1904 in literature
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The year 1904 in literature involved some significant literary events and new works.
- January - Mark Twain begins dictating his Autobiography.
- January 17 - Anton Chekhov's last play, The Cherry Orchard, premières at the Moscow Art Theatre directed by Constantin Stanislavski.
- February 25 - J. M. Synge's tragedy Riders to the Sea is first performed at the Molesworth Hall, Dublin, by the Irish National Theatre Society.
- March 1 - Sophie Radford de Meissner's translation of Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy's 1863 historical drama Ivan the Terrible is first performed at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway, New York City, by Richard Mansfield.
- April 24 - Lithuanian press ban in the Russian Empire lifted.
- June 16 - The original "Bloomsday", the day James Joyce meets Nora Barnacle and on which the action of his novel Ulysses (1922) takes place in Dublin.
- June 28 - Anton Chekhov, dying of tuberculosis at Badenweiler, writes to his sister Masha, saying his health is improving. He dies just over two weeks later.
- September - Mark Twain purchases a home at 21 Fifth Avenue, New York City.
- November 1 - George Bernard Shaw's comedy about Ireland, John Bull's Other Island, opens at the Royal Court Theatre, London, under the management of Harley Granville-Barker after W. B. Yeats rejects it for Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
- December 24 - The Coliseum Theatre in London opens.
- December 27
- The Irish National Theatre Society (Abbey Theatre) opens to the public in Dublin for the first time. The bill consists of three one-act plays, On Baile's Strand and Cathleen Ní Houlihan by Yeats and Spreading the News by Lady Gregory.
- J. M. Barrie's stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up premières at the Duke of York's Theatre in London with Nina Boucicault in the title rôle and Gerald du Maurier as Captain Hook and Mr. Darling; du Maurier is the uncle of the Llewellyn Davies boys who inspired the story.
- Alexander Blok's poetry cycle Stikhi o prekrasnoi Dame ("Verses to the Beautiful Lady"), written to his new wife, ushers in the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.
- The Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom (Les 120 journées de Sodome), written in 1785, is first published, by Berlin sexologist Dr. Iwan Bloch (as "Dr. Eugen Dühren")
- Translations of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace into English by Constance Garnett and by Leo Wiener are published.
- Herbert Beerbohm Tree establishes what will become the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, at His Majesty's Theatre in the Haymarket (London).
New prose fiction
- L. Frank Baum - The Marvelous Land of Oz
- Hall Caine - The Prodigal Son
- G. K. Chesterton - The Napoleon of Notting Hill
- Joseph Conrad - Nostromo
- Machado de Assis - Esaú e Jacó
- Alexandre Dumas translated by Alfred Richard Allinson - The Wolf Leader
- Claude Farrère - Fumée d'opium (Black Opium)
- John Galsworthy - The Island Pharisees
- Frederic Harrison - Theophano, The Crusade of the Tenth Century
- O. Henry - Cabbages and Kings
- Robert Herrick - The Common Lot
- Hermann Hesse - Peter Camenzind
- William Henry Hudson - Green Mansions
- Robert Smythe Hichens - The Garden of Allah
- Henry James - The Golden Bowl
- M. R. James - Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
- Mary Johnston - Sir Mortimer
- Selma Lagerlöf - The Treasure (Herr Arnes penningar)
- Jack London - The Sea-Wolf
- Arthur Morrison - The Green Eye of Goona
- I. L. Peretz - "The Magician" (דער קונצענמאכער, Der Kuntsenmakher; short story)
- Vincas Pietaris - Algimantas (first prose novel written in the Lithuanian language)
- Luigi Pirandello - The Late Mattia Pascal (Il Fu Mattia Pascal)
- Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
- Władysław Reymont - Chłopi ("The Peasants"; publication commences)
- Frederick Rolfe - Hadrian the Seventh
- Romain Rolland - Jean-Christophe (vol. 1)
- Rafael Sabatini - The Tavern Knight
- Saki - Reginald
- May Sinclair - The Divine Fire
- Katherine Thurston - John Chilcote, M.P.
- Mark Twain - A Dog's Tale
- Jules Verne
- H. G. Wells - The Food of the Gods
- Owen Wister
- Stefan Żeromski - Ashes (Popioły)
- J. M. Barrie - Peter Pan
- Anton Chekhov - The Cherry Orchard
- Octave Mirbeau - Farces and Moralities
- Erich Mühsam - The Con Men
- George Bernard Shaw - John Bull's Other Island
- Tsubouchi Shōyō
- Kiri Hitoha ("A Paulownia Leaf"; performed)
- Shinkyoku Urashima ("The New Urashima")
- J. M. Synge - Riders to the Sea
- Frank Wedekind - Pandora's Box
- Nik Welter - Die Söhne des Öslings
Main article: 1904 in poetry
- Zinaida Gippius - «Собрание стихов. 1889–1903» ("Collected Poems, 1889–1903")
- Giovanni Pascoli - Primi poemetti and Primi conviviali
- A. C. Bradley - Shakespearean Tragedy
- Ernst Haeckel - Kunstformen der Natur
- Thorstein Veblen - The Theory of Business Enterprise
- January 14 – Robert Speaight, English actor, biographer and essayist (died 1976)
- January 22 – Arkady Gaidar, Russian children's writer (died 1941)
- January 23 – Louis Zukofsky, American modernist poet (died 1978)
- February 1 – S. J. Perelman, American humorist and author (died 1979)
- February 4 – MacKinlay Kantor, American historian (died 1977)
- February 19 – Maurice O'Sullivan (Muiris Ó Súilleabháin), Irish memoirist (drowned 1950)
- March 26 – Joseph Campbell, American author and expert on mythology (died 1987)
- April 27 – Cecil Day-Lewis, Anglo-Irish poet (died 1972)
- May 6 – Harry Martinson, Swedish author and Nobel laureate (died 1978
- May 20 – Margery Allingham, English writer of detective fiction (died 1966
- July 13 – Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet (died 1973)
- August 4 – Witold Gombrowicz, Polish playwright and novelist (died 1969)
- September – Abdulla Goran, Kurdish poet (died 1962)
- November 28 – Nancy Mitford, English novelist and biographer (died 1973)
- December 13 – Glen Byam Shaw, English theatrical director (died 1986)
- December 21 – Johannes Edfelt, Swedish poet, translator and critic (died 1997)
- December 26 – Alejo Carpentier, Cuban novelist (died 1980)
- January 3 – Larin Paraske, Finnish folk poet (born 1833)
- January 20 – Hermann Eduard von Holst, historian (born 1841)
- February 8 – Alfred Ainger, biographer and critic (born 1837)
- February 22 – Sir Leslie Stephen, essayist and critic (born 1832)
- April 16 – Samuel Smiles, political journalist (born 1812)
- May 5 – Mór Jókai, Hungarian dramatist and novelist (born 1825)
- June 5 – Olivia Langdon Clemens, American editor (born 1845)
- July 3 – Theodor Herzl, Austro-Hungarian journalist (cardiac sclerosis, born 1860)
- July 14 – Anton Chekhov, Russian playwright and short story writer (tuberculosis, born 1860)
- August 22 – Kate Chopin (Kate O'Flaherty), American novelist and short story writer (brain hemorrhage, born 1850)
- September 26 – Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo, 小泉 八雲), Greek-born writer in English on Japan (heart failure, born 1850)
- October 11 – Trumbull Stickney, classicist and poet (brain tumor, born 1874)
- November 19 – Hans von Hopfen, German poet and novelist (born 1835)
- Nobel Prize for Literature: Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray y Eizaguirre
- First Prix Femina: Myriam Harry for La Conquête de Jérusalem