1885 in literature
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1885.
You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by a Mr Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.
—Opening line of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- January 1 – The Dictionary of National Biography begins publication in London under the editorship of Leslie Stephen.
- February 7 – José Echegaray's play La vida alegre y muerte triste opens.
- February 18 – Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published in the United States for the first time, in New York by the author's own publishing house, Charles L. Webster, illustrated by E. W. Kemble, the first impression having been delayed for replacement of an unauthorized obscene alteration to one of the illustrative plates. Its first-person narrative in colloquial language is initially controversial but ultimately influential in the development of realism in American literature.
- March 19 – Bolesław Prus's first major naturalistic novel, The Outpost (Placówka), begins serialization in the Polish illustrated weekly, Wędrowiec.
- May 16 – Sakuradoki Zeni no Yononaka ("The Season of Cherry Blossoms; The World of Money"), an adaptation by Genzo Katsu after Bunkai Udagawa of The Merchant of Venice set in the Edo period, is performed by the Nakamura Sojuro Kabuki company at the Ebisu-za Theater in Osaka, the first of Shakespeare's plays to be staged with actors in Japan.
- May 19 – Revised Version Old Testament published.
- June 1 – More than two million people join Victor Hugo's funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he is buried, following his death on May 22 in the city from pneumonia aged 83.
- June 29 – Thomas Hardy moves to a house he designed for himself (and built by his brother) at Max Gate on the outskirts of Dorchester, Dorset.
- Henri Beauclair and Gabriel Vicaire, using the pseudonym Adoré Floupette, publish Les Déliquescences d'Adoré Floupette, a parodic collection of poems satirising French symbolism and the Decadent movement.
- Arthur Napier is appointed first Merton Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Oxford.
- John Ormsby's English translation of Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote is published. For many years it is regarded as the most accurate translation of the novel.
- First translation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace into English, made by Clara Bell from a French version, begins publication.
- Publication of Daniel Owen's long novel Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, Gweinidog Bethel, the first written in Welsh.
- Leopoldo Alas (Clarín) – La regenta, vol. 2
- Richard Francis Burton – The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments
- Hall Caine
- Antonio Fogazzaro – Daniele Cortis
- William Dean Howells – Rise of Sylas Lapham
- Richard Jefferies – After London
- Jerome K. Jerome – On the Stage — and Off
- Eliza Lynn Linton – The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland
- Guy de Maupassant – Bel-Ami
- George Meredith – Diana of the Crossways
- Friedrich Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra (publication concluded)
- Daniel Owen – Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, Gweinidog Bethel
- Walter Pater – Marius the Epicurean
- Tsubouchi Shōyō (坪内 逍遥) – Tōsei Shosei Katagi (Portraits of Contemporary Students)
- Jules Vallés – Jacques Vingtras
- Jules Verne – Mathias Sandorf
- Émile Zola – Germinal
Children and young people
- Lewis Carroll – A Tangled Tale
- H. Rider Haggard – King Solomon's Mines
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Mark Twain – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (U.S. publication)
- See 1885 in poetry
- Anténor Firmin – De l'Égalité des Races Humaines ("On the Equality of Human Races")
- Tsubouchi Shōyō – Shōsetsu Shinzui ("The Essence of the Novel")
- January 16 – Zhou Zuoren (周作人), Chinese vernacular writer (died 1967)
- February 7 – Sinclair Lewis, American novelist (died 1951)
- February 21 – Sacha Guitry, French dramatist and screenwriter (died 1957)
- February 24 – Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Polish painter, playwright and novelist (died 1939)
- March 6 – Ring Lardner, American writer (died 1933)
- March 25 – Mateiu Caragiale, Romanian novelist and poet (died 1936)
- May 2 – Hedda Hopper, American columnist (died 1966)
- May 9 – Al. T. Stamatiad, Romanian poet (died 1955)
- September 7 – Elinor Wylie (Elinor Morton Hoyt), American poet and novelist (died 1928)
- September 11 – D. H. Lawrence, English novelist and short-story writer (died 1930)
- October 3 – Sophie Treadwell, American dramatist and journalist (died 1970)
- October 11 – François Mauriac, French novelist (died 1970)
- October 30 – Ezra Pound, American poet (died 1972)
- December 8 – Kenneth Roberts, American novelist (died 1957)
- February 14 – Jules Vallés, French writer (born 1832)
- April 8 – Susanna Moodie, English-born Canadian author (born 1803)
- April 18 – Marc Monnier, French author and translator (born 1827)
- April 30 – Jens Peter Jacobsen, Danish novelist (born 1847)
- May 13 – Juliana Horatia Ewing, English children's writer (born 1841)
- May 15 – Hugh Conway, English novelist (born 1847)
- May 22 – Victor Hugo, French poet and novelist (born 1802)
- June 18 – Louis Segond, Swiss theologian (born 1810)
- July 13 – Augusto Vera, Italian philosopher (born 1813)
- July 15 – Rosalía de Castro, Spanish Galician poet and writer (born 1837)
- September 18 – John Campbell Shairp, Scottish critic (born 1819)
- November 29 – Anne Gilchrist, English-born American critic and biographer (emphysema, born 1828)
- Blair, Walter (1960). Mark Twain & Huck Finn. Berkeley: University of California.
- "All Modern Literature Comes from One Book by Mark Twain". Philadelphia: Bauman Rare Books. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
- Kawachi, Yoshiko (1998). "The Merchant of Venice and Japanese Culture". Japanese Studies in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. Newark: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 9780874136739.
- "Hardy Country". National Trust. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- "Gilchrist Family Papers – Biographical Sketch". Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Retrieved 2013-01-07.