1888 in literature
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The year 1888 in literature involved some significant literary events and new works.
- February 9 - During Joseph Conrad's career at sea as Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, he departs Bangkok for Sydney in his first command as master, the British barque Otago, a basis for his novella The Shadow Line (1916).
- March 6 - On the day of Amos Bronson Alcott's funeral at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (Concord, Massachusetts), his daughter, novelist Louisa May Alcott, already in poor health, suffers a fatal stroke.
- May 26 - In London, Punch magazine begins serialisation of George and Weedon Grossmith's humorous The Diary of a Nobody, the first entry being for "April 3".
- June 3 - Ernest Thayer's baseball poem "Casey at the Bat" is first published (under the pen name "Phin") as the last of his humorous contributions to The San Francisco Examiner.
- English publisher Henry Vizetelly is prosecuted in London by the National Vigilance Association and fined for obscene libel for his English translation of Zola's La Terre.
- The first book to feature Jack the Ripper in fiction is published while the Whitechapel murders attributed to Jack the Ripper are still taking place in London, the short gothic novel The Curse Upon Mitre Square by John Francis Brewer, which features the murder of Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square on September 30 as a key plot element.
- Sholem Aleichem edits the first issue of the anthology Di Yidishe Folksbibliotek in Kiev, giving important exposure to young writers in Yiddish, including I. L. Peretz's long ballad "Monish".
- The Finnish epic Kalevala is published for the first time in English by American linguist John Martin Crawford.
- German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes Götzen-Dämmerung, oder, Wie man mit dem Hammer philosophiert ("Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer", published 1889), Der Antichrist (1895) and his autobiography, Ecce homo: Wie man wird, was man ist (posthumous, 1908), his last works before his total mental collapse.
- "Papus" founds the esoteric magazine L'Initiation in France.
- Grant Allen
- The Devil's Die
- The White Man's Foot
- Edward Bellamy - Looking Backward
- Rolf Boldrewood - Robbery Under Arms
- Mary Elizabeth Braddon - The Fatal Three
- Richard Francis Burton (translator) - The Supplemental Nights to the Thousand Nights and a Night (publication completed)
- Félicien Champsaur - L'Amant des danseuses
- Louis Couperus - Eline Vere
- James De Mille - A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder
- Antonio Fogazzaro - The Mystery of the Poet
- Theodor Fontane - Irrungen, Wirrungen
- H. Rider Haggard - Maiwa's Revenge
- Thomas Hardy - Wessex Tales
- G. A. Henty - Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden
- Henry James
- Rudyard Kipling
- Jean Lombard - L'agonie
- George MacDonald - The Elect Lady
- Herman Melville - John Marr and Other Sailors
- Octave Mirbeau - L'Abbé Jules
- George Moore - Spring Days--A Prelude to Don Juan
- Shardha Ram Phillauri - Bhagyawati
- Raul Pompéia - O Ateneu
- José Maria de Eça de Queiroz - Os Maias
- Arthur Quiller-Couch - Troy Town
- Henryk Sienkiewicz - Fire in the Steppe (Pan Wołodyjowski)
- Robert Louis Stevenson - The Black Arrow (book publication)
- Theodor Storm - The Rider on the White Horse (Der Schimmelreiter, novella)
- Jules Verne
- Lew Wallace - The Boyhood of Christ
- Mrs Humphrey Ward - Robert Elsmere
- Oscar Wilde - The Happy Prince and Other Tales
- Sarah Bernhardt - L'Aveu, drame en un acte en prose
- Félicien Champsaur - Lulu
- Henrik Ibsen - The Lady from the Sea
- Alexander Kielland - Professoren
- August Strindberg - Miss Julie
- Sir Edwin Arnold (translator) - With Saʿdi in the Garden; or, The Book of Love
- W. E. Henley - A Book of Verses, containing the first publication of the poem Invictus.
- Andrejs Pumpurs - Lāčplēsis ("The Bear-Slayer")
- Joseph Bertrand - Calcul des probabilités
- John D. Billings - Hard Tack and Coffee
- Helena Blavatsky - The Secret Doctrine
- 'Esperanza' (Jane, Lady Wilde) - Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland, with sketches of the Irish past
- Papus - Traité méthodique de science occulte
- A. E. Waite
- Lives of the Alchemystical Philosophers
- The Magical Writings of Thomas Vaughan
- January 24 – Vicki Baum, Austrian-born writer (died 1960)
- February 10 – Giuseppe Ungaretti, Italian modernist poet and writer (died 1970)
- April 26 – Anita Loos, American novelist and screenwriter (died 1981)
- June 13 – Fernando Pessoa, Portuguese writer (died 1935)
- July 23 – Raymond Chandler, American novelist and screenwriter (died 1959)
- September 26 – T. S. Eliot, American-born English poet and playwright (died 1965)
- October 14 – Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand short story writer (died 1923)
- October 16 – Eugene O'Neill, American playwright and Nobel laureate (died 1953)
- January 30 – Mary Howitt, English writer, poet and translator (born 1799)
- March 4 – Amos Bronson Alcott, American writer and philosopher (born 1799)
- March 6 – Louisa May Alcott, American novelist (born 1832)
- March 14 – James Hogg, Scottish-born publisher (born 1806)
- April 15 – Matthew Arnold, English poet (born 1822)
- May 12 – Edward Lear, English writer of comic verse and artist (born 1812)
- August 9 – Charles Cros, French poet (born 1842)
- August 20 – Henry Richard, Welsh political writer (born 1812)
- September 24 – Karl von Prantl, German philosopher (born 1820)
- December 8 – Frederick Apthorp Paley, English scholar (born 1815)
- December 23 – Laurence Oliphant, Scottish travel writer and novelist (born 1829)
- Louisa May Alcott: Final Days. Accessed 6 February 2013
- Brewer, John Francis (1889). The Curse upon Mitre Square. A.D. 1530-1888. New York: J. W. Lovell Company. OCLC 43935642.
- Woods, Paul; Baddeley, Gavin (2009). Saucy Jack: The Elusive Ripper. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-7110-3410-5.
- Cox, Michael, ed. (2004). The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860634-6.
- Adams, James Eli (2009). A History of Victorian Literature. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-631-22082-8. Retrieved 2010-10-28.