This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1851.
- January 1 – The Georgian theatre company gives its first performance, under the direction of Giorgi Eristavi.
- June 5 – Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin begins serialization in the American abolitionist weekly The National Era.
- June – While waiting to cross the English Channel on honeymoon, Matthew Arnold probably begins to compose the poem "Dover Beach".
- September 29 – Marian Evans, the future George Eliot, takes up her appointment as (assistant) editor of the Westminster Review, published by John Chapman, in which capacity she will meet G. H. Lewes.
- November 14 – Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is published in full, in a single volume, for the first time, by Harper & Brothers in New York, having been previously issued on October 18 as The Whale in an abridged 3-volume edition by Richard Bentley in London.
- December 2 – French coup d'état of 1851. Victor Hugo is a leader of the unsuccessful insurrection against it and is forced into exile, initially to Brussels.
- December 24 – A fire at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroys 35,000 books, about two–thirds of the collection.
- Albertus Willem Sijthoff establishes his own publishing business at Leiden.
Children and young people
- February 1 – Mary Shelley, English novelist and essayist (born 1797)
- February 23 – Joanna Baillie, Scottish poet and dramatist (born 1762)
- February 24 – Deen Mahomed – author of first book in English by an Indian
- May 23 – Richard Lalor Sheil, Irish dramatist and journalist (born 1791)
- July 17 – Esther Copley, English children's writer and tractarian (born 1786)
- August 1 – Harriet Lee, English novelist (born 1757)
- August 10 – Heinrich Paulus, German theologian (born 1761)
- September 14 – James Fenimore Cooper, American historical novelist (born 1789)
- December 19 – Henry Luttrell, English politician, wit and society poet (born c. 1765)
- Unknown date – Vanchinbalyn Gularans, Mongolian poet (unknown year of birth)
- ^ Published 1867. Allott, Kenneth, ed. (1965). The Poems of Matthew Arnold. London; New York: Longman Norton. p. 240. ISBN 0-393-04377-0.
- ^ Maas, Norbert Maria Hubert (1996). "Altyt Waek Saem: De drukker-uitgever A.W. Sijthoff (1829-1913)". Nieuw Letterkundig Magazijn (in Dutch). pp. 35–41. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- ^ Bennett, Betty T. Introduction to Selected Letters, xxvii.
- ^ Michael H. Fisher, "Mahomed, Deen (1759–1851)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP), 2004 Retrieved 13 May 2017.