travels (U.S.)
1792 Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women (England; influential feminist reading of Enlightenment liberalism)
1793 Reign of Terror in France
1793 First Fugitive Slave Law is enacted in U.S.
1793 Cotton gin perfected by Eli Whitney in U.S.; cotton production and plantation slavery expand in American South
1796 Frances Burney's Camilla (England)
1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads (England)
1801 United Kingdom formed
1803 Louisiana Purchase (U.S. President Thomas Jefferson pays France 15 million dollars for vast territory between the Mississippi and the Rockies)
1803 Charles Brockden Brown's Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist (U.S.)
1804-1806 Lewis and Clark explore from St. Louis to the Pacific
1807 German idealist Georg Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (posits the dialectical advancement of human consciousness)
1808-1825 Latin American wars of independence
1810-1826 Rise of democratic suffrage in the U.S.
1812-1814 War of 1812 (Britain and U.S.)
1813 Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (England)
1814 Francis Scott Key writes lyrics for "Star-Spangled Banner" during British attack on Fort McHenry (War of 1812)

Literature Timeline 1815 - 1849

1815 Britain defeats Napoleon at Waterloo, the last battle of the Napoleonic Wars
1815 Philip Freneau's Poems(U.S.)
1815 Folktales collected by the Brothers Grimm (Germany)
1818 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (England)
1819 John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale" (England)
1819 Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" (U.S.)
1819 Lord Byron's Don Juan (England)
1820 Beginning of industrialization in the U.S.
1820 Revolutions in Spain and Greece and the rise of nationalism and liberalism
1821 Mexico declares independence from Spain
1823 James Fenimore Cooper publishes the first of his Leatherstocking tales, The Pioneers (U.S.)
1824 Lydia Maria Child's Hobomok (U.S.)
1826 Sequoyah devises Cherokee alphabet
1827 The first African American newspaper, Freedom's Journal, begins publication in U.S.
1827 Edgar Allan Poe's Tamerlane and Other Poems (U.S.)
1828 The first Native American newspaper, Cherokee Phoenix, begins publication (U.S.)
1831 Nat Turner's slave rebellion, Northampton, Virginia
1831 The History of Mary Prince, first slave narrative published by a black woman in the Americas
1831 William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the abolitionist paper The Liberator (U.S.)
1832 Passage of British Parliamentary Reform Bill makes British Parliament more democratic
1833 Abolition of slavery in the British Empire
1835 British establish English education system and English as language of the courts in India
1836 Texas declares independence from Mexico
1837-1901 Reign of Queen Victoria in Britain
1837-1842 Political rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada; Britain's Union Act (1840) joins the two Canadas and establishes Canadian self-government
1838-1839 "Trail of Tears" Cherokee Indians forced from their homelands by U.S. Federal troops
1839-1842 Opium War (Britain and China; China cedes Hong Kong and is opened to trade)
1840 Transcendentalist Club publishes The Dial with Margaret Fuller as editor (U.S.)
1845 Beginning of the Irish potato famine; massive immigration to the U.S. follows
1845 U.S. annexes Texas
1846-1848 Mexican-American War (raises question of slavery's expansion in Texas and U.S. newly acquired territory of California and New Mexico)
1847 Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (England)
1848 To protest the war with Mexico's support for slavery, Massachusetts writer Henry David Thoreau refuses to pay his poll tax and is arrested; his night in jail occasions the essay "Civil Disobedience"
1848 Karl Marx and Frederich Engels' The Communist Manifesto (England; predicts overthrow of capitalism in a socialist revolution)
1848 Revolutions of 1848 in Europe (France becomes a republic; nationalist movements in Hungary, Italy, and Germany)
1848 Women's Rights convention, Seneca Falls, New York; Declaration of Sentiments signed by delegates including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass
1848 Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights (England)
1849 Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Maryland; she will return to conduct hundreds of others to freedom on the Underground Railroad

Literature Timeline 1850 - 1874

1850 Tennyson's "In Memoriam" (England)
1850 Susan Warner's The Wide, Wide World (U.S.)
1850 U.S. Federal Fugitive Slave Law; African American migration to Canada increases
1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (U.S.)
1851 Herman Melville's Moby Dick (U.S.)
1851 Charles Dickens's Bleak House (England)
1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (U.S.)
1854 Henry David Thoreau's Walden (U.S.)
1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act reopens question of slavery's expansion and raises tension between slave and free states
1854-1856 Crimean War (Britain, France, and Turkey allied against Russia)
1855 Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (U.S.)
1856 Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (France)
1857 Dred Scott decision (U.S. Supreme Court denies citizenship of African Americans, enslaved or free)
1857 Indian rebellion against British
1857 Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Aurora Leigh" (England)
1858 British Parliament assumes control over India from East India Company
1858 Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debates; Lincoln establishes his opposition to the spread of slavery in American territories
1859 Charles Darwin's Origin of Species (England; posits that plant and animal species change over time through natural selection and "survival of the fittest")
1859 Harriet E. Wilson's Our Nig (first published novel by an African American)
1859 John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia; Brown's execution for treason makes him a martyr for the abolitionist cause
1860 Abraham Lincoln elected U.S. president; South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the Union
1861 Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (U.S.)
1861-1865 American Civil War; Union (free North) defeats Confederacy (Southern slave-states)
1862 Homestead Act opens American west to white settlement
1863 Emancipation Proclamation frees slaves in Confederate states
1865 Lincoln assassinated
1865 Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland
1865 Thirteenth Amendment ratified in U.S. (slavery abolished)
1865-1877 Reconstruction of former Confederate States
1866 Civil Rights Act, U.S., gives constitutional rights to African Americans; not enforced after Reconstruction ends
1866 First petition to British Parliament for female suffrage, authored by Richard Marsden Pankhurst
1867 Britain's National Association for Women's Suffrage formed
1867 Canadian Confederation
1868 Fourteenth Amendment promises rights of citizenship to African Americans
1868 Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (U.S.)
1869 Completion of the U.S. transcontinental railway
1869 English philosopher John Stuart Mill makes a classic liberal argument for woman suffrage in The Subjection of Women
1869 National Woman Suffrage Association founded
1870 Bret Harte's The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Sketches (U.S.)
1871 George Eliot's Middlemarch (England)
1872 Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market" (England)
1872 U.S. suffragist Susan B. Anthony arrested for trying to vote
1873 U.S. Comstock Laws prohibit use of, and distribution of information about, abortion or contraceptives
1873-1877 Global economic depression
1873 Women's Christian Temperance Union founded

Literature Timeline 1875 - 1914

1875 Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina
1876 Battle of Little Bighorn between U.S. Cavalry and Sioux
1877 Reconstruction ends with the withdrawal of federal troops and the de facto disenfranchising of black voters across the American South
1880 George Washington Cable's Old Creole Days (U.S.)
1880 Henry Adams' Democracy, An American Novel (U.S.)
1881 Frederick Douglass' Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (U.S.)
1882 U.S. excludes Chinese immigrants
1884 Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (U.S.)
1884-1885 Berlin Conference (U.S. and European powers plan colonizing of West Africa)
1885 William Dean Howells' The Rise of Silas Lapham (U.S.)
1886 German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil
1886 American Federation of Labor established; Haymarket Riot
1886 Cuba abolishes slavery
1888 Brazil abolishes slavery
1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, destroys remaining power of Plains tribes
1890 Emily Dickinson's Poems (U.S.; published posthumously)
1891 Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (England)
1891 Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's A New England Nun and Other Stories (U.S.)
1892 Frances E. W. Harper's Iola Leroy (U.S.)
1893 Hawaii becomes a U.S. territory
1894 Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Books (England)
1895 Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (England)
1895 Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (U.S.)
1895-1898 Spanish-American War in Cuba, Philippines
1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson decision; U.S. Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of racial segregation ("Jim Crow") laws
1896-1899 Kate Chopin's The Awakening (U.S.)
1899 Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"(U.S.)
1899 Frank Norris' McTeague (U.S.)
1900 Zitkala-Sa's "Impressions of an Indian Childhood," "The School Days of an Indian Girl," and "An Indian Teacher among Indians"(U.S.)
1900 Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams sets out tenets of modern psychoanalysis
1900 Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (U.S.)
1902 Rise of feminist movements in Europe
1903 W.E.B. DuBois' The Soul of Black Folks (U.S.)
1903 Henry James' The Ambassadors (U.S.)
1903 Wright brothers make first successful airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
1903 Jack London, The Call of the Wild (U.S.)
1905 Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (U.S.)
1906 Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (U.S.)
1907 J.M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World (England)
1908 Henry Ford introduces the Model T automobile
1908 E.M. Forster's A Room with a View (England)
1909 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) founded in U.S.
1909 Gertrude Stein's Three Lives (U.S.)
1910-1920 Mexican Revolution
1910-1913 British philosophers Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead's Principia Mathematica argues for the reduction of mathematics (and ultimately other systems of knowledge) to logic
1913 Willa Cather's O Pioneers! (U.S.)
1913 D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (England)
1914 Home Rule bill passed by British Parliament; opens the way for Irish independence from Britain

Literature Timeline 1914-1939

1915 W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage (England)
1914-1918 World War I
1916 Suffrage granted to women in Canada (except Quebec, 1940)
1916 Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems (U.S.)
1917 U.S. enters WWI
1917 Russian Revolution (Nicholas II overthrown; Bolsheviks seize power)
1918 Suffrage granted to British women
1918 Wilfred Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est" (England)
1919 Treaty of Versailles ends World War I
1919 Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio (U.S.)
1919 Ezra Pound's Quia Pauper Amavi (U.S.)
1920 Nineteenth Amendment gives American women the right to vote
1919-1920 U.S. Attorney General Mitchell Palmer's raids against suspected communists; first "Red Scare"
1920 Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones (U.S.)
1921 Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League
1921 Marianne Moore's Poems (U.S.)
1921 John Dos Passos' Three Soldiers(U.S.)
1922 Fascist Benito Mussolini takes power in Italy
1922 U.S.S.R. formed under Marxist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin
1922 T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" (U.S.)
1922 James Joyce's Ulysses (Ireland)
1922-1930 India's nationalist Mahatma Gandhi imprisoned for six years for leading civil disobedience against British rule
1923 George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan (England)
1923 Jean Toomer's Cane (U.S.)
1923 William Carlos Williams' Spring and All (U.S.)
1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (U.S.)
1925 Franz Kafka's The Trial (Austria)
1926 Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (U.S.)
1926 Langston Hughes' The Weary Blues (U.S.)
1927 Joseph Stalin assumes full power in Russia
1927 Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse (England)
1928 Nella Larsen's Quicksand (U.S.)
1928 William Butler Yeats' "The Tower "(Ireland)
1928 Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
1929 Stock market crash in U.S.
1929 William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (U.S.)
1929 Countee Cullen's Black Christ and Other Poems (U.S.)
1929 Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel (U.S.)
1929-1939 Worldwide economic depression
1930 Rise of Fascist Nazi party in Germany under Adolph Hitler
1930 Noel Coward's Private Lives(England)
1931 Indian Nationalist movement revived by Gandhi-led Salt March
1933 Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany
1933 Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (U.S.)
1933-1937 New Deal in U.S. under President Franklin Roosevelt establishes far-reaching social and economic reforms to combat Great Depression
1934 Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust (England)
1935 Nuremberg laws deprive German Jews of citizenship
1936 Djuna Barnes' Nightwood (U.S.)
1936-1939 Height of Stalin's purges in U.S.S.R.; millions perish
1936-1938 Spanish Civil War; right-wing Nationalist General Franco takes power
1937 Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (U.S.)
1938 Graham Greene's Brighton Rock (England)
1939 Germany and Soviet Union invade Poland; Soviet Union invades Finland
1939-1945 World War II
1939 John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath (U.S.)

Literature Timeline 1940-1959

1940 Richard Wright's Native Son (U.S.)
1940 Dylan Thomas' Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (Wales)
1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor
1941 U.S. enters WWII
1942 Roosevelt authorizes internment of Japanese Americans
1942 Congress on Racial Equality founded (U.S.; leads first sit-ins to protest segregation)
1942 Albert Camus' The Stranger (France)
1942-1945 Holocaust; 6 million Jews, along with gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, and others killed
1942 "Rosie the Riveter" image popularizes women working in war-time industry. In the U.S. during WWII, 6 million women enter the paid workforce, 3 million of them in manufacturing jobs
1943 French Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness
1944 D-Day (Allied landing at Normandy, France)
1944 Austrian philosopher Karl Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies attacks totalitarianism and the approach to history used to justify it
1945 Formation of United Nations (U.S.)
1945 George Orwell's Animal Farm (England)
1945 U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrenders
1946-1974 Decolonization of Africa and Asia
1947 India gains independence from Britain; division of India to create Pakistan
1947 Truman Doctrine promises U.S. support for "free peoples everywhere" struggling against Communism
1947 Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (U.S.)
1948 Apartheid racial segregation deepens in South Africa
1948 Marshall Plan provides U.S. funding to rebuild economies of western European nations
1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established
1949 Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (U.S.)
1949 French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex establishes the theoretical foundation for modern feminism
1949 Communist victory in China led by Mao Tse-tung
1950 Gwendolyn Brooks is the first African American woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize
1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy launches accusations of communist infiltration in U.S. government; second "Red Scare"
1950-1953 Korean War; U.S. leads United Nations forces, supporting South Korea against communist North Korea
1951 J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (U.S.)
1952 Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot; 1st performed, 1953
1952 Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (U.S.)
1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision finds segregation in U.S. public education unconstitutional
1954 William Golding's The Lord of the Flies (England)
1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott begins in support of Rosa Parks; Montgomery's Martin Luther King, Jr. forms the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (civil rights group)
1956 Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems (U.S.)
1957 Sputnik (first artificial satellite) launched by U.S.S.R; U.S./ U.S.S.R. "space race" ensues
1957 Ghana becomes the first independent African nation
1957 Jack Kerouac's On the Road (U.S.)
1957 Little Rock, Arkansas school desegregation crisis
1958 South Africa becomes independent from Great Britain
1958 Iris Murdoch's The Bell (England)
1959 Castro leads Cuban Revolution
1959 Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Canada)

Literature Timeline 1960-1979

1960 African American college students in Greensboro, N.C. protest segregation with sit-ins at Woolworth's lunch counter; Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) founded
1960 John Updike's Rabbit Run (U.S.)
1960 Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter (England)
1960 Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (U.S.)
1960s Civil Rights movement in U.S.
1960s Eighteen African nations become established as independent states
1960s Re-emergence of feminism in North America and Western Europe
1961 Berlin Wall divides the city into east (Communist) and west (democratic) sectors; built by Communist East Germany to stop flow of refugees to the west
1962 Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange (England)
1962 Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?(U.S.)
1963 Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique sparks revival of U.S. feminism
1963 U.S. President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Texas
1963 Civil Rights March on Washington; Martin Luther King makes "I have a dream" speech
1963 Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar (U.S.)
1964 Anne Sexton's Selected Poems (U.S.)
1964 Amari Baraka's The Dutchman (U.S.)
1964 Civil Rights Act, U.S. promises to end long-standing racial discrimination in education, public accommodations, and federal programs
1965 Voting Rights Act, U.S. gives the Justice Department power to protect constitutional voting rights in districts where black voters had been historically disenfranchised
1965 James Baldwin's Going to Meet the Man (U.S.)
1965-1973 Cultural Revolution in China (attempt to purge traditional culture deemed a danger to communism)
1965-1974 U.S. and Vietnam War
1966 Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (England)
1966 Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (Dominica)
1966 National Organization for Women (NOW) founded, U.S.
1967 Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude
1968 Martin Luther King assassinated in Tennessee
1968-1973 U.S. students across the country protest Vietnam War
1969 U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong walks on moon
1969 Woodstock Music and Art Festival held near Woodstock, New York
1969 Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five (U.S.)
1969 N. Scott Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain (U.S.)

1969 Margaret Drabble's The Waterfall (England)
1969 John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman (England)
1970 Robertson Davies' Fifth Business (Canada)
1973 Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (U.S)
1974 Ted Hughes' Season Songs (England)
1974 Margaret Laurence's The Diviners (Canada)
1974 U.S. President Richard Nixon resigns in Watergate scandal
1975 Nikki Giovanni's The Women and the Men (U.S)
1975 Ntozake Shange's for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (U.S.)
1975 E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime (U.S.)
1975-1998 Spread of democratic regimes in Latin America
1977 Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony (U.S.)
1979 Rise of Margaret Thatcher and new conservatism in Britain
1979 Seamus Heaney's Fieldwork (Ireland)

Literature Timeline 1980-2000

1980 Rise of Ronald Reagan and conservatism in U.S.
1981 D.M. Thomas' The White Hotel (England)
1981 Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (England)
1982 Equal Rights Amendment (constitutional guarantee of equality for women) fails ratification
1982 Alice Walker's The Color Purple (U.S.)
1982 Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family (Canada)
1982 Bobby Ann Mason's Shiloh and Other Stories (U.S)
1982 Caryl Churchill's Top Girls (England)
1983 Graham Swift's Waterland (England)
1983 David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (U.S.)
1984 Julian Barnes's Flaubert's Parrot (England)
1984 Julia Alvarez's Homecoming (U.S.)
1984 Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac (England)
1985 Gorbachev leads Soviet Union and declares glasnost and perestroika policies
1985 Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (Canada)
1985 Doris Lessing's The Good Terrorist (Zimbabwe)
1987 August Wilson's Fences (U.S.)
1987 Toni Morrison's Beloved (U.S.)
1987 Nadine Gordimer's A Sport of Nature (South Africa)
1989 Berlin Wall comes down; Communist government in East Germany collapses
1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre in China; government crushes pro-democracy demonstrators
1989-1990 End of Cold War and rise of new regimes in Eastern Europe
1990 Internet introduced
1990 A.S. Byatt's Possession (England)
1990 Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (U.S.)
1990 Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried (U.S.)
1991 Persian Gulf War (U.S.-led coalition against Iraq, sparked by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait)
1991 Soviet Union dissolved
1992 Race riots in Los Angeles following Rodney King case verdict
1993 Toni Morrison is the first African American to win Nobel Prize for Literature
1993 Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (Ireland)
1994 First democratic elections in South Africa; Nelson Mandela is elected President.
1995 Genocide in Rwanda
1996 Anne-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees (Canada)
1997 Britain returns Hong Kong to China
1998 Ian McEwan's Amsterdam (England)
1999 Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief (Canada)
2000 V.S. Naipaul's Half a Life (Trinidad)






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