1850 in literature
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The year 1850 in literature involved some significant new books.
- 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 lasts only until his death five months later.
- Mid-March - Nathaniel Hawthorne's historical novel The Scarlet Letter is published by William Ticknor and James Thomas Fields in Boston, Massachusetts (where it is set), selling 2,500 copies in ten days.
- May 1 - The earliest surviving mention of the composition of Moby-Dick is captured in a letter Herman Melville writes to Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
- May (late) - Alfred Tennyson's poem In Memoriam A.H.H., written to commemorate 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 3 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).
- 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.1845–46) 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 concludes serial publication and (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.
- Wilkie Collins - Antonina
- Charles Dickens - David Copperfield (complete in book form)
- Alexandre Dumas, fils - Tristan le Roux
- Alexandre Dumas, père - The Black Tulip
- Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter
- Caroline Lee Hentz
- Rena, the Snowbird
- Jón Thoroddsen - Piltur og Stúlka ("Boy and Girl", the first Icelandic novel)
- Herman Melville - White-Jacket
- Alexei Pisemsky - The Simpleton
- Catharine Maria Sedgwick - Tales of City Life
- Frank Smedley - Frank Fairleigh
- William Makepeace Thackeray - Pendennis (complete in book form)
- Anthony Trollope - La Vendée
- Jemima von Tautphoeus - The Initials
- Susan Warner - 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
- 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
- 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
- Alexander Herzen - From Another Shore
- 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)
- March 26 – Edward Bellamy, American Utopian novelist and socialist (died 1898)
- April 30 – Ieronim Yasinsky, Russian novelist, poet, critic and essayist (died 1931)
- June 27 – Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), Greek-born Irish scholar and writer on Japan (died 1904)
- July 9 (June 27 OS) – 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)
- 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 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 (insane, born 1802)
- November 4 – Gustav Schwab, German writer and publisher (born 1792)
- 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. Retrieved 2008-01-19.
- Oxford DNB theme: Poets laureate.
- Deiss, Joseph Jay (1969). The Roman Years of Margaret Fuller. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. ISBN 0-690-01017-6, p. 313.
- The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vol 1. p 287. Accessed 13 January 2014