History of Modern Literature - 19th Century - The Middle of The Century

The Middle of The Century

In the mid-19th century magazines publishing short stories and serials began to be popular. Some of them were more respectable, while others were referred to by the derogatory name of penny dreadfuls. In 1844 Alexandre Dumas, père published a novel The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) and wrote The Count of Monte Cristo which was published in installments over the next two years. William Makepeace Thackeray published The Luck of Barry Lyndon. In Britain Charles Dickens published several of his books in installments in magazines: The Pickwick Papers, followed, in the next few years, by Oliver Twist (1837–1839), Nicholas Nickleby (1838–1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840–1841), Barnaby Rudge (1841), A Christmas Carol (1843) and Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–1844). In America a version of the penny dreadful became popularly known as a dime novel. In the dime novels the reputations of gunfighters and other wild west heroes or villains were created or exaggerated. The western genre came into existence. James Fenimore Cooper began a series of stories featuring the characters Hawkeye and Chingachgook. These stories were not only "westerns" but also historical novels, the earliest setting being approximately 100 years earlier than the year James Fenimore Cooper was writing it. The series was called the Leatherstocking Tales and comprised five volumes: The Deerslayer (1841), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Pathfinder (1840), The Pioneers (1823), The Prairie (1827).

In 1836, Nikolai Gogol published The Government Inspector

In 1837, Edgar Allan Poe published a poem: "The Conqueror Worm". Alexander Pushkin died of injuries sustained in a duel.

In 1838 Edgar Allan Poe published a short story: "Ligeia" and a novel: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Elizabeth Barrett published The Seraphim. Lady Charlotte Guest published Mabinogion, a collection of ancient Celtic stories from Wales.

In 1839 the Canadian writer Louis Fréchette was born. Edgar Allan Poe published three short stories: "William Wilson", "The Devil in the Belfry" and "The Fall of the House of Usher".

In 1840 the Westcountry author Thomas Hardy was born. Mikhail Lermontov published A Hero of Our Time

In 1841 Phillipe-Ignace François Aubert de Gaspé died. Edgar Allan Poe published two short stories: "A Descent into the Maelström" and "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". The latter introduced the fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin. Mikhail Lermontov was killed in a duel.

In 1842, Nikolai Gogol published Dead Souls.

In 1843 the transatlantic author Henry James was born. Edgar Allan Poe published a poem: "Lenore" and four short stories: "The Gold-Bug", "The Black Cat", "The Tell-Tale Heart" and a C. Auguste Dupin short story called "The Mystery of Marie Roget".

In 1844, Edgar Allan Poe published several works: "The Spectacles", "The Balloon-Hoax" and his final Dupin story "The Purloined Letter".

In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe published his poem "The Raven" and a short story "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". August Wilhelm von Schlegel died 12 May.

In 1846, Elizabeth Barrett married Robert Browning. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë published Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. Edward Lear published his Book of Nonsense. Fyodor Dostoevsky published Poor Folk.

In 1847, Anne Brontë published Agnes Grey, Emily Brontë published Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte Brontë published Jane Eyre. Rymer published Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood. Edgar Allan Poe published the poem "Ulalume".

In 1848, William Makepeace Thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair was published. Elizabeth Gaskell published Mary Barton. Anne Brontë published The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Grant Allen was born. Edgar Allan Poe published a book-length essay he called a prose poem: Eureka: A Prose Poem.

In 1849, both Anne Brontë and Edgar Allan Poe died. Poe's poems "Annabel Lee" and "The Bells" were published posthumously. Dostoyevski published Netochka Nezvanova. The poet Emma Lazarus was born 22 July in New York City.

Between 1849 and 1861, Charles Dickens' prolific creative outpouring gave us David Copperfield (1849–1850), Bleak House (1852–1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1855–1857), A Tale of Two Cities (11 July 1859) and Great Expectations (1860–1861).

In 1850, Alfred Lord Tennyson became Poet Laureate and Robert Louis Stevenson was born 13 November.

In 1851, Sheridan Le Fanu published Ghost Stories and Tales of Mystery, Herman Melville published Moby-Dick and James Fenimore Cooper died 14 September.

In 1852, Ivan Turgenev published A Sportsman's Sketches. Leo Tolstoy published Childhood.

In 1854, Oscar Wilde was born 16 October.

In 1859 George Eliot published her first novel Adam Bede. Dostoyevsky published The Village of Stepanchikovo (or The Friend of the Family). Arthur Conan Doyle was born 22 May; Knut Hamsun was born 4 August; and Washington Irving died 28 November.

1860 Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов) was born 29 January.

In 1861 Robert Goldsmith died. Bliss Carman was born. E. Pauline Johnson was born. Fyodor Dostoevsky published Humiliated and Insulted.

In 1862 Victor Hugo published Les Misérables. Ivan Turgenev published Fathers and Sons. Henry David Thoreau died. Edith Wharton was born. Dostoyevsky published The House of the Dead and A Nasty Story. Christina Rossetti published Goblin Market and Other Poems.

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