1955 in literature
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In poetry: 1952 1953 1954 -1955- 1956 1957 1958
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The year 1955 in literature involved some significant literary events and new books.
- April 16 - U.K. theatrical release of Sir Laurence Olivier's film version of Shakespeare's Richard III.
- July 30 - English poet Philip Larkin, having taken up the post of University Librarian at the University of Hull at the beginning of the year, makes a train journey from Hull to Grantham which inspires his poem The Whitsun Weddings. His collection The Less Deceived is published at the end of the year.
- August 3 - English language premiere of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot, directed by Peter Hall, opens at the Arts Theatre, London.
- August 27 - First hardback edition of The Guinness Book of Records published in London.
- September - Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is published in Paris; however, it takes until 1958 to be published in the United States.
- November 28 - Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll receives its stage première by the Union Theatre Repertory Company in Melbourne with the playwright in a leading rôle; this is influential as the first authentically naturalistic modern drama in the theatre of Australia.
- An article in the British Journal of Education criticises the novels of Enid Blyton as formula fiction.
- Jorge Luis Borges is appointed Director of the National Library of the Argentine Republic.
- Jean Cocteau is elected to both the Académie française and the Académie royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique.
- Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar performs Koodiyattam outside the temple for the first time.
- Director Stephen Joseph establishes Britain's first theatre in the round at Scarborough, North Yorkshire, predecessor of the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
- Frank Herbert's first novel, The Dragon in the Sea, begins serialization as Under Pressure in Astounding Science-Fiction.
New prose fiction
- Kingsley Amis - That Uncertain Feeling
- Isaac Asimov
- Elisabeth Augustin - Labyrint (Auswege)
- Leigh Brackett - The Long Tomorrow
- Ray Bradbury - The October Country
- Henry Cecil - Brothers in Law
- Louis-Ferdinand Céline - Conversations with Professor Y (Entretiens avec le professeur Y)
- Agatha Christie - Hickory Dickory Dock
- Arthur C. Clarke - Earthlight
- Thomas B. Costain - The Tontine
- Marco Denevi - Rosaura a las 10 ("Rosaura at 10 O'Clock")
- Patrick Dennis - Auntie Mame
- John Dickson Carr - Captain Cut-Throat
- J. P. Donleavy - The Ginger Man
- Friedrich Dürrenmatt - Once a Greek (Grieche sucht Griechin)
- Ian Fleming - Moonraker
- Franquin - La corne de rhinocéros
- William Gaddis - The Recognitions
- William Golding - The Inheritors
- Graham Greene
- Henri René Guieu
- L'Agonie du Verre
- Commandos de l'Espace
- Univers parallèles
- Robert A. Heinlein - Tunnel in the Sky
- Georgette Heyer - Bath Tangle
- Patricia Highsmith - The Talented Mr. Ripley
- Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp - Tales of Conan
- Mac Hyman - No Time for Sergeants
- Aldous Huxley - The Genius and the Goddess
- Dan Jacobson - The Trap
- Robin Jenkins - The Cone Gatherers
- Ruth Prawer Jhabvala - To Whom She Will
- MacKinlay Kantor - Andersonville
- Nikos Kazantzakis - The Last Temptation of Christ (O Teleutaios Peirasmos)
- Yaşar Kemal - Memed, My Hawk (İnce Memed)
- C. S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
- Józef Mackiewicz
- Droga donikąd ("The Road to Nowhere")
- Alistair Maclean - HMS Ulysses
- Norman Mailer - The Deer Park
- Gabriel García Márquez
- J. J. Marric - Gideon's Day
- Brian Moore - The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
- Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita
- Flannery O'Connor
- John O'Hara - Ten North Frederick
- Anthony Powell - The Acceptance World
- Marin Preda - Moromeții, vol. i
- Barbara Pym - Less than Angels
- Alain Robbe-Grillet - Le Voyeur
- Robert Ruark - Something of Value
- Juan Rulfo - Pedro Paramo
- Françoise Sagan - Bonjour Tristesse (English translation)
- 'Michael Scarrott' (A. S. T. Fisher) - Ambassador of Loss
- Isaac Bashevis Singer - Satan in Goray
- Rex Stout - Before Midnight
- Jim Thompson - After Dark, My Sweet
- Morton Thompson - Not As a Stranger
- J. R. R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King
- Evelyn Waugh - Officers and Gentlemen
- Patrick White - The Tree of Man
- Leonard Wibberley - The Mouse That Roared
- Sloan Wilson - The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
- Herman Wouk - Marjorie Morningstar
- John Wyndham - The Chrysalids
- Enid Bagnold - The Chalk Garden
- Samuel Beckett - Waiting for Godot (English version)
- Bertolt Brecht - Trumpets and Drums (Pauken und Trompeten; adaptation of Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer (1706))
- William Inge - Bus Stop
- Eugène Ionesco - Jack, or The Submission (Jacques ou la soumission) and The New Tenant (Le Nouveau locataire)
- Kol Jakova - Toka jonë ("Our Land")
- Ray Lawler - Summer of the Seventeenth Doll
- Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee - Inherit the Wind
- Arthur Miller - A View from the Bridge (one-act verse version) and A Memory of Two Mondays
- Jean-Paul Sartre - Nekrassov
- Ariano Suassuna - O Auto da Compadecida ("The Compassionate Self")
- Thornton Wilder - The Matchmaker and A Life in the Sun
- Tennessee Williams - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
- Carl Zuckmayer - The Cold Light (Das kalte Licht)
Main article: 1955 in poetry
- James Baldwin - Notes of a Native Son
- Ivan Bunin - About Chekhov
- Thomas E. Gaddis - Birdman of Alcatraz
- Robert Graves - The Greek Myths
- The Guinness Book of Records, 1st edition
- T. E. Lawrence (352087 A/c Ross; died 1935) - The Mint: A day-book of the R.A.F. Depot between August and December 1922, with later notes (written 1928; 1st trade edition)
- C. S. Lewis - Surprised by Joy
- Walter Lippmann - Essays in the Public Philosophy
- Walter Lord - A Night to Remember
- Herbert Marcuse - Eros and Civilisation
- Meher Baba - God Speaks
- RAND - A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates
- January 11 – Max Lucado, American religious writer
- January 12 – Rockne S. O'Bannon, American writer and producer
- January 13 – Jay McInerney, American novelist
- January 27 – Alexander Stuart, English-born American novelist and screenwriter
- February 2 – Leszek Engelking, Polish poet, fiction writer and translator
- February 8 – John Grisham, American novelist
- March 19 – John Burnside, Scottish poet and fiction writer
- April 8 – Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist, essayist and poet
- May 30 – Colm Tóibín, Irish novelist, playwright and poet
- June 4 – Val McDermid, Scottish crime novelist
- June 16 – J. Jill Robinson, Canadian fiction writer
- June 20 – Tor Nørretranders, Danish science author
- July 1 – Lisa Scottoline, American writer of legal thrillers
- July 5 – Mia Couto (António Emílio Leite Couto), Mozambican writer
- August 2 – Caleb Carr, American writer
- August 7 – Vladimir Sorokin, Russian writer
- September 6 – Raymond Benson, American novelist
- September 13 – Hiromi Itō (伊藤 比呂美), Japanese poet, essayist and translator
- November 23 – Steven Brust, American fantasy author
- December 28 – Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波), Chinese critic, writer and activist
- January 20 – Robert P. Tristram Coffin, American poet, essayist and novelist (born 1892)
- February 23 – Paul Claudel, French poet, dramatist and diplomat (born 1868)
- April 10 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher and essayist (born 1881)
- May 16 – James Agee, American writer (born 1909)
- June 6 – Joseph Jefferson Farjeon English crime writer (born 1883)
- June 17 – Constance Holme, English novelist and dramatist (born 1880)
- June 19 – Adrienne Monnier, French poet and publisher (born 1892)
- June 21 – Roger Mais, Jamaican novelist (born 1905)
- August 1 – Charles Shaw, Australian writer (born 1900)
- August 2 – Wallace Stevens, American poet (born 1879)
- August 12 – Thomas Mann, German novelist (born 1875)
- September 20 – Robert Riskin, American dramatist and screenwriter (born 1897)
- October 18 – José Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (born 1883)
- November 1 – Dale Carnegie, American writer (born 1888)
- November 12 – Tin Ujević, Croatian poet (born 1891)
- November 14 – Robert E. Sherwood, American playwright (born 1896)
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Eleanor Farjeon, The Little Bookroom
- Frost Medal: Leona Speyer
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Ivy Compton-Burnett, Mother and Son
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: R. W. Ketton-Cremer, Thomas Gray
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Meindert DeJong, The Wheel on the School
- Nobel Prize for Literature: Halldór Kiljan Laxness
- Premio Nadal: Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, El Jarama
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: William Faulkner - A Fable
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Wallace Stevens: Collected Poems
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: Ruth Pitter
- Ian McEwan - The Innocent (1990)
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - Cancer Ward (1967)
- Colin Wilson - Adrift in Soho (1961)
- Richard Yates - Revolutionary Road (1961)
- Contrary to his later recollection of the event. Burnett, Archie, ed. (2012). The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin. London: Faber. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-571-24006-7.
- "Guinness Book History 1950 - Present". Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- Boyd, Brian (1991). Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years. Princeton University Press. p. 226. ISBN 0-691-06797-X.
- Fitzpatrick, Peter (1979). After The Doll: Australian Drama Since 1955. Studies in Australian culture. Melbourne: Edward Arnold Australia. p. vii. ISBN 0726720402.
- Druce, Robert (1992). "Chapter 4". This Day Our Daily Fictions: an enquiry into the multi-million bestseller status of Enid Blyton and Ian Fleming. Costerus, n.s. vol.84. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 90-5183-401-2.
- Bhargavinilayam, Das (1999). Mani Madhaveeyam. Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala. ISBN 81-86365-78-8.
- Liukkonen, Petri (2008). "Frank (Patrick) Herbert (1920-1986)". Books and writers. Retrieved 2014-04-25.