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

1950 - 1959


A selection of publications

W H Auden: Collected Shorter Poems
Pearl S Buck: The Child Who Never Grew
T S Eliot: The Cocktail Party
Ernest Hemingway: Across the River and into the Trees
Langston Hughes: Simple Speaks his Mind
Jack Kerouac: The Town and the City
Doris Lessing: The Grass is Singing
Ford Madox Ford: Parade's End
Ezra Pound: Seventy Cantos
Carl Sandburg: Complete Poems
John Steinbeck: Burning Bright
Wallace Stevens: The Auroras of Autumn
Dylan Thomas: Twenty-Six Poems
Derek Walcott: Henri Cristophe
Evelyn Waugh: Helena

Historic and political events

USA: Senator Joseph McCarthy launches crusade against alleged Communist infiltration of Federal government.
Korea: Start of war, Communist North invades South, USA and UK send troops, China sends in troops.
Tibet: China invades Tibet.

Social history

UK: End of petrol rationing brings motoring boom. Science: First kidney transplant. USA plans to build hydrogen bomb. Technology: BBC's first broadcast from overseas. Popular music: Frank Sinatra's London debut. Cinema: Marilyn Monroe in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. Jean Cocteau, Orphee. Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon.


Samuel Beckett: Molloy
William Faulkner: Requiem for a Nun
E M Forster: Two Cheers for Democracy
Langston Hughes: Montage of a Dream Deferred
James Jones: From Here to Eternity
Nicholas Montsarrat: The Cruel Sea
Anthony Powell: A Question of Upbringing, (A Dance to the Music of Time to 1975)
J D Salinger: Catcher in the Rye
William Styron: Lie Down In Darkness
Derek Walcott: Henri Dernier

UK: Conservative government under Winston Churchill.
South Africa: Coloured (mixed race) people denied the vote.
Egypt: Fighting between British and Egyptians in Canal Zone.

UK: Festival of Britain. First electricity from atomic energy. Burgess and MacLean suspected of being Soviet spies. Science: First H-bomb tests. Art: Henry Moore, Reclining Figure. Classical music: Benjamin Britten, Billy Budd. Igor Stravinsky, The Rake's Progress


Pearl S Buck: The Hidden Flower
Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap
A J Cronin: Adventures in Two Worlds
Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
Ernest Hemingway: Old Man and the Sea
Aldous Huxley: The Devils of Loudun
Arthur Koestler: Arrow in the Blue
Doris Lessing: Martha Quest
R K Narayan: The Financial Expert
Anthony Powell: A Buyer's Market
Terence Rattigan: The Deep Blue Sea
John Steinbeck: East of Eden
Evelyn Waugh: Men at Arms, (Sword of Honour series to 1961)

UK: Death of King George VI.
USA: Dwight D Eisenhower, Republican, becomes President.
South Africa: Demonstrations against apartheid laws.

UK: First test of atomic bomb. London trams taken out of service. Science: First contraceptive pill. First artificial heart. USA tests first hydrogen bomb. Popular music: Term 'Rock and Roll' being used. Classical music: John Cage, 4' 33" Cinema: Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain.


Peter Abrahams: Return to Goli
Kingsley Amis: A Frame Of Mind
James Baldwin: Go Tell It on the Mountain
Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
Saul Bellow: The Adventures of Augie March
William Burroughs: Junkie
A J Cronin: Beyond This Place
T S Eliot: The Confidential Clerk
E M Forster: The Hill of Devi
Louis MacNeice: Autumn Sequel
Arthur Miller: The Crucible
Nancy Mitford: Madame de Pompadour
J D Salinger: Nine Stories
Wallace Stevens: Collected Poems
Dylan Thomas: Under Milk Wood
John Wain: Hurry On Down

UK: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Russia: Death of Stalin, rise of Nikita Khrushchev.
Korea: End of Korean War.

UK: Plans for commercial TV. The Goon Show and Tony Hancock popular. USA: Playboy first published. Science: Polio vaccine developed. Watson and Crick propose double helix structure of DNA. Philosophy: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations. Cinema: Fritz Lang, The Big Heat. Fred Zinnemann, From Here to Eternity. Federico Fellini, I Vitelloni.


Peter Abrahams: Tell Freedom
Kingsley Amis: Lucky Jim
John Betjeman: A Few Late Chrysanthemums
William Golding: Lord of the Flies
Thom Gunn: Fighting Terms
George Lamming: The Emigrants
Iris Murdoch: Under the Net
Terence Rattigan: Separate Tables
Jon Silkin: The Peaceable Kingdom
John Steinbeck: Sweet Thursday
J R R Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (to 1956)

USA: US Supreme Court declares racial segregation in schools unconstitutional. H-bomb tests at Bikini Atoll.
Vietnam: Battle of Dien Bien Phu leads to French colonial loss of Indo-China. Beginning of Vietnam wars.
Algeria: Beginning of Algerian War of Independence.

UK: End of food rationing. US evangelist Billy Graham holds massive meetings in London. Classical music: Britten, The Turn of the Screw. Schoenberg, Moses and Aron. Popular music: Rock and Roll era: Bill Haley and the Comets, Rock Around the Clock.


Kingsley Amis: That Uncertain Feeling
James Baldwin: Notes of a Native Son
J P Donleavy: The Ginger Man
W S Graham: The Nightfishing
Graham Greene: The Quiet American
Philip Larkin: The Less Deceived
Arthur Miller: A View from the Bridge
Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita
R K Narayan: Waiting for the Mahatma
Flannery O'Connor: A Good Man is Hard to Find
Anthony Powell: The Acceptance World
Evelyn Waugh: Officers and Gentlemen
Rebecca West: A Train of Powder
Patrick White: The Tree of Man

UK: Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister.
USA: Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to move to Negro section of a bus, start of Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement.
Warsaw Pact signed.
South Africa: Blacks removed from areas designated 'white only'. ANC issues 'Freedom Charter'.

UK: Upsurge in immigration from West Indies. Waiting for Godot gets poor reception. Start of ITV. USA: James Dean dies in car crash. Technology: First mass-produced transistor radios. Cinema: Richard Brooks, The Blackboard Jungle. Nicholas Ray, James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause.


Kingsley Amis: A Case Of Samples: Poems 1946-1956
Saul Bellow: Seize the Day
John Berryman: Homage to Mistress Bradstreet
Allen Ginsberg: Howl
William Golding: Pincher Martin
Langston Hughes: The First Book of the West Indies
Norman Mailer: The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster
Eugene O'Neill: Long Day's Journey Into Night
John Osborne: Look Back in Anger
Robert Penn Warren: Promises
Angus Wilson: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes

USA: Race riots.
Egypt: Suez crisis.
USSR: Insurrection in Hungary crushed.

UK: 'Teddy Boys' rioting in cinemas to Rock Around the Clock. Popular music: Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel. Technology: Transatlantic telephone service started. Cinema: Dirk Bogarde, Brigitte Bardot, Doctor at Sea. Grace Kelly, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, High Society.


Samuel Beckett: Endgame
John Braine: Room at the Top
John Cheever: The Wapshot Chronicle
Lawrence Durrell: Justine
Thom Gunn: The Sense of Movement
Ted Hughes: The Hawk in the Rain
Jack Kerouac: On the Road
Colin MacInnes: City of Spades
Bernard Malamud: The Assistant
John Osborne: The Entertainer
Harold Pinter: The Room
Anthony Powell: At Lady Molly's
Ayn Rand: Atlas Shrugged
Stevie Smith: Not Waving but Drowning
Muriel Spark: The Comforters
Keith Waterhouse: There is a Happy Land
Patrick White: Voss

UK: Harold Macmillan becomes Prime Minister.
USA: School desegregation enforced by troops.
Europe: EEC formed.
Africa: Ghana gains independence.
Malaya: Malaya gains independence.

UK: Harold Macmillan's 'never had it so good' speech. USA: Start of 'Beatnik' era. Technology: UK tests nuclear bomb. USSR launches first satellite, Sputnik. Popular music: Bill Haley and the Comets' first London performance. Tommy Steele and other British rock and roll bands start up.


Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart
Kingsley Amis: I Like it Here
Samuel Beckett: Acte Sans Paroles
John Betjeman: Collected Poems
Truman Capote: Breakfast at Tiffany's
Shelagh Delaney: A Taste of Honey
Lawrence Durrell: Balthazar
Lawrence Ferlinghetti: A Coney Island of the Mind
Nadine Gordimer: A World of Strangers
Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana
Malcolm Lowry: Lunar Caustic
Iris Murdoch: The Bell
R K Narayan: The Guide
Harold Pinter: The Birthday Party
Alan Sillitoe: Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

France: De Gaulle given powers to deal with French colonial crisis in Algeria, end of Fourth Republic.

UK: CND founded - mass rally. Race riots in Notting Hill and Nottingham. Beatnik movement comes to UK. UK launches its first satellite. First parking meters. First stereo recordings. Popular music: Miles Davis, 'progressive jazz'. Oscar Peterson. My Fair Lady. Cinema: Hitchcock, Vertigo. Jacques Tati, Mon Oncle. Ingmar Bergman, Wild Strawberries


John Arden: Sergeant Musgrave's Dance
Brendan Behan: The Hostage
Saul Bellow: Henderson the Rain King
William Burroughs: The Naked Lunch
Lawrence Durrell: Mountolive
William Faulkner: The Mansion
William Golding: Free Fall
Robert Lowell: Life Studies
James A Michener: Hawaii
E'skia Mphahlele: Down Second Avenue
Vladimir Nabokov: Invitation to a Beheading
V S Naipaul: Miguel Street
Harold Pinter: The Dumb Waiter
Philip Roth: Goodbye, Columbus
Alan Sillitoe: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
W D Snodgrass: Heart's Needle
Terry Southern: The Magic Christian
Keith Waterhouse: Billy Liar
Arnold Wesker: Roots
Tennessee Williams: Sweet Bird of Youth

USA: Protests against desegregation of schools.
Cuba: Fidel Castro comes to power.
Tibet: Chinese repression of nationalists, Dalai Lama flees to India.
India: Indira Gandhi elected President of Congress Party.

UK: 2/3 people now own a TV, cinema audiences declining. 'Mini' car launched. Aldermaston demonstration against nuclear weapons. First section of M1 motorway built. USA: Buddy Holly dies in plane crash. Technology: USA and USSR put satellites in space, monkeys survive space flight. European influence: Gunther Grass, The Tin Drum. Popular Music: Tamla Motown label formed. Cinema: French New Wave. Alain Resnais, Francois Truffaut. Laurence Harvey in Room at the Top.

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

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