Marcel Proust


Serious literature was in transition in these years; many of the giants of the late Nineteenth Century were dying off (Tolstoy, Chekhov, Twain), while the great names of the early Twentieth Century were only beginning (Kafka, Joyce, D. H. Lawrence) if they were writing yet at all.  But it was a wonderful time for classic social/political commentary - Ida Tarbell’s The History of the Standard Oil Company, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion, all sorts of speculations by H. G. Wells, and many others.  And Twentieth Century pop literature was just starting to cook, with Tarzan first appearing in 1912.  Also memorable was the publication of the first volume of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and the beginning of the widespread availability of western literature in East Asia.

 
 
1904

United States.
==Apr.23 > The American Academy of Arts and Letters is established

Ireland.
==Jun.16 > James Joyce takes chambermaid Nora Barnacle for a walk - years later the incident will become the basis for ‘Bloomsday’, Leopold Bloom's fictional odyssey through Dublin in Ulysses

Germany.
==mid.1904 > Stefan George’s bohemian ‘Cosmic Circle’ group falls apart in Munich

Russia.
==Jul.02 > Anton Chekhov dies at the age of 44

Latin America.
==Jul.12 > Poet Pablo Neruda is born in backwoods Parral, Chile

Poland.
==Jul.14 > Isaac Bashevis Singer is born in Radzymin, Poland

Britain.
==Aug.--- > Rudyard Kipling writes an ode portraying conservative British politician Joe Chamberlain as a superman plagued by envy
==Oct.02 > Graham Greene is born in Berkhampstead

United States.
==Nov.--- > Muckraker Ida Tarbell’s The History of the Standard Oil Company is published in book form, after having been printed as a serial
==1904 > Jack London publishes the adventure novel The Sea Wolf
==1904 > O. Henry publishes his first collection of short stories, Cabbages and Kings
==1904 > Henry Adams’ Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres is privately printed - it will not be published until 1914
==1904 > Philosopher William James publishes Does consciousness exist? and A world of pure experience
==1904 > Muckraker Lincoln Steffens publishes The Shame of the Cities in McClure’s magazine, exposing American municipal corruption

Britain.
==1904 > Joseph Conrad publishes the political novel Nostromo, set in Latin America
==1904 > American-born Henry James publishes The Golden Bowl
==1904 > Arthur Conan Doyle writes the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes

France.
==1904-1912 > Romain Rolland publishes his epic ten volume Jean-Christophe
==1904 > Gertrude Stein moves to Paris from America

Germany.
==1904 > Herman Hesse publishes his first book, Peter Camenzind
==1904 > Max Weber publishes The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which links Protestantism to the rise of capitalism

Austria-Hungary.
==1904 > Franz Kafka's earliest surviving fiction is written about this time

Russia.
==1904 > Aleksandr Blok's first book of poetry, Songs to the Beautiful Lady (Stikhi o prekrasnoi dame), is published - his study of the worship of beauty gone sour reflects his failed marriage and growing cynicism


1905

United States.
==Feb.02 > Ayn Rand is born in St. Petersburg

France.
==Mar.24 > Jules Verne dies at the age of 77 in Amiens

United States.
==Apr.24 > Robert Penn Warren is born in Guthrie, Kentucky, to a banker and a schoolteacher

Russia.
==May.24 (May.11, old style) > Mikhail Sholokhov is born

France.
==Jun.21 > Jean-Paul Sartre is born in Paris, the son of a naval officer

Austria-Hungary.
==Sep.05 > Arthur Koestler is born in Budapest, Hungary

United States.
==Dec.05 > O. Henry publishes The Gift of the Magi
==1905 > Edith Wharton publishes her first successful novel, The House of Mirth

Britain.
==1905 > Baroness Orczy publishes The Scarlet Pimpernel
==1905 > H.G. Wells publishes Modern Utopia, which envisions a humane society governed by aristo-idealists
==1905 > The Bloomsbury Group forms in London, including among its members E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes - the group remains active until 1941

China.
==1905 > Yen Fu translates John Stuart Mill’s The System of Logic into Chinese


1906

Russia.
==Jan.--- > The first issue of the Russian arts journal Golden Fleece is published

United States.
==early > Upton Sinclair publishes the pro-socialist The Jungle at his own expense, which horrifies America with graphic accounts of conditions in meat-packing plants

Germany.
==Oct.14 > Political philosopher Hannah Arendt is born in Hanover

United States.
==1906 > Release of a partly sanitized but still scandalous version of Theodore Dreiser’s novel about a kept woman, Sister Carrie, first published in 1900 but not promoted by the shocked publisher
==1906 > Ambrose Bierce publishes The Cynic’s Wordbook, republished as The Devil’s Dictionary in 1911
==1906 > The autobiographical The Education of Henry Adams is privately printed by the author - it is only published posthumously, and wins a Nobel Prize for Biography in 1919
==1906 > Jack London publishes the Alaskan story White Fang

Britain.
==1906 > John Galsworthy publishes The Man of Property, the start of the Forsyte Saga, which is in progress to 1922
==1906-1908 > Ford Madox Ford publishes his first major work, the Fifth Queen trilogy
==1906 > Winston Churchill publishes Lord Randolph Churchill, an admiring biography of his father
==1906 > In Britain, Everyman’s Library begins publication of cheap editions of literary classics, making them available to a mass audience

France.
==1906 > The French Assembly abolishes censorship

Greece.
==1906 > Nikos Kazantzakis publishes his first book, Serpent and Lily

Korea.
==1906 > Yi In-jik publishes the first modern Korean novel, Tears of Blood, advocating social reform


1907

Britain.
==Feb.21 > W. H. Auden born in York to a distinguished physician

Spain.
==Oct.--- > The young Ortega y Gasset begins a series of influential articles encouraging the regeneration of Spain

France.
==Nov.01 > Alfred Jarry, author of the absurdist Ubu Roi, dies in Paris - his last words are a request for a toothpick

United States.
==1907 > J. Allen Smith’s The Spirit of American Government sees American history as a struggle between progressive good and plutocratic evil
==1907 > Jack London publishes the partly autobiographical The Road, portraying hobo life, and The Iron Heel, predicting the rise of fascism (or 1908): London’s own attitude on the subject is ambiguous
==1907 > O. Henry publishes The Last Leaf
==1907 > William James publishes Pragmatism
==1907 > Mulford creates cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy

Ireland.
==1907 > James Joyce publishes the verse collection Chamber Music, whose title was inspired by the sound of urine hitting a chamber pot

Britain.
==1907 > Joseph Conrad publishes the spy novel The Secret Agent
==1907 > In Britain, the Fabian Arts Group publishes the modernist journal The New Age, which will feature Ezra Pound and others
==1907 > Rudyard Kipling wins the Nobel Prize for literature

France.
==1907 > Philosopher Henri Bergson publishes Creative Evolution (L'Evolution Créatrice) - in 1914, it will be put on the Catholic Church's forbidden index

Scandinavia.
==1907 > Karen Christence Dinesen, better known as Karen Blixen, publishes her first short stories in Danish

Germany.
==1907-1908 > Rainer Maria Rilke publishes his collection New Poems

Russia.
==1907 > Bolshevik intellectual Anatoli Lunacharsky’s Religion and Socialism equates Marxism with religion
==1907 > In Russia, Maxim Gorky publishes the polemical novel Mother

China.
==1907-1908 > Five of Dickens’ novels are rendered into Chinese by the translator Lin: ~Western literature is being widely introduced into China

VietNam.
==1907 > Translations of Western works of literature, philosophy, and political science begin to appear in Vietnam by way of China - ~the romanized quoc-ngu alphabet is in widespread use


1908

France.
==Jan.09 > Philosopher Simone de Beauvoir is born to an upper middle class Parisian Catholic family

United States.
==Mar.22 > Louis L'Amour is born in North Dakota

Britain.
==May.28 > Ian Fleming is born

France.
==Jun.04 > Émile Zola’s ashes are officially transferred to the Pantheon in Paris

United States.
==Jul.03 > Joel Chandler Harris, the author of Uncle Remus, dies at age 59 in Atlanta

France.
==Jul.15 > Jean Cocteau publishes his first poetry at the age of eighteen: Aladdin's Lamp (Lampe d'Aladin)

Italy.
==Dec.--- > The leading Italian cultural journal La Voce is established

United States.
==1908 > Mary Roberts Rinehart publishes The Circular Staircase
==1908 > Zane Grey publishes the first of his many popular Western adventures, The Last of the Plainsmen

Britain.
==1908 > British reformer Graham Wallas publishes Human Nature in Politics, which greatly influences American progressives
==1908 > E. M. Forster publishes Room With a View
==1908 > Kenneth Grahame, a secretary in the Bank of England, publishes the children’s classic The Wind in the Willows
==1908 > H. G. Wells publishes The War in the Air, in which a German air strike on New York sets off a world war that wrecks civilization
==1908 > G. K. Chesterton's publishes the political thriller The Man Who Was Thursday, with a poet/police agent struggling against an anarchist plot to destroy civilization
==1908-1910 > Ford Madox Ford publishes the literary journal The English Review, which prints work by Thomas Hardy, Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, and H. G. Wells
==1908 > Winston Churchill publishes My African Journey

France.
==1908 > Anatole France publishes the social satire Penguin Island

Russia.
==1908 > Aleksandr Blok publishes Na pole Kulikovom, on the medieval battle of Kulikovo, developing his style of ambiguous, mystical Russian patriotism


1909

France.
==Jan.02 > ~Marcel Proust experiences a flashback of childhood memories after dipping toast in his tea, which evolves into the basis of Remembrance of Things Past - he withdraws from society into a cork-lined sickroom to concentrate on writing
==Feb.01 > The first issue of the cultural review Nouvelle Revue Francaise appears - it begins publication of André Gide’s Strait Is the Gate (La Porte Étroite)

Italy.
==Feb.20 > Italian writer Filippo Marinetti prints the frenzied Futurist Manifesto in the Paris journal Le Figaro, calling for an art of revolution and renouncing grammar

Britain.
==Jun.06 > Political philosopher Isaiah Berlin is born to a Jewish timber merchant in Riga, Latvia

United States.
==Jul.01 > America enacts a strong Copyright Act

Russia.South Africa.India.
==Oct.01 > Mahatma Gandhi (in South Africa) and the aged Leo Tolstoy begin a year-long correspondence - both are utterly disillusioned with modern civilization

United States.
==beginning.Nov > Herbert Croly’s influential The Promise of American Life urges progressives to use the power of the government to achieve social and economic justice

Britain.
==Nov.--- > Norman Angell publishes the influential The Great Illusion, denouncing war as an economic disaster
==1909 > The young P. G. Wodehouse satirizes English war paranoia in The Swoop: Britain is invaded by the Germans, the Somalians, the Swiss, the Turks, and the Chinese before it's rescued by the Boy Scouts - the book flops
==1909 > J. A. Hobson publishes The Crisis of Liberalism

France.
==1909 > Apollinaire's first collection of poems, The Rotting Magician (L'Enchanteur Pourrissant), is published, attracting little attention

Russia.
==1909 > The former Russian terrorist Boris Savinkov publishes the autobiographical novel The Pale Horse, portraying revolutionaries as corrupt cynics
==1909 > Leon Trotsky publishes The Year 1905 in German, in Vienna
==1909 > The Russian anarchist Kropotkin publishes La Grande Revolution in Paris


1910

Italy.
==Feb.15 > The first Futurist convention is held in Milan, amidst shouts of "Up with war!  Down with Austria!"

Britain.
==Feb.--- Virginia Woolf and her friends tour the battleship HMS Dreadnought by impersonating the Emperor of Ethiopia and his retainers

United States.
==Apr.21 > Mark Twain dies at the age of 74, in Redding, Connecticut
==Jun.05 > The hard-drinking O. Henry dies of cirrhosis of the liver - in the same year, The Ransom of Red Chief is published
==Aug.26 > American philosopher William James dies

France.
==Sep.09 > Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein take up lifetime residence together.

Russia.
==Nov.20 > The death of Leo Tolstoy at age 82, at Astapovo train station - news of the author’s death sets off student demonstrations and riots in Russia

France.
==Dec.19 > Jean Genet is born out of wedlock in Paris, and is soon abandoned to a home for unwanted children

United States.
==1910 > ~Bohemianism begins to appear in some large American cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and St. Louis
==1910 > Ezra Pound publishes his first book of essays

Britain.
==1910 > E. M. Forster establishes his reputation with the novel Howard’s End 
==1910 > Joseph Conrad publishes The Secret Sharer
==1910 > G. K. Chesterton introduces the Father Brown clerical detective series; the first collection of stories is published 1911

Ottoman Empire.
==1910 > The Ottoman literary review Young Pens (Genc Kalemler) is founded in Salonika, advocating the adoption of a simplified Turkish language and publishing early Turkish nationalist writing by Ziya (Gökalp)


1911

United States.
==Mar.26 > Tennessee Williams is born in Columbus, Mississippi

Italy.
==early.May > The Vatican places Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio’s works on the forbidden index

United States.
==end.Jul > Crossing to England on the Mauretania, Henry James and Thomas Edison meet and discuss aerodynamics while tossing paper airplanes

Germany.
==late summer > ~The ‘revolutionary conservative’ scholar Oswald Spengler begins work on The Decline of the West (completed 1918), in which he theorizes that all cultures have life cycles and that western civilization is in irreversible decay

Japan.
==Sep.--- > In Japan, the early feminist literary magazine Seito is published to 1916 despite government harassment
==1911 > Nishida’s landmark Japanese philosophical work Study of the Good sees individuals as powerless to alter their fates or to transform society

United States.
==1911 > Edith Wharton publishes Ethan Frome

Britain.
==1911 > The British Copyright Act ensures copyright 50 years after author’s death
==1911 > Joseph Conrad publishes Under Western Eyes
==1911 > The young D. H. Lawrence publishes his first book, The White Peacock
==1911 > Rupert Brooke publishes his popular first volume of verse, with the generic name Poems
==1911 > H. G. Wells parodies the Webbs and their stridently progressive Fabian Society in The New Machiavelli
==1911 > The ultra-right-wing Hilaire Belloc publishes The Party System, charging that Parliament is controlled by monied interests

France.
==1911 > The Rotonde Cafe opens in Paris; it is soon frequented by Picasso, Apollinaire, Diego Rivera, Cocteau, Modigliani, Chagall, Ilya Ehrenburg and other members of the avant garde
==1911 > The League for the Defense of French Culture is established to guard against German influences

Austria-Hungary.
==1911-1912 > Franz Kafka does most of the work on his unfinished novel Amerika

India.
==1911 > Rabindranath Tagore writes Jana Gana Mana, which later becomes the Indian national anthem


1912

United States.
==Jan.30 > Historian Barbara Tuchman is born in New York City

Britain.
==Feb.27 > Lawrence Durrell born in Jullundur in northern India, near Tibet

United States.
==Aug.27 > Pulp writer Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan makes his first appearance, in All Story Magazine - in the same year, Burroughs also writes Under the Moons of Mars, the first example of the fantastic tales genre

Britain.
==Sep.20 > The Georgian Poetry society is established by Rupert Brooke and his friends - their first volume of works is published in Dec.
==Oct.--- > The first appearance of Sax Rohmer's sinister Fu Manchu, in a British pulp magazine - in 1913, the novel The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu is published

United States.
==late fall > The wealthy heiress Mabel Dodge begins holding regular ‘Evenings’ in Greenwich Village, providing a focus for cultural and political revolutionaries of all types
==1912 > Theodore Dreiser publishes The Financier
==1912 > Harriet Monroe begins publishing the influential Poetry magazine in Chicago
==1912 > The young Edna St. Vincent Millay publishes Renascence, her first significant poem
==1912 > Zane Grey publishes the Western adventure Riders of the Purple Sage, which eventually sells two million copies

Britain.
==1912 > Virginia Woolf publishes her first novel, The Voyage Out, but soon after she has a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide
==1912 > Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the adventure novel The Lost World, with explorers encountering dinosaurs in the Amazon rain forest

Germany.
==1912 > Thomas Mann publishes Death in Venice

Austria-Hungary.
==1912 > Franz Kafka writes The Metamorphosis (published 1915) and The Judgment (published 1913)

Russia.
==1912 > Anna Akhmatova publishes her first collection of poetry Evening (Vecher), which is an immediate success in Russia
==1912 > The former terrorist Boris Savinkov publishes A Tale of What Was Not
==1912 > In St. Petersburg, the avant-garde poet Vladimir Mayakovsky and his friends issue the futurist manifesto A Slap in the Face of Public Taste and hold poetry readings where they throw tea at their audiences


1913

Britain.
==Feb.--- > A. Conan Doyle’s Danger envisions Britain brought to her knees by a submarine campaign directed against commerce, a scenario which nearly comes true in both World Wars

United States.
==spring > The young Walter Lippmann publishes his first book, the progressive and iconoclastic A Preface to Politics, which condemns moral systems and shows a strong Freudian influence

France.
==Nov.07 > Albert Camus is born into a French working-class family in Mondovi, Algeria
==Nov.--- > The first volume of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past is published at the author’s expense after being rejected by publishers

Mexico.United States.
==Dec.26 > The date of the last known letter from Ambrose Bierce, who subsequently vanishes without a trace in Chihuahua during the Mexican Revolution (there has also been speculation that the aged Bierce’s journey to Mexico was a hoax that he concocted, and that he secretly died in the United States)
==Dec.26 > Radical American journalist John Reed befriends Pancho Villa - ~Reed covers the Mexican Revolution to early Apr.1914, and publishes Insurgent Mexico

United States.
==1913 > Jack London's John Barleycorn describes his own drinking binges
==1913 > Edith Wharton publishes The Custom of the Country, a sharply observed account of the American upper-class
==1913 > Willa Cather publishes O Pioneers!
==1913 > Poet Vachel Lindsay publishes General William Booth Enters into Heaven
==1913 > Beard’s Economic Interpretation of the Constitution suggests that the United States was set up to perpetuate oligarchy
==1913 > Brooks Adams’ A Theory of Social Revolution theorizes that unresponsive government leads to social upheaval
==1913 > Rex Stout, the future creator of the sedentary detective mastermind Nero Wolfe, publishes his first stories in a pulp magazine

Britain.
==1913 > 28-year-old D. H. Lawrence publishes Sons and Lovers 
==1913 > H. G. Wells’ The World Set Free has a contented and united world emerging from the destruction of global war

France.
==1913 > Apollinaire's collection of poems Alcohols (Alcools) is published, securing his reputation as a master of avant garde verse

Russia.
==1913 > Belyi’s apocalyptic novel Petersburg begins appearing in serialized form
==1913 > Osip Mandelstam gains fame with his first collection of poems, Stone

India.
==1913 > Rabindranath Tagore receives the Nobel prize in literature - he also publishes Sadhana: The Realization of Life, his most important philosophical work


1914

United States.
==Feb.05 > The proto-beatnik William Burroughs is born to wealthy family in St. Louis, Missouri.
==Feb.13 > ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) is established to enforce the 1909 Copyright Act
==Mar.11 > Black author Ralph Ellison is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Mexico.
==Mar.31 > Octavio Paz is born in Mexico City

United States.
==May.29 > Edgar Lee Masters begins publishing his epitaph-poems, which will be collected in Spoon River Anthology in 1915
==1914 > Walter Lippman publishes Drift and Mastery, which predicts that science will enable man to totally master his environment and himself, and critiques traditional family values
==1914 > Vachel Lindsay publishes The Congo and Other Poems
==1914 > Robert Frost publishes his widely admired North of Boston, including the poem Mending Wall
==1914-1923 > H. L. Mencken coedits The Smart Set, during which time he develops a national reputation in America
==1914 > Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems appear in Poetry magazine
==1914 > Theodore Dreiser publishes The Titan, the second of his Cowperwood trilogy
==1914 > Booth Tarkington publishes the children’s classic Penrod

Ireland.
==1914 > James Joyce publishes Dubliners

Britain.
==1914 > T. S. Eliot moves to Britain from America, not to return until 1932
==1914 > Graham Wallas publishes The Great Society
==1914 > Robert Tressell’s socialist The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is posthumously published

Scandinavia.Africa.
==1914 > After marrying her cousin Baron Bror Blixen-Finecke, the aristocratic Danish author Karen Blixen moves to Kenya to help run a coffee plantation

Germany.
==1914 > The teenage Bertold Brecht publishes his first poems

Austria-Hungary.
==1914 > Franz Kafka writes In the Penal Colony (published 1919) and begins work on The Trial 

Russia.
==1914 > Vladimir Nabokov writes his first poem
==1914 > Akhmatova publishes her second collection of poetry, Rosary (Chyotki or Chetki), which is again highly successful


 
 
Sources include:
(Authors' Calendar)
(Counter Culture Chronology)
Vincent Cronin.  Paris on the Eve  1900-1914.  1989
(Eckman’s Homepage  - Modernism)
Encyclopedia Britannica, Fifteenth Edition.  1975 
George Ochoa and Melinda Corey.  The Timeline Book of the Arts.  1995
Jan Romein.  The Watershed of Two Eras: Europe in 1900.  1978.
James Trager.  The People's Chronology.  1992
Philip Waller and John Rowett.  Chronology of the Twentieth Century.  1995
Robert Wohl.  The Generation of 1914.  1979

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