1964 in literature
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The year 1964 in literature involved some significant events and new books.
- January 10 - Federico García Lorca's play The House of Bernarda Alba, completed just before his assassination in 1936, receives its first performance in Spain.
- January 12 - Royal Shakespeare Company Experimental Group open a 4-week Theatre of Cruelty season at the LAMDA Theatre Club, London.
- January 23 - Arthur Miller's play After the Fall opens at the ANTA Washington Square Theatre Off-Broadway in New York, directed by Elia Kazan and starring Jason Robards and Kazan's wife Barbara Loden. A semi-autobiographical work, it arouses controversy over Miller's portrayal of late ex-wife Marilyn Monroe.
- April 23 - Shakespeare Birthplace Trust opens the Shakespeare Centre, housing its library and research facilities, in Stratford-upon-Avon (England).
- April 29 - Peter Weiss's play with music Die Verfolgung und Ermordung Jean Paul Marats dargestellt durch die Schauspielgruppe des Hospizes zu Charenton unter Anleitung des Herrn de Sade ("The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade", known as Marat/Sade) premieres at the Schiller Theater in West Berlin. In August it receives its English-language premiere by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London at the Aldwych Theatre.
- May 6 - Joe Orton's black comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane premieres at the New Arts Theatre in London.
- May 29 - Le Théâtre du Soleil is established as a collective avant-garde stage ensemble by Ariane Mnouchkine, Philippe Léotard and fellow students of L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, going on to present its first show, Les Petits Bourgeois (adapted from Maxim Gorky's Мещане), at Théâtre Mouffetard.
- June 22 - Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer is allowed to circulate legally in the United States by the U.S. Supreme Court three decades after its original publication in France, after the U.S. Supreme Court, in Grove Press, Inc. v. Gerstein, cites Jacobellis v. Ohio (which is decided the same day) and overrules state court findings that the book is obscene.
- August 11 - Ian Fleming walks to the Royal St George's Golf Club in Canterbury, Kent, for lunch and later dines at his hotel with friends, collapsing shortly afterwards with a heart attack. His last recorded words are an apology to the ambulance drivers for having inconvenienced them, saying "I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don't know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days." Fleming dies next day.
- September - Everyman Theatre opens in Liverpool, England.
- September 28 - Brian Friel's play Philadelphia, Here I Come! premieres at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.
- October 28 - The Wednesday Play debuts on BBC1 television in the United Kingdom, presenting original one-off contemporary social drama, mostly written for television.
- Jean-Paul Sartre becomes head of the Organization to Defend Iranian Political Prisoners (ODIPP).
- Michael Moorcock becomes editor of the science fiction magazine New Worlds.
- W. H. Auden describes his "Vision of Agape" (June 1933) in his preface to the anthology The Protestant Mystics.
- London premiere of Frank Marcus' farce The Killing of Sister George, one of the first mainstream British plays with lesbian characters.
New prose fiction
- Chinua Achebe - Arrow of God
- José Agustín - La Tumba
- Lloyd Alexander - The Book of Three
- Poul Anderson - Time and Stars
- Louis Auchincloss - The Rector of Justin
- J. G. Ballard - The Terminal Beach
- Simone de Beauvoir - A Very Easy Death (Une Mort très douce)
- Saul Bellow - Herzog
- Thomas Berger - Little Big Man
- Leigh Brackett
- Ray Bradbury - The Machineries of Joy
- John Braine - The Jealous God
- Richard Brautigan - A Confederate General From Big Sur
- John Brunner
- Sara Bulette - The Splendid Belt of Mr. Big
- Edgar Rice Burroughs - Tarzan and the Madman
- J. Ramsey Campbell - The Inhabitant of the Lake and Less Welcome Tenants
- John Dickson Carr - Most Secret
- Agatha Christie - A Caribbean Mystery
- Louis-Ferdinand Céline - London Bridge: Guignol's Band II
- A. J. Cronin - A Song of Sixpence
- Roald Dahl - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Len Deighton - Funeral in Berlin
- August Derleth (editor) - Over the Edge
- Michel Droit - Le Retour
- Ralph Ellison - Shadow and Act
- Ian Fleming
- Max Frisch - Gantenbein
- William Golding - The Spire
- Bohumil Hrabal - Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age (Taneční hodiny pro starší a pokročilé)
- Carl Jacobi - Portraits in Moonlight
- B. S. Johnson - Albert Angelo
- Ken Kesey - Sometimes a Great Notion
- Richard E. Kim - The Martyred
- Liang Yusheng - Datang Youxia Zhuan
- H. P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels
- Ruth Manning-Sanders - A Book of Dwarfs
- John D. MacDonald - The Deep Blue Good-by, A Purple Place For Dying, and The Quick Red Fox
- Iris Murdoch - The Italian Girl
- Sterling North - Rascal
- Vladimir Nabokov - The Defense
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (also known as James Ngigi) - Weep Not, Child
- Jan Pfloog - The Farm Book
- Anthony Powell - The Valley of Bones
- Mario Puzo - Fortunate Pilgrim
- Ellery Queen - And On the Eighth Day
- Jean Ray - Saint-Judas-de-la-nuit
- Ruth Rendell - From Doon With Death
- Karl Ristikivi - Imede saar
- Hubert Selby Jr. - Last Exit to Brooklyn
- Ryōtarō Shiba - Moeyo Ken
- Shel Silverstein - The Giving Tree
- Clark Ashton Smith - Tales of Science and Sorcery
- Wilbur Smith - When the Lion Feeds
- Rex Stout
- Leon Uris - Armageddon
- Jack Vance
- Gore Vidal - Julian
- Irving Wallace - The Man
- Raymond Williams - Second Generation
- Maia Wojciechowska - Shadow of a Bull
- Brian Friel - Philadelphia Here I Come!
- Frank Marcus - The Killing of Sister George
- Arthur Miller
- Joe Orton - Entertaining Mr Sloane
- Peter Weiss - Marat/Sade
- Joseph Payne Brennan - Nightmare Need
- Leonard Cohen - Flowers for Hitler
- Mehr Lal Soni Zia Fatehabadi - Husn-e-Ghazal (The beauty of Ghazal)
- Philip Larkin - The Whitsun Weddings
- Donald Wandrei - Poems for Midnight
- Up The Line To Death: The War Poets 1914-1918 (anthology)
- Eric Berne - Games People Play
- Allan Bloom with Harry V. Jaffa - Shakespeare's Politics
- L. Sprague de Camp
- Dick Gregory - Nigger: An Autobiography
- Ernest Hemingway - A Moveable Feast
- Michael Holroyd - Hugh Kingsmill: A Critical Biography
- John F. Kennedy (posthumous) - A Nation of Immigrants
- Martin Luther King, Jr. - Why We Can't Wait
- Jan Kott - Shakespeare, Our Contemporary
- Herbert Marcuse - One-Dimensional Man
- Marshall McLuhan - Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
- Evelyn Waugh - A Little Learning
- March 7 - Bret Easton Ellis, American novelist, screenwriter and short-story writer
- June 5 - Rick Riordan, American author
- June 7 - Petr Hruška, Czech poet
- June 11 - Dan Chaon, American novelist and short-story writer
- July 3 - Joanne Harris, English novelist
- July 7 - Karina Galvez, Ecuadorian poet
- July 16 - Anne Provoost, Flemish novelist and essayist
- September 9 - Aleksandar Hemon, Bosnian novelist and short-story writer
- September 25 - Gareth Thompson, English children's author
- December 26 - Elizabeth Kostova, American author
- Mai Jia (real name: Jiǎng Běnhǔ, 蒋本浒), Chinese novelist
- January 17 - T. H. White, English Arthurian novelist, 57 (heart condition)
- February 3 - Clarence Irving Lewis, American philosopher, founder of conceptual pragmatism, 80
- February 25 - Grace Metalious, American Peyton Place novelist, 39 (cirrhosis of liver)
- March 20 - Brendan Behan, Irish poet and writer, 41
- April 14 - Rachel Carson, American environmentalist author, 56 (breast cancer)
- April 18 - Ben Hecht, American screenwriter, 70
- May 13 - Hamilton Basso, American novelist and journalist, 59
- August 3 - Flannery O'Connor, Irish essayist, novelist and short story writer, 39 (complications from lupus)
- August 12 - Ian Fleming, English James Bond author, 56 (heart attack)
- September 14 - Vasily Grossman, Soviet writer, 58 (cancer)
- September 18 - Sean O'Casey, Irish dramatist, 84
- November 21 - Leah Bodine Drake, American poet, editor and critic, 49 (cancer)
- December 9 - Dame Edith Sitwell, English poet and critic, 77
- December 21 - Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer, literary executor of Gertrude Stein, 84
- See 1964 Governor General's Awards for a complete list of winners and finalists for those awards.
- Carnegie Medal for children's literature: Sheena Porter, Nordy Bank
- Eric Gregory Award: Robert Nye, Ken Smith, Jean Symons, Ted Walker
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction: Frank Tuohy, The Ice Saints
- James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography: Elizabeth Longford, Victoria R.I.
- Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry: R. S. Thomas
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Drama: Lillian Hellman
- Hugo Award: Clifford D. Simak, Way Station
- Newbery Medal for children's literature: Emily Cheney Neville, It's Like This, Cat
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: no award given
- Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: Louis Simpson: At The End Of The Open Road
- Premio Nadal: Alfredo Martínez Garrido, El miedo y la esperanza
- Viareggio Prize: Giuseppe Berto, Il male oscuro
- House of Bernarda Alba - Premiere in Madrid (Spanish). Accessed 27 November 2013
- "The Theatre of Cruelty". The Times (55897) (London). 1964-01-01. p. 13.
- "Ambitious Example of Theatre of Cruelty". The Times (56096) (London). 1964-08-21. p. 11.
- "Chronologie des spectacles et des films du Théâtre du Soleil". Théâtre du Soleil. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Grove Press, Inc., v. Gerstein, 378 U.S. 577 (U.S. Supreme Court 22 June 1964).
- Lycett, Andrew (1996). Ian Fleming. London: Phoenix. p. 442. ISBN 978-1-85799-783-5.
- "Portraits by Carl Van Vechten - Carl Van Vechten Biography - (American Memory from the Library of Congress)". Memory.loc.gov. Retrieved 2010-03-09.