1868 in literature
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The year 1868 in literature involved some significant literary events and new works.
- January – Émile Zola defends his first major novel, Thérèse Raquin (1867), against charges of pornography and corruption of morals.
- January 4–August 8 – Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Moonstone: a Romance is serialised in All the Year Round (U.K.), being published in book format in July by Tinsley Brothers of London. It is considered as a precursor of full-length mystery fiction (with its introduction of the police detective Sergeant Cuff) and the psychological thriller.
- April 29 – The Court of King's Bench (England) decides on appeal the legal case Regina v. Hicklin on interpretation of the word "obscene" in the Obscene Publications Act 1857, applying the "Hicklin test": that any part of a publication with a "tendency ... to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall" makes the whole publication obscene, regardless of the author's intentions.
- November – Robert Browning's narrative poem The Ring and the Book begins its four-part publication by Smith, Elder & Co. in London. It is a substantial commercial and critical success.
- December – The Globe Theatre (Newcastle Street) in London opens with the première of the recently bankrupted Henry James Byron's semi-autobiographical comedy Cyril's Success.
- First edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts is published by the New York World.
- Norman MacLeod, editor of Good Words (U.K.), begins publishing its companion juvenile version, Good Words for the Young. The first issue begins the serial publication of George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind.
- John William De Forest, writing for The Nation, calls for a more specifically American literature; the essay's title, "The Great American Novel", is the first known use of the term.
- First substantial translation into English from Dream of the Red Chamber is made by Edward Charles Bowra.
- Tauchnitz publishers of Leipzig begin their Collection of German Authors, an authorized series of cheap paperback reprints.
- Louisa May Alcott – Little Women
- R. M. Ballantyne – Deep Down
- Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Dead-Sea Fruit
- Mortimer Collins – Sweet Anne Page
- Wilkie Collins – The Moonstone
- Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Idiot
- Émile Gaboriau – Slaves of Paris
- Hermann Goedsche – Biarritz
- Bret Harte – The Luck of Roaring Camp
- Sheridan Le Fanu – Haunted Lives
- George MacDonald – Robert Falconer
- Hesba Stretton – Little Meg's children
- Jules Verne – In Search of the Castaways
- Émile Zola – Madeleine Ferat
- Samson Bodnărescu – Rienzi
- Aleksandr Ostrovsky – Na vsyakogo mudretsa dovolno prostoty
- Hendrik Jan Schimmel – Struensee
- Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy – Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich
- World Almanac (first edition)
- February 23 – W. E. B. Du Bois, African American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author and editor (died 1963)
- March 28 – Maxim Gorky, Russian novelist and dramatist (died 1936)
- April 1 – Edmond Rostand, French poet and novelist (died 1918)
- May 6 – Gaston Leroux, French journalist and novelist (died 1927)
- May 7 – Stanisław Przybyszewski, Polish novelist, dramatist and poet (died 1927)
- July 10 – Afevork Ghevre Jesus, Ethiopian novelist and linguist (died 1947)
- August 6 – Paul Claudel, French poet, dramatist and diplomat (died 1955)
- September 14
- October 18 – Ernst Didring, Swedish novelist (died 1931)
- December 19 – Eleanor H. Porter, American novelist (died 1920)
- March 8 – Jón Thoroddsen elder, Icelandic novelist, 48 or 49
- June 6 – Daniel Pierce Thompson, American novelist and lawyer, 72
- June 18 – Charles Harpur, Australian poet, 55 (tuberculosis)
- July 30 – Mihály Tompa, Hungarian lyric poet, 48
- August 24 – Constantin Negruzzi, Romanian poet, novelist, translator, playwright and politician, 60
- August 25 – Jacob van Lennep, Dutch poet and novelist, 66
- September 24 – Henry Hart Milman, English historian, 77
- October 18 – Mongkut, King of Siam, subject of the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, 63
- November 30 – August Blanche, Swedish journalist, novelist and statesman, 57 (heart attack)
- Ferragus (23 January 1868). "La littérature putride". Le Figaro (Paris).
- Allingham, Philip V. (2007-06-08). "Wilkie Collins The Moonstone in Serial and Triple-Decker Publication". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- T. S. Eliot calls it "the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels in a genre invented by Collins". David, Deirdre (2001). The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel. Cambridge University Press. p. 179.
- Regina v. Hicklin#Decision. Wikisource.
- Ducat, Craig R. (2008-02-29). Constitutional Interpretation: Rights of the individual. Cengage Learning. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-495-50324-8. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- Browning, Robert (2004). Karlin, Daniel, ed. Selected Poems. Penguin. p. 11.
- Thornbury, Walter (1897). Chapter 4. Old and New London 3. pp. 32 –35. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- "The World Almanac". Retrieved 2013-02-12.
- DeForest, John (9 January 1868). "The Great American Novel". The Nation (New York). Retrieved 2010-10-11.