1900 in literature
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The year 1900 in literature involved some significant new books and publications, as well as the deaths of several highly prominent writers, including among them the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the controversial Irish wit Oscar Wilde. Wilde died in Paris, aged only 46, of cerebral meningitis, his health destroyed by prison and poverty; his enemy, the Marquess of Queensberry, had preceded him by eleven months; Lord Alfred Douglas had another 45 years to live.
The highly influential American author L. Frank Baum wrote the first and most famous of his Oz books, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in 1900. The book would later go on to be translated into hundreds of languages, distributed worldwide, and come to be part of American popular culture for decades, as well as inspire an equally successful and memorable 1939 screening, along with numerous other adaptations.
The year marked several publications on the literarily influential Boer Wars: Winston Churchill, the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a major Allied political figure in World War II penned a memoir, Ian Hamilton's March, describing his experiences accompanying the British army during the Second Boer War, and Arthur Conan Doyle (famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes) wrote on the subject in his The Great Boer War.
Zelda Sayre, the future American novelist and wife of fellow writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was born on July 24; Margaret Mitchell, who would become known as the author of Gone With the Wind, was born little more than 3 months later.
- May - Rainer Maria Rilke makes his second visit to Russia in the company of Lou Andreas-Salomé and her husband.
- May 17 - L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is published in Chicago, the first of Baum's Oz books chronicling the fictional Land of Oz for children.
- June 24 - During the Boxer Rebellion, the Hanlin Academy in Peking, housing "the oldest and richest library in the world", catches fire and is destroyed.
- June 25 - Taoist monk Wang Yuanlu discovers the Dunhuang manuscripts in the sealed "Library Cave" or "Cave for Preserving Scriptures", no. 17 of the Mogao Caves in north-west China.
- July 1 - Net Book Agreement comes into force in the U.K: publishers will supply booksellers only on condition that they will not retail books at a discounted rate.
- Ermete Novelli establishes the "Casa di Goldoni", a new theatre, at Rome, in imitation of the Comédie Française.
- Release of the first film version of Hamlet, an adaptation of the duel scene, with French actress Sarah Bernhardt playing the title rôle (sic.)
- Making of the first film to feature the detective character Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Baffled, by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
- L. Frank Baum
- Pío Baroja — The House of Aizgorri (Spanish: La casa de Aizgorri, first of trilogy The Basque Country (La Tierra Vasca), 1900–1909)
- Mary Elizabeth Braddon — The Infidel
- Ernest Bramah — The Wallet of Kai Lung
- Gelett Burgess — Goops, and How to Be Them (1st Goops book)
- Colette — Claudine at School (French: Claudine à l'école)
- Joseph Conrad — Lord Jim
- Marie Corelli — The Master Christian
- Louis Couperus
- Stephen Crane — Whilomville Stories
- Gabriele D'Annunzio — The Flame of Life (Italian: Il Fuoco)
- Theodore Dreiser — Sister Carrie
- Robert Grant — Unleavened Bread
- Maurice Hewlett — The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay
- Jerome K. Jerome — Three Men on the Bummel
- Andrew Lang — The Grey Fairy Book
- Octave Mirbeau — The Diary of a Chambermaid (French: Le Journal d'une femme de chambre)
- Bradford C. Peck — The World a Department Store
- I. L. Peretz — "Oyb Nisht Nokh Hekher" ("If not Higher"; short story)
- Emilio Salgari — The Tigers of Mompracem (Italian: Le tigri di Mompracem)
- Henryk Sienkiewicz — The Teutonic Knights (Polish: Krzyżacy)
- Booth Tarkington — Monsieur Beaucaire
- Frederik van Eeden — Van de koele meren des doods
- Jules Verne
- Mary Augusta Ward — Eleanor
- H. G. Wells — Love and Mr Lewisham
- Mary E. Wilkins Freeman — The Heart's Highway
- Samuel Marinus Zwemer — Arabia: The Cradle of Islam
- José Echegaray — El loco Dios ("The madman divine")
- Herman Heijermans — Op Hoop van Zegen
- James Herne — Sag Harbor
- George Bernard Shaw — Captain Brassbound's Conversion
- Arthur Schnitzler — La Ronde (German: Reigen; privately printed)
- August Strindberg
- Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900 (edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch)
- G. K. Chesterton — The Wild Knight and Other Poems
- Sir Walter Scott, Bart., posthumously edited by Andrew Lang — The Poems and Ballads
- Ismail Hossain Shiraji — Anal Prabaha
- William "Cocktail" Boothby — The World's Drinks And How To Mix Them
- Winston Churchill
- Arthur Conan Doyle — The Great Boer War
- Sigmund Freud — The Interpretation of Dreams
- Andrew Lang
- A History of Scotland, vol. 1
- Prince Charles Edward
- Joaquim Nabuco — My Formation (Portuguese: Minha formação)
- The Nuttall Encyclopaedia (edited by James Wood)
Among the most important literary births during the turn of the 19th century were those of Margaret Mitchell and Zelda Fitzgerald, the former of which would go on to pen one of the most successful novels of all time, Gone With the Wind, published in 1936. The work sparked various highly acclaimed adaptations.
A list, ordered by date of birth (and, if the date is either unspecified or repeated, ordered alphabetically by surname) of births in 1900 of literary figures, authors of written works or literature-related individuals follows, including nationality and year of birth. More prominent figures are bolded:
- January 9 – Emmanuel D'Astier, French journalist (died 1969)
- January 15 – William Heinesen, Faroese writer (died 1991)
- February 4 – Jacques Prévert, French poet (died 1977)
- February 19 – Giorgos Seferis, Greek poet (died 1971)
- February 22 – Seán Ó Faoláin, Irish short story writer (died 1991)
- March 7 – Benn Levy, English playwright and politician (died 1973)
- March 15 – Gilberto Freyre, Brazilian author (died 1987)
- April 19 – Richard Hughes, English novelist (died 1976)
- April 22 – Vyvyan Adams, British author and politician (died 1951)
- April 24 – Elizabeth Goudge, English novelist and children's author (died 1984)
- May 1 – Ignazio Silone, Italian author and politician (died 1978)
- May 24 – Eduardo De Filippo, Italian author (died 1984)
- June 11 – Leopoldo Marechal, Argentine writer (died 1970)
- June 25 – Gerald Drayson Adams, English screenwriter (died 1988)
- June 29 – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French novelist (died 1944)
- July 2 – Tyrone Guthrie, British-born theatrical director (died 1971)
- July 18 – Nathalie Sarraute, Russian-born Francophone lawyer and writer (died 1999)
- July 24 – Zelda Fitzgerald, American author and wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald (died 1948)
- September 7 – Taylor Caldwell, Anglo-American novelist (died 1985)
- September 9 – James Hilton, English novelist (died 1954)
- October 16 – Edward Ardizzone, English children's writer and illustrator (died 1979)
- November 8 – Margaret Mitchell, American Gone with the Wind author (died 1949)
- November 19 – Anna Seghers, German writer (died 1983)
- December 8 – Ants Oras, Estonian writer (died 1982)
- December 16 – V. S. Pritchett, English short story writer (died 1997)
The year involved the deaths of at least several highly prominent writers, including: The late poet Oscar Wilde (a "celebrity" poet in late-19th century western European society), the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (critical and acclaimed philologist of Weimar Classicism and one of the most famous German thinkers), the English poet Ernest Dowson (marking the death of one of the last notable poets of the Decadent movement), John Ruskin (one of the most important historical art critics and an influential essayist), Francišak Bahuševič (a literary pioneer of New Belarusian literature), Stephen Crane, R. D. Blackmore and José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, often considered the greatest Portuguese writer in the realist style.
A list, ordered by date of death (and, if the date is either unspecified or repeated, ordered alphabetically by surname) of deaths in 1900 of literary figures, authors of written works or literature-related individuals follows, including nationality and year of birth. More prominent figures are bolded:
- January 19 – William Larminie, Irish poet and folklorist (born 1849)
- January 20 – Richard Doddridge Blackmore, English novelist (born 1825)
- January 25 – Frederick H. Chapin, American author and explorer (born 1852)
- January 29 – John Ruskin, English art critic, social thinker and poet (born 1819)
- January 31 – John Sholto Douglas, Scottish nobleman and nemesis of Oscar Wilde (born 1844)
- February 6 – Elijah Benamozegh, Italian spiritual writer, major Kaballist figure and rabbi (born 1822)
- February 11 – Michael Bodkin, Irish real-world inspiration to famous writer James Joyce (born 1879)
- February 14 – Giovanni Canestrini, Italian scientist, essayist and prolific translator (born 1835)
- February 18 – Eugenio Beltrami, Italian mathematician, theorist and mathematics writer (born 1835)
- February 23 – Ernest Dowson, English poet and novelist (born 1867)
- March 11 – Joseph Louis François Bertrand, French professor and mathematics writer (born 1822)
- March 30 – David Léon Cahun, French Orientalist and writer (born 1841)
- April 12 – James Richard Cocke, American author and hypnotherapy pioneer (born 1863)
- April 21 – Charles Beecher, American composer, minister and prolific writer (born 1815)
- April 23 – Charles Isaac Elton, English historian, politician and writer (born 1839)
- April 27 – Francišak Bahuševič, Belarusian poet, writer and lawyer (born 1840)
- April 30 – George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, Scottish politician and writer (born 1823)
- May 4 – Hugo Badalić, Croatian writer and professor (born 1851)
- May 20 – André Léo, French novelist and journalist (born 1824)
- June 2 – Clarence Cook, American author and art critic (born 1828)
- June 3 – Mary Kingsley, English travel writer and explorer (born 1862)
- June 4 – Edwards Amasa Park, American theologian, pastor and writer (born 1808)
- June 5 – Stephen Crane, American writer, journalist and poet (born 1871)
- June 19 – Salvador Camacho, Colombian economist, politician and writer (born 1827)
- July 3 – Fernand Brouez, Belgian editor and founder of La Société Nouvelle (born 1861)
- July 22 – Lucius E. Chittenden, American writer and Lincoln administration member (born 1824)
- July 29 – Henry Spencer Ashbee, English book collector, writer and bibliographer (born 1834)
- August 2 – Sydney Robert Bellingham, Irish Canadian journalist, lawyer, and politician (born 1808)
- August 16 – José Maria de Eça de Queiroz, Portuguese novelist (born 1845)
- August 25 – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher and philologist (born 1844)
- August 28 – Henry Sidgwick, English philosopher (born 1838)
- September 18 – Anne Beale, Welsh novelist and poet (born 1816)
- September 29 – Samuel Fenton Cary, American author and notable prohibitionist (born 1814)
- October 13 – Louis Adolphe Cochery, French journalist and politician (born 1819)
- October 27 – James Henry Bowker, South African co-author of South African Butterflies (born 1822)
- November 12 – Thomas Arnold the Younger, English literary scholar (born 1823)
- November 16 – Isidore Barthe, French Canadian journalist, publisher, and translator (born 1834)
- November 27 – David Carnegie, Australian explorer and travel writer (born 1871)
- November 30 – Oscar Wilde, Irish celebrity, poet, dramatist and short story writer (born 1854)
- December 15 – Charles Cotesworth Beaman, American lawyer and author (born 1840)
- December 30 – Henry Ames Blood, American poet, dramatist and historian (born 1836)
- December 31 – Oscar Alin, Swedish historian, politician and author (born 1846)
- date unknown
- Tavis, Anna A. (1997). Rilke's Russia: A Cultural Encounter. Northwestern University Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-8101-1466-6.
- Davis, Donald G.; Huanwen, Cheng, Destruction Of Chinese Books in the Peking Siege Of 1900, International Federation of Library Association, retrieved 2008-10-26
- Leavis, Q. D. (1965). Fiction and the Reading Public (rev. ed.). London: Chatto & Windus.
- "Arabia: The Cradle of Islam". World Digital Library. 1900. Retrieved 2013-09-21.