Modern Literature Time Chart

A chart showing the publication dates of works of literature in the context of important historical, social, and cultural events

1914-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949  1950-1959  1960-1969  1970-1979  1980-1989  1990-1999  2000-2003

1930 - 1939



A selection of publications

W H Auden: Poems
Samuel Beckett: Whoroscope
Noel Coward: Private Lives
Hart Crane: The Bridge
T S Eliot: Ash-Wednesday
William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying
Robert Frost: Collected Poems
Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon
Langston Hughes: Not Without Laughter
W Somerset Maugham: Cakes and Ale
Sol Thekiso Plaatje: Mhudi
Stephen Spender: Twenty Poems
Evelyn Waugh: Vile Bodies
Thornton Wilder: Woman of Andros

Historic and political events

World Economic Depression.
USA: Al Capone released from prison.
Germany: Nazis come second in election, attacks on Jewish traders.
India: Gandhi's 300 mile march in protest against salt tax. Gandhi arrested, civil protests.

Social history

UK: 2 million unemployed. Science: invention of Nylon. discovery of Pluto. Cinema: Hitchcock’s Blackmail, his first talking picture. Marlene Deitrich, The Blue Angel. Rene Clair, Sous les Toits de Paris.


Samuel Beckett: Proust
John Betjeman: Mount Zion
Pearl S Buck: The Good Earth
Noel Coward, Cavalcade
A J Cronin: Hatter's Castle
William Faulkner: Sanctuary
Langston Hughes: Dear Lovely Death
Aldous Huxley: The World Of Light
Nancy Mitford: Highland Fling
Anthony Powell: Afternoon Men
Jean Rhys: After Leaving Mr Mackenzie
Nathanael West: The Dream Life of Balso Snell
Virginia Woolf: The Waves

UK: MacDonald resigns and all-party government formed in face of economic crisis. Sir Oswald Mosley forms the 'New Party'.
USA: Al 'Scarface' Capone sentenced to 11 years in prison.
India: Continuing riots between Hindus and Moslems. Gandhi asks Britain for Indian independence.

Classical music: William Walton, Belshazzar's Feast. Yehudi Menuhin's first London performance. Cinema: Boris Karloff, Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi, Dracula, Charlie Chaplin, City Lights.


Pearl S Buck: Sons
Willa Cather: Obscure Destinies
T S Eliot: Sweeney Agonistes; Selected Essays
William Faulkner: Light in August
John Galsworthy: Forty Poems
Graham Greene: Stamboul Train
Thomas Hardy: Collected Poems
Ernest Hemingway: Death in the Afternoon
Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
Christopher Isherwood: The Memorial
Compton Mackenzie: Greek Memories
Nancy Mitford: Christmas Pudding
Evelyn Waugh: Black Mischief

UK: Sir Oswald Mosley forms British Union of Fascists.
USA: Franklin Roosevelt, Democrat, becomes President.
India: Gandhi arrested in action against 'Gandhi's Cabinet'.

UK: Bill to abolish whipping of children under 14. Riots against unemployment. Classical music: Founding of London Philharmonic Orchestra by Sir Thomas Beecham. European influence: Bertold Brecht, The Mother. Cinema: Shirley Temple Red-Haired Alibi. First Tarzan film. The Marx Brothers, Horse feathers.


W H Auden: The Dance of Death
C Day-Lewis: The Magnetic Mountain
Walter Greenwood: Love on the Dole
D H Lawrence: Last Poems
Sean O'Casey: Within the Gates
Eugene O'Neill: Ah, Wilderness!
George Orwell: Down and Out in Paris and London
Gertrude Stein: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
H G Wells, The Shape of Things to Come
Nathanael West: Miss Lonelyhearts
Virginia Woolf: Flush

USA: Roosevelt's New Deal.
Germany: Hitler becomes Chancellor. Persecution of Jews, burning of books, attacks on unions, banning of opposition. First concentration camp at Dachau.
India: Gandhi leaves jail, and hospital, after hunger strike.

UK: Slum clearance programme in progress. Battersea power station built. USA: Prohibition ends. Arts & music: Jewish artists flee from Germany. Popular music: Duke Ellington's UK debut. European influence: Andre Malraux, La Condition Humaine


Samuel Beckett: More Pricks than Kicks
William Carlos Williams: Collected Poems
T S Eliot: Burnt Norton
F Scott Fitzgerald: Tender is the Night
Robert Graves: I, Claudius; Claudius the God
Henry Miller: Tropic of Cancer
Dylan Thomas: 18 Poems
Evelyn Waugh: A Handful of Dust

UK: Oswald Mosley addresses mass meeting of British Union of Fascists. Fascist and Anti-Fascist demonstrations.
France: General strike against Fascism.

UK: Driving tests introduced. Liner Queen Mary launched. USA: Bonnie and Clyde caught and killed by police. European influence: Jean Cocteau, La Machine Infernale


W H Auden and Christopher Isherwood: The Dog Beneath the Skin
Pearl S Buck: A House Divided
Ivy Compton-Burnett: A House and its Head
T S Eliot: Murder in the Cathedral
Christopher Isherwood: Mr. Norris Changes Trains
Louis MacNeice: Poems
John Masefield: Box of Delights
R K Narayan: Swami and Friends
Clifford Odets: Waiting for Lefty
George Orwell: Burmese Days; A Clergyman's Daughter
Katherine Anne Porter: Flowering Judas and Other Stories
Wallace Stevens: Ideas of Order

UK: Ramsay MacDonald resigns, Stanley Baldwin becomes Prime Minister. George V's Silver Jubilee. 'Government of India Bill' gives limited home rule.
USA: Second round of New Deal legislation.
Germany: Nuremberg Rally, persecution of Jews intensifies, build-up of arms brings fears of war in Europe.
Italy: Mussolini invades Abyssinia.

UK: Craze for keep-fit classes. ‘Green belt’ around London established. Penguin books founded, start of paperbacks. Science: Development of radar. Classical music: George Gershwin Porgy and Bess. Alban Berg, Violin Concerto. Popular music: Count Basie rise to fame, Benny Goodman orchestra formed. Cinema: Hitchcock, The 39 Steps. Astaire and Rogers in Top Hat


W H Auden: Look Stranger!
W H Auden and Christopher Isherwood: The Ascent of F6
Willa Cather: Not Under Forty
Robert Frost: A Further Range
Graham Greene: A Gun For Sale
Aldous Huxley: Eyeless in Gaza
C L R James: Minty Alley
James Joyce: Collected Poems
Arthur Miller: Honors at Dawn
Dorothy Parker: Not So Deep as a Well
Ayn Rand: We, the Living
John Steinbeck: In Dubious Battle
Dylan Thomas: Twenty-Five Poems
Rebecca West: The Thinking Reed

UK: Death of King George V, accession of Edward VIII, abdicates to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson. Clashes between Fascists and Anti-Fascists.
Spain: Start of civil war.
India: Further clashes between Hindus and Moslems.

UK: Unemployed from Jarrow march on London. Legal grounds for divorce widened. BBC starts TV broadcasts, Pinewood film studio opens. Art: Surrealist exhibition in London. Popular music: Start of the 'Swing' era with Benny Goodman 'King of Swing'. Cinema: Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times


W H Auden and Louis MacNeice: Letters from Iceland
John Betjeman: Continual Dew
A J Cronin: The Citadel
Ernest Hemingway: To Have and Have Not
Arthur Miller: No Villain / They Too Arise
R K Narayan: The Bachelor of Arts
George Orwell: The Road to Wigan Pier
Ezra Pound: Polite Essays
John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men
Wallace Stevens: The Man with the Blue Guitar
J R R Tolkien: The Hobbit
Virginia Woolf: The Years

UK: Coronation of King George VI. Public Order Act curbs Mosley's fascist organisation. Stanley Baldwin resigns, Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister. Plan to partition Palestine to create homeland for Jews.
Spain: Volunteers flock to help in civil war. German bombers attack Guernica in support of Franco.

UK: Ark Royal launched. Green belt proposed. Plans to build air raid shelters. USA: Strikes in car industry. Hindenburg airship disaster. Art: Picasso, Guernica. Hitler bans modern art as 'degenerate'. Cinema: Jean Renoir, La Grande Illusion, Judy Garland and James Mason, A Star is Born.


Samuel Beckett: Murphy
Elizabeth Bowen: The Death of the Heart
William Faulkner: The Unvanquished
Robert Graves: Count Belisarius
Graham Greene: Brighton Rock
Ernest Hemingway: The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories
Louis MacNeice: The Earth Compels
Vladimir Nabokov: Invitation To A Beheading
R K Narayan: The Dark Room
George Orwell: Homage to Catalonia
Ezra Pound: The Fifth Decade of Cantos
John Steinbeck: The Blood is Strong
Evelyn Waugh: Scoop
Virginia Woolf: Three Guineas
W B Yeats: Last Poems

UK: Chamberlain signs 'Munich Agreement'. IRA bombs London, Manchester, Birmingham.
USA: Fair Labor Standards Act.
Germany: Germany annexes Austria, gets part of Czechoslovakia. Further persecution of Jews.
Spain: Franco takes Barcelona and Madrid.

UK: Sigmund Freud moves to London to escape Nazis. USA: Orson Welles's radio broadcast of H G Wells's The War of the Worlds causes public panic. Science: Hahn and Strassman demonstrate splitting of atom in nuclear fission. European influence: Jean Paul Sartre La Nausée. Cinema: Disney, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first feature-length cartoon.


Pearl S Buck: The Patriot
T S Eliot: The Family Reunion
Ernest Hemingway: The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Christopher Isherwood: Goodbye to Berlin
James Joyce: Finnegan's Wake
Arthur Koestler: The Gladiators
Louis MacNeice: Autumn Journal
Flann O'Brian: At Swim-Two-Birds
Jean Rhys: Good Morning, Midnight
John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
Dylan Thomas: The Map of Love
Nathanael West: The Day of the Locust

WWII: Mussolini and Hitler sign 'Pact of Steel'. Germany annexes Czechoslovakia and invades Poland.

Second World War starts.

UK and Eire: Crackdown on IRA. IRA bombs Coventry.
Spain: Civil war ends.

UK: Children evacuated from cities. Technology: First jet aircraft. Classical music: Béla Bartók, String Quartet No. 6. William Walton, Violin Concerto. Popular music: Vera Lynn, We'll Meet Again. Cinema: Gone With the Wind. John Ford, John Wayne, Stagecoach

1914-1919  1920-1929  1930-1939  1940-1949  1950-1959  1960-1969  1970-1979  1980-1989  1990-1999  2000-2003

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