1850 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1850.
- January – The collected works of Edgar Allan Poe begin posthumous publication co-edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold who contributes a memoir denigrating Poe's reputation based partly on forged evidence.
- January–April – The Germ, periodical of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood edited by William Michael Rossetti, is published (four issues, the last two retitled Art and Poetry).
- March – The weekly Household Words, "conducted by Charles Dickens," begins publication in London.
- March 14 – Honoré de Balzac marries Ewelina Hańska at Berdyczów. The marriage ends with his death only five months later.
- March 16 – Nathaniel Hawthorne's historical novel The Scarlet Letter is published by William Ticknor and James Thomas Fields in Boston, Massachusetts, where it is set. It sells 2,500 copies in ten days. A second edition appears by the end of the month.
- May 1 – The earliest surviving mention of the composition of Moby-Dick appears in a letter Herman Melville writes to Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
- May (late) – Alfred Tennyson's poem In Memoriam A.H.H., commemorating the death of his friend and fellow poet Arthur Hallam in 1833, is published by Edward Moxon in London. The writer's anonymity is broken on June 1 by The Publishers' Circular.
- June 13 – Alfred Tennyson marries his childhood friend Emily Sellwood at Shiplake.
- July – William Wordsworth's The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind: An Autobiographical Poem, on which he has worked since 1798, is first published about three months after his death by Edward Moxon in London in 14 books, with the title supplied by the poet's widow, Mary.
- August 5 – Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville meet for the first time, together with Oliver Wendell Holmes and publisher James Thomas Fields, on a picnic expedition to Monument Mountain (Berkshire County, Massachusetts).
- September 26 – The first play by Henrik Ibsen to be performed, The Burial Mound (Kjæmpehøjen), opens at the Christiania Theatre under the pseudonym Brynjolf Bjarme. His first written play, Catiline, completed this year, will not be performed until 1881.
- A new edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poems is published by Chapman & Hall in London, including (in vol. 2) her Sonnets from the Portuguese (written during her courtship by Robert Browning c. 1845–1846) of which the most famous will be no. 43 ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.")
- Salford Museum and Art Gallery first opens as "The Royal Museum & Public Library", the first unconditionally free public library in England.
- November 1 – Charles Dickens's novel David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account)) concludes serial publication and on (November 14) is first published complete in book form.
- November 19 – Alfred Tennyson is named Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, succeeding William Wordsworth, only after Samuel Rogers has declined the offer because of his age and Tennyson is assured that birthday odes will not be required of him.
- Ivan Turgenev completes the writing of his play A Month in the Country («Месяц в деревне», Mesiats v derevne) under the title The Student in Paris but it is rejected by the Saint Petersburg censor and will not be published until 1855 or performed until 1872.
- Wilkie Collins – Antonina, or The Fall of Rome
- Charles Dickens – David Copperfield (complete in book form)
- Alexandre Dumas, fils – Tristan le Roux
- Alexandre Dumas, père – The Black Tulip (La Tulipe Noire)
- Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
- Caroline Lee Hentz
- Rena, the Snowbird
- Jón Thoroddsen – Piltur og Stúlka (Boy and Girl, the first novel in Icelandic)
- Herman Melville – White-Jacket
- Alexei Pisemsky – The Simpleton («Тюфя′к», Tyufyak)
- Catharine Maria Sedgwick – Tales of City Life
- Frank Smedley – Frank Fairleigh
- William Makepeace Thackeray – Pendennis (complete in book form)
- Anthony Trollope – La Vendée
- Ivan Turgenev – The Diary of a Superfluous Man («Дневник лишнего человека», Dnevnik lishnevo cheloveka)
- Jemima von Tautphoeus – The Initials
- Susan Warner (as Elizabeth Wetherell) – The Wide, Wide World
- Christian Friedrich Hebbel – Herodes and Mariamne
- Paul Heyse – Francesca von Rimini
- Henrik Ibsen
- Otto Ludwig – Der Erbförster
- Ivan Turgenev – A Month in the Country (written)
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sonnets from the Portuguese
- Robert Browning – Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day
- Alfred Tennyson – In Memoriam A.H.H.
- William Wordsworth – The Prelude
- Ivar Aasen – Dictionary of the Norwegian Dialects (Ordbog over det Norske Folkesprog)
- Mary Anne Atwood – A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery
- Frédéric Bastiat – The Law (La Loi)
- Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men
- Friedrich Engels – The Peasant War in Germany (Der deutsche Bauernkrieg)
- Alexander Herzen – From Another Shore («С того берега», S togo berega)
- Washington Irving – Mahomet and His Successors
- Julia Kavanagh – Women in France during the Eighteenth Century
- Søren Kierkegaard (as Anti-Climacus) – Practice in Christianity (Indøvelse i Christendom)
- January 14 – Pierre Loti, French novelist (died 1923)
- January 15 – Mihai Eminescu, Romanian poet, novelist and journalist (died 1889)
- February 8 – Kate Chopin, American writer (died 1904)
- February 24 – Mary de Morgan, English children's writer and suffragist (died 1907)
- March 26 – Edward Bellamy, American Utopian novelist and socialist (died 1898)
- April 12 – Agnes Catherine Maitland, English academic, novelist and cookery writer (died 1906)
- April 13 – Bernhard Alexander (Alexander Márkus), Hungarian philosopher and polymath (died 1927)
- April 16 – Auguste Groner, Austrian detective fiction writer (died 1929)
- April 30 – Ieronim Yasinsky, Russian novelist, poet, critic and essayist (died 1931)
- June 27 – Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), Greek-born Irish American scholar and writer on Japan (died 1904)
- July 2 – Dumitru C. Moruzi, Russian-born Romanian political figure and social novelist (died 1914)
- July 9 (June 27 O.S.) – Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (died 1921)
- August 5 – Guy de Maupassant, French novelist and short story writer (died 1893)
- September 2 – Eugene Field, American poet and essayist (died 1895)
- November 5 – Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American writer and poet (died 1919)
- November 13 – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer (died 1894)
- Unknown date – Annie Armitt, English novelist and poet (died 1933)
- January 20 – Adam Oehlenschläger, Danish poet and dramatist (born 1779)
- April 7 – William Lisle Bowles, English poet and critic (born 1762)
- April 23 – William Wordsworth, English poet (born 1770)
- May 24 – Jane Porter, Scottish novelist and dramatist (born 1776)
- May 31 – Giuseppe Giusti, Italian poet (born 1809)
- July 14 – August Neander, German theologian (born 1789)
- July 19 – Margaret Fuller, American journalist and critic (presumed drowned, born 1810)
- August 18 – Honoré de Balzac, French novelist (heart condition, born 1799)
- August 22 – Nikolaus Lenau (Nikolaus Franz Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau), Austrian poet (insanity, born 1802)
- November 4 – Gustav Schwab, German writer and publisher (born 1792)
- November 10 – Lumley Skeffington, English playwright and fop (born 1771)
- December 24 – Frédéric Bastiat, French political philosopher (tuberculosis, born 1801)
- Chancellor's Gold Medal – Julian Fane, "Monody on the death of Adelaide, the Queen Dowager"
- Newdigate Prize – Frederick William Faber, "The Knights of St John"
- Pritchett, V. S. (1973). Balzac. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc. pp. 261–262. ISBN 0-394-48357-X.
- Pinion, F. B. (1990). "1850". A Tennyson Chronology. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-46020-0.
- Cox, Michael, ed. (2004). The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860634-6.
- Pinion, F. B. (1988). A Wordsworth Chronology. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-38860-7.
- Sutherland, John; Fender, Stephen (2011). "5 August". Love, Sex, Death & Words: Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature. London: Icon. pp. 294–5. ISBN 978-184831-247-0.
- Established under the Museums Act 1845."1st In Salford". visitsalford.info. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Oxford DNB theme: Poets laureate.
- Deiss, Joseph Jay (1969): The Roman Years of Margaret Fuller (NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Co.), p. 313.
- The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vol 1. p 287. Accessed 13 January 2014