1920 in literature
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In poetry: 1917 1918 1919 -1920- 1921 1922 1923
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The year 1920 in literature involved some significant events and new books.
- February 2 – Beyond the Horizon, Eugene O'Neill's first full-length play, opens at a special matinee at the Morosco Theatre in New York City – partly as an experiment on the part of the producer, partly to quiet the pleading of actor Richard Bennett who has demanded a chance to play the lead role. Reviewers hail the play and O'Neill becomes famous.
- March 26 – This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald is published. It is a sensation, immediately establishing Fitzgerald as a writer and celebrity; the initial print run of 3,000 copies sells out in 3 days. Though the book's reputation will dim in later years, Dorothy Parker will recall that it was regarded as an innovative work when it first appeared.
- April – Hart Crane publishes his poem "My Grandmother's Love Letters" in The Dial. This is his first real step towards recognition as a poet.
- April 3 – F. Scott Fitzgerald marries Zelda Sayre in the rectory of St. Patrick's Cathedral (Manhattan).
- October – Agatha Christie's first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, is published in the United States, introducing the long-running Belgian detective character, Hercule Poirot, in an English country house setting.
- November 1 – Eugene O'Neill's play, The Emperor Jones, is staged at at the Playwright's Theater in New York City with Charles Sidney Gilpin in the title role.
- November 9 – D. H. Lawrence's novel Women in Love is first published, in a limited subscribers' edition in the United States.
- December 23 – Arthur Schnitzler's play Reigen (La Ronde, 1900) first receives an authorized performance, in Berlin, receiving strong criticism on moral and antisemitic grounds.
- Publication in Prague of Karel Čapek's drama R.U.R: Rossum's Universal Robots, introducing the word Robot to the world.
- Publication in Paris of the first volume of the Collection Budé, providing editions of Classical texts with parallel French translation, Plato's Hippias Minor (Hippias Mineur).
- Van Wyck Brooks publishes The Ordeal of Mark Twain, arguing that Twain's genius was perverted by the conditions and culture of late 19th-century America. This is the beginning of the reassessment of Mark Twain, who until this point had been regarded primarily as a humorous entertainer. The 1920s will force a reconsideration of many 19th-century writers, most importantly Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson.
- Sherwood Anderson – Poor White
- L. Frank Baum – Glinda of Oz
- E. F. Benson – Queen Lucia
- Marjorie Bowen – The Burning Glass
- Rhoda Broughton – A Fool in Her Folly
- Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan the Untamed
- Agatha Christie – The Mysterious Affair at Styles (first Hercule Poirot mystery)
- Colette – Chéri
- Joseph Conrad – The Rescue
- William Aubrey Darlington – Alf's Button
- Miguel de Unamuno
- Tres novelas ejemplares y un prólogo ("Three Exemplary Novels and a prologue")
- Tulio Montalbán
- Alfred Döblin – Wallenstein
- John Dos Passos – Three Soldiers
- F. Scott Fitzgerald – This Side Of Paradise
- Robert Frost – Mountain Interval
- Zona Gale – Miss Lulu Bett
- John Galsworthy – In Chancery and Awakening
- Edgar Jepson – The Loudwater Mystery
- D. H. Lawrence – Women in Love
- Sinclair Lewis – Main Street
- David Lindsay – A Voyage to Arcturus
- Hugh Lofting – The Story of Doctor Dolittle
- H. L. Mencken – Prejudices: Second Series
- E. Phillips Oppenheim – The Great Impersonation
- Dowell Philip O'Reilly – Five Corners
- Sigrid Undset – The Bridal Wreath
- Mary Augusta Ward – Harvest
- Edith Wharton – The Age of Innocence
- Owen Wister – A Straight Deal
- Zara Wright – Black and White Tangled Threads
- Karel Čapek – R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
- Nikolai Evreinov – The Storming of the Winter Palace
- John Galsworthy – The Skin Game
- Georg Kaiser – Gas II
- Vladimir Mayakovsky – The Championship of the Universal Class Struggle
- Eugene O'Neill – The Emperor Jones
- Ernst Toller – Man and Masses
- Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz – They
- Louis Aragon – Feu de joie
- Edmund Blunden – The Waggoner and Other Poems
- Robert Bridges – October and Other Poems
- Miguel de Unamuno – El Cristo de Velázquez
- T. S. Eliot – Poems (Twelve poems including "Lune de Miel" and "The Hippopotamus")
- Robert Frost – Miscellaneous Poems
- Aaro Hellaakoski – Me Kaksi
- Wilfred Owen – Poems (posthumous collection)
- Ezra Pound – Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
- Carl Sandburg – Smoke and Steel
- Siegfried Sassoon – Picture Show
- Edna St. Vincent Millay – A Few Figs From Thistles
- Georg Trakl – Der Herbst des Einsamen
- Valour and Vision: Poems of the War, 1914-1918 (anthology)
- Sigmund Freud – Beyond the Pleasure Principle
- William Inge – The Idea of Progress
- Harold Monro – Some Contemporary Poets (1920)
- Frederick Jackson Turner — The Frontier in American History
- H. G. Wells – The Outline of History
- January 2 (probable date) – Isaac Asimov, Russian-born American acience-fiction author and biochemist (died 1992)
- January 14
- January 24 – Keith Douglas, English poet (died 1944)
- February 11 – Daniel F. Galouye, American science-fiction author (died 1976)
- February 19 – Jaan Kross, Estonian writer (died 2007)
- February 21 – Ishigaki Rin, Japanese poet (died 2004)
- February 29 – Howard Nemerov, American poet (died 1991)
- March 10 – Boris Vian, French novelist (died 1959)
- March 11 – D. J. Enright, English writer (died 2002)
- April 5 – Arthur Hailey, English-born novelist (died 2004)
- June 8 – Gwen Harwood, Australian poet (died 1995)
- June 18 – Rosemary Dobson, Australian poet
- June 20 – Amos Tutuola, Nigerian writer (died 1997)
- July 12 – Pierre Berton, Canadian author (died 2004)
- August 3 – P. D. James, English crime novelist
- August 4 – John Figueroa, Jamaican poet (died 1999)
- August 9 – Tormod Skagestad, Norwegian poet, novelist, playwright, actor and theatre director (died 1997)
- August 16 – Charles Bukowski, American writer (died 1994)
- August 18 – Harbhajan Singh, Punjabi poet and critic (died 2002)
- August 21 – Christopher Robin Milne, English inspiration for Christopher Robin, bookseller and writer (died 1996)
- August 22 – Ray Bradbury, American science-fiction writer (died 2012)
- October 8 – Frank Herbert, American science-fiction author (died 1986)
- October 15 – Mario Puzo, American author of The Godfather (died 1999)
- November 23 – Paul Celan, Romanian poet (died 1970)
- December 15 – Albert Memmi, Tunisian writer
- December 20 – Väinö Linna, Finnish author (died 1992)
- January 2 – Paul Adam, French novelist (born 1862)
- January 4 – Benito Pérez Galdós, Spanish novelist (born 1843))
- January 18 – Giovanni Capurro, Italian poet (born 1825)
- February 8 – Richard Dehmel, German poet (died 1863)
- March 15 – Edith Holden, English diarist and illustrator (born 1871) (drowned)
- March 26 – Mary Augusta Ward, novelist (born 1851)
- May 11 – William Dean Howells, American writer (born 1837)
- May 21 – Eleanor H. Porter, American novelist (born 1868)
- June 5
- June 14 – Max Weber, German political economist (born 1864)
- June 27 – Adolphe Basile Routhier, Canadian poet (born 1839)
- September 29 – José Domingo Gómez Rojas, Chilean poet (born 1896; meningitis)
- October 19 – John Reed, American journalist (born 1887)
- November 9 – Alberto Blest Gana, Chilean novelist (born 1830)
- November 22 – Manuel Pérez y Curis, Uruguayan poet (born 1884)
- November 24 – Alexandru Macedonski, Wallachia n-born Romanian poet, novelist and dramatist (born 1854)
- December 18 – Matthías Jochumsson, Icelandic poet, playwright and translator (born 1835)
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: D. H. Lawrence, The Lost Girl
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: G. M. Trevelyan, Lord Grey of the Reform Bill
- Nobel Prize for Literature: Knut Hamsun
- Pulitzer Prize for the Novel: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Eugene O'Neill, Beyond the Horizon
- Asimov, Isaac (September 1979). "The Vocabulary of Science Fiction". Asimov's Science Fiction.
- Zunt, Dominik (2004). "Who did actually invent the word "robot" and what does it mean?". Karel Čapek (1890-1938). Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- Auster, Paul, (ed.) (1982). The Random House Book of Twentieth-Century French Poetry, with Translations by American and British Poets. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-394-52197-8.