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

1940 - 1949


A selection of publications

W H Auden: New Year Letter
Willa Cather: Sapphira And The Slave
T S Eliot: East Coker
Graham Greene: The Power and the Glory
Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls
A M Klein: Hath Not a Jew
Carson McCullers: The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
C P Snow: Strangers and Brothers
John Steinbeck: A Letter to the Friends of Democracy
Dylan Thomas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog
Richard Wright: Native Son

Historic and political events

WWII: Germany invades Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland, and France and Channel Islands. General de Gaulle leads French resistance movement.
UK: Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister of coalition Government, 'their finest hour' speech. Oswald Mosley arrested. Evacuation of troops at Dunkirk, 'blitz' on London, 'Battle of Britain'.

Social history

UK: Food rationing. 'Careless talk costs lives' campaign. Women war workers demand equal pay and conditions to men. William Joyce, 'Lord Haw Haw', makes broadcasts from Germany. Art: UK: Official war artists appointed, including Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer. Cinema: Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. Disney, Fantasia.


Noel Coward: Blithe Spirit
A J Cronin: The Keys of the Kingdom
HIE Dhlomo: The Valley of a Thousand Hills
T S Eliot: The Dry Salvages
F Scott Fitzgerald: The Last Tycoon
Arthur Koestler: Darkness at Noon
W Somerset Maugham: Up at the Villa
Vladimir Nabokov: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
George Orwell: The Lion And The Unicorn
Sinclair Ross: As For Me and My House
John Steinbeck: The Forgotten Village
Eudora Welty: A Curtain of Green
Virginia Woolf: Between the Acts

WWII: Germany invades Russia. transports Jews to ghettos.
Japanese attack American ships at Pearl Harbour, USA and Britain declare war on Japan. Japan advances in S. E. Asia.
USA: Racial discrimination outlawed in defence industry.

UK: Meeting place of Bloomsbury Group bombed in blitz, Virginia Woolf drowns herself. Science: Start of 'Manhattan project' to develop atomic bomb. European Influence: Bertold Brecht, Mother Courage and her Children. Cinema: Orson Welles, Citizen Kane. John Huston, The Maltese Falcon, start of Film Noir.


Earle Birney: David
Taylor Caldwell: The Strong City
T S Eliot: Little Gidding
William Faulkner: Go Down, Moses
Robert Frost: A Witness Tree
Langston Hughes: Shakespeare in Harlem
Patrick Kavanagh: The Great Hunger
Ezra Pound: Carta Da Vista
Stephen Spender: Ruins and Visions
John Steinbeck: Bombs Away
Wallace Stevens: Parts of a World
Evelyn Waugh: Put Out More Flags
Thornton Wilder: The Skin of Our Teeth

WWII: British victory in N. Africa. Japanese take Singapore. USA bombs Tokyo, lands troops in N. Africa.
Germany: Wannsee Conference on 'The Final Solution', extermination camps established in Poland.
India: Britain offers Gandhi plan for Indian self-government. Gandhi imprisoned before disobedience campaign.

Science: Atomic bomb tested. First nuclear reactor. European influence: Albert Camus, The Outsider. Popular music: Vera Lynn, White Cliffs of Dover. Frank Sinatra rise to fame. Cinema: Casablanca.


Raymond Chandler: The Lady In The Lake
Walter de la Mare: Love
Robert Graves: Wife to Mr Milton
Graham Greene: The Ministry of Fear
Kate O'Brien: The Last of Summer
Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead
Herbert Read: Education Through Art
Betty Smith: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
John Steinbeck: The Moon is Down
Dylan Thomas: New Poems

WWII: Poland: Nazi massacre of Jews in Ghetto. Italy: Mussolini deposed. Allied invasion of Italy. Italy declares war on Germany.
German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad.

Science: Properties of LSD discovered. Philosophy: Jean Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness. Popular music: George Formby. Gracie Fields. Rogers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma


Saul Bellow: The Dangling Man
John Betjeman: New Bats in Old Belfries
Joyce Cary: The Horse's Mouth
Walter de la Mare: Collected Rhymes and Verses
Hilda Doolittle (H D): Trilogy
T S Eliot: Four Quartets
Dorothy Livesay: Day and Night
W Somerset Maugham: The Razor's Edge
James McAuley: ‘Ern Malley’ hoax
Katherine Anne Porter: The Leaning Tower and Other Stories

WWII: British and Americans advance in Italy, liberate Rome. American Pacific assault. 'D Day' Allied landings in Normandy, liberation of Paris. Death camps found in Poland.
UK: German doodlebug and V2 flying bombs hit London.

UK: Pre-fabricated houses developed. Science: discovery of DNA. European influence: C G Jung, Psychology and Religion. Jean Paul Sartre, In Camera. Classical music: Michael Tippett, A Child of Our Time. Popular music: Charlie Parker, 'bebop'.


W H Auden: Collected Poetry
Earle Birney: Now is Time
Robert Frost: A Masque of Reason
Henry Green: Loving
Philip Larkin: The North Ship
Norman Mailer: The Naked and the Dead
Arthur Miller: Grandpa And The Statue
R K Narayan: The English Teacher
George Orwell: Animal Farm
John Steinbeck: Cannery Row
Evelyn Waugh: Brideshead Revisited
Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie

WWII: Allies reach Berlin. Hitler kills himself. German surrender, death camps liberated. Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Second World War ends.
UK: Labour Government under Clement Atlee.
USA: Harry S. Truman, Democrat, becomes President.
India: Gandhi and Nehru ask Britain to leave India. Britain promises home rule.

Art: Henry Moore sketches underground shelters. Paul Nash. John Piper. Graham Sutherland. European influence: Jean Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason. Bertolt Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Classical music: Benjamin Britten, Peter Grimes. Popular music: Charlie Parker, The Charlie Parker Story. Cinema: David Lean, Brief Encounter. Rossellini, Rome, Open City.


Peter Abrahams: Mine Boy
Elizabeth Bishop: North & South
William Carlos Williams: Paterson
Walter de la Mare: The Traveller
Graham Greene: The Little Train
Philip Larkin: Jill
Robert Lowell: Lord Weary's Castle
W Somerset Maugham: Then and Now
Carson McCullers: The Member of the Wedding
Eugene O'Neill: The Iceman Cometh
Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men
Terence Rattigan: The Winslow Boy
Henry Reed: A Map of Verona
Dylan Thomas: Deaths and Entrances
Eudora Welty: Delta Wedding

Nuremberg trials.
League of Nations dissolved. United Nations established.
UK: Churchill warns of Iron Curtain and Communist tyranny.
India: Demonstrations against British rule. Moslems demand state of Pakistan. Violence between Hindus and Moslems.

Term 'Third World' began to be used. UK: Arts Council founded. Radio 3 starts. Heathrow Airport opened. Plans for 'New towns'. Science: research links smoking to cancer. Technology: IBM develops electronic calculator. Ball point pen developed. Cinema: Jean Cocteau, La Belle et la Bete.


Saul Bellow: The Victim
Herman Charles Bosman: Mafeking Road
Ivy Compton Burnett: Manservant and Maidservant
Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Philip Larkin: A Girl in Winter
Malcolm Lowry: Under the Volcano
W Somerset Maugham: Creatures of Circumstance
Compton Mackenzie: Whisky Galore
Louis MacNeice: The Dark Tower
Stephen Spender: Poems of Dedication
Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire

UK: Britain agrees to leave Palestine after Jewish terrorism campaign. UN partitions Palestine.
USA: Crusade against communism begins. House Committee on Un-American Activities.
India: India and Pakistan gain independence, Nehru becomes Prime Minister, partition leads to massacres.

UK: Coal industry and road transport nationalised. Feb: severe weather causes crisis. Food rationing, austerity cuts. School leaving age raised to 15. European influence: Albert Camus, The Plague.


Peter Abrahams: The Path of Thunder
John Betjeman: Selected Poems
Winston Churchill: The Gathering Storm
William Faulkner: Intruder in the Dust
Christopher Fry: The Lady's Not For Burning
Robert Graves: The White Goddess
Graham Greene: The Heart of the Matter
Norman Mailer: The Naked and the Dead
Alan Paton: Cry the Beloved Country
Ezra Pound: Pisan Cantos
Anthony Powell: John Aubrey and His Friends
Terence Rattigan: The Browning Version
Irwin Shaw: The Young Lions
Evelyn Waugh: The Loved One
Thornton Wilder: The Ides of March
Tennessee Williams: One Arm And Other Stories

UN forms WHO and adopts Declaration of Human Rights.
USA: Armed forces desegregated.
USSR blockades Berlin, beginning of Cold War.
Czechoslovakia: Communist coup.
Burma: Gains independence.
Israel: Creation of state of Israel.
India: Gandhi assassinated, rioting erupts.

UK: National Health Service begins. Plans for comprehensive schools. Birth of Prince Charles. 'Baby boom', birth rate rises steeply. Railways nationalised. Science: First heart operation. Art: Bill Brandt, Camera in London. Jackson Pollock, Composition No. 1, Abstract Expressionism. Popular music: Julie Andrews. Cinema: Italian neorealism: Vittorio de Sica, Bicycle Thieves


Nelson Algren: The Man with the Golden Arm
Elizabeth Bowen: The Heat of the Day
Herman Charles Bosman: Cold Stone Jug
Paul Bowles: The Sheltering Sky
Pearl S Buck: The Angry Wife
William Faulkner: Knight's Gambit
Langston Hughes: One-Way Ticket
Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman
Nancy Mitford: Love in a Cold Climate
R K Narayan: Mr Sampath: The Printer of Malgudi
George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-four
Ezra Pound: The Cantos Of Ezra Pound
Rebecca West: The Meaning of Treason

USA: President Truman tries to quell anti-Communist hysteria.
Ireland: Eire gains republic status.
China: Communist regime under Mao Tse-tung takes over.
South Africa: Further implementation of Apartheid, race riots.
USSR: First atomic bomb tests.
NATO formed.

UK: Iron and steel industries nationalised. End of clothes rationing. Popularity of cinema falls as popularity of TV rises. USA: First colour TV system. Technology: Seven inch records available. First jet airliner. Art: RA president attacks modern art of Picasso, Matisse, and Henry Moore. Cinema: Carol Reed, Orson Welles, The Third Man.

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

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