1916 in literature
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This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1916.
- January – The Journal of Negro History is founded by Carter G. Woodson, the father of "Black History" and "Negro History Week", in the United States.
- March 1 – Transfer of the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth into its purpose-built premises is completed.
- March 22 – Marriage of J. R. R. Tolkien and Edith Bratt at St. Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Church, Warwick, England. They will serve as the inspiration for the fictional characters Beren and Lúthien. Tolkien leaves for military service in France at the beginning of June.
- April–June – Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry live as neighbours to D. H. and Frieda Lawrence at Higher Tregerthen, near Zennor in Cornwall (England).
- April 24–30 – Easter Rising in Ireland: Members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood proclaim an Irish Republic and the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army occupy the General Post Office and other buildings in Dublin before surrendering to the British Army. Of the seven leaders of the Rising (subsequently executed), Thomas MacDonagh, Patrick Pearse and Joseph Plunkett are all poets and James Connolly a balladeer and playwright. The event is the theme of W. B. Yeats' poem "Easter, 1916", first published this September.
- May 16 – Natsume Sōseki's novel Light and Darkness (明暗, Mei An) begins serialization in the Tokyo and Osaka editions of the newspaper Asahi Shimbun but will remain unfinished at the author's death on December 9 (aged 49).
- July 1
- First day on the Somme: Poets W. N. Hodgson, Will Streets, Gilbert Waterhouse, Henry Field, Alfred Ratcliffe, Alexander Robertson and Bernard White are among the 19,000 British soldiers killed on this day alone. The Battle of the Somme continues until October 18, during which time American poet Alan Seeger (serving with the French), Irish writer Tom Kettle, English poet Edward Wyndham Tennant, English short story writer 'Saki' and English bowler Percy Jeeves (whose name P. G. Wodehouse borrowed for his character) are all killed; English writer Robert Graves, novelist Stuart Cloete and playwright/actor Arnold Ridley are seriously wounded (Graves is believed killed), Ford Madox Hueffer suffers concussion and shellshock and A. A. Milne is invalided out; English poet Siegfried Sassoon wins the Military Cross; and Cameron Highlander Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna composes the Scottish Gaelic love song An Eala Bhàn ("The White Swan") in the oral literature tradition. Future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Harold Macmillan, wounded in September's Battle of Flers–Courcelette and sheltering in a slit trench, reads Aeschylus in the original Greek. J. R. R. Tolkien serves as a communications officer.
- W. B. Yeats makes his fifth and final proposal of marriage to the newly widowed Maud Gonne in France.
- Summer – In the United States 15-year-old Margaret Mitchell writes the manuscript of a novella called Lost Laysen in two notebooks. She will later give the manuscript to a boyfriend and the book remains lost until rediscovered in the mid-1990s and published in 1996. Meanwhile, Mitchell will go on to write Gone with the Wind.
- September – Joseph Conrad's novella The Shadow Line commences serialization in both The English Review (London) and the Metropolitan Magazine (New York).
- October 19 – New building for the German National Library opens in Leipzig.
- December 29 – James Joyce's semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is first published complete in book form in New York.
- Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (芥川 龍之介) – The Nose (short story)
- Sholom Aleichem – In America (אין אַמעריקע, In amerike), second part of Motl, Peysi the Cantor's Son: The Writings of an Orphan Boy (מאָטל פּייסי דעם חזנס; כתבֿים פֿון אַ ייִנגל אַ יתום, Motl peysi dem khazns: ksovim fun a yingl a yosem)
- Sherwood Anderson – Windy McPherson's Son
- Ruby M. Ayres
- The Road That Bends
- Paper Roses
- A Man of His Word
- The Year After
- Henri Barbusse – Under Fire (Le Feu)
- Arnold Bennett – These Twain
- E.F. Benson
- David Blaize
- The Freaks of Mayfair
- Adrien Bertrand – L'Appel du sol
- John Edward Bruce – The Awakening of Hezekiah Jones
- Mary Grant Bruce – Captain Jim
- Thomas Burke – Limehouse Nights (including "Beryl and the Croucher", "The Chink and the Child" and "Gina of the Chinatown")
- Ethel M. Dell – The Bars of Iron
- Alfred Döblin – The Three Leaps of Wang Lun (Die drei Sprünge des Wang-lun, dated 1915)
- Ronald Firbank – Inclinations
- Walter Flex – Der Wanderer zwischen beiden Welten (The Wanderer between Two Worlds)
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman – With Her in Ourland
- Elinor Glyn – The Career of Katherine Bush
- Sarah Grand – The Winged Victory
- Louis Hemon – Maria Chapdelaine
- Herman Hesse – Schön ist die Jugend
- William Dean Howells – The Leatherwood God
- James Joyce – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Franz Kafka – The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung, first book publication)
- Frigyes Karinthy
- Please, Sir! (Tanár úr, kérem)
- Voyage to Faremido (Utazás Faremidóba)
- Grace King – The Pleasant Ways of St. Medard
- Ring Lardner – You Know Me Al
- Ada Leverson – Love At Second Sight
- Benito Lynch – The Caranchos of Florida
- I. I. Mironescu – Sandu Hurmuzel (short stories)
- George Moore – The Brook Kerith: A Syrian Story
- Mori Ōgai – Takasebune (高瀬舟 The Boat on the Takase River)
- Baroness Orczy – Leatherface
- Dorothy Richardson – Backwater
- Berta Ruck – In Another Girl's Shoes
- Ruth Sawyer – Seven Miles to Arden
- May Sinclair – Tasker Jevons
- Rabindranath Tagore – The Home and the World (ঘরে বাইরে, Ghôre Baire)
- Booth Tarkington – Seventeen: A Tale of Youth and Summer Time and the Baxter Family Especially William
- Mark Twain – The Mysterious Stranger (completed posthumously)
- Eduard Vilde – Mäeküla piimamees (The Milkman of Mäeküla)
- Mrs Humphry Ward – Lady Connie
- H. G. Wells – Mr. Britling Sees It Through
Children and young people
- L. Frank Baum
- Frances Hodgson Burnett - The Little Hunchback Zia
- Edgar Rice Burroughs – The Beasts of Tarzan
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher – Understood Betsy
- Jacinto Benavente – Campo de armiño (Ermine Field)
- Luigi Chiarelli – La maschera e il volto: grottesco in tre atti (The Mask and the Face)
- Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound (translated & edited) – Certain Noble Plays of Japan (published)
- Susan Glaspell – Trifles
- Harley Granville-Barker – Farewell to the Theatre
- Walter C. Hackett - The Barton Mystery
- Franz Kafka – The Warden of the Tomb (Der Gruftwächter; writing commenced)
- Jack London – The Acorn Planter: A California Forest Play
- Gregorio Martínez Sierra – El reino de Dios (The Kingdom of God)
- Eden Philpotts – The Farmer's Wife
- Sophie Treadwell – Claws
- W. B. Yeats – At the Hawk's Well (private performance)
- Hall Caine - The Prime Minister
Main article: 1916 in poetry
- Robert Frost – Mountain Interval
- Yvan Goll – Requiem pour les morts de l’Europe
- Joseph Lee – Ballads of Battle
- Amy Lowell – Men, Women, and Ghosts
- Antonio Machado – Campos de Castilla (revised edition)
- Charlotte Mew – The Farmer's Bride
- Ezra Pound – Lustra
- Carl Sandburg – Chicago Poems
- Muriel Stuart – Christ at Carnival and Other Poems
- Katharine Tynan – Holy War
- Gilbert Waterhouse – Rail-Head and other poems (published posthumously)
- W. B. Yeats – "Easter, 1916" (written)
- Sergei Yesenin – Радуница (Radunitsa, Ritual for the Dead)
- Max Aitken – Canada in Flanders
- Robert Baden-Powell – The Wolf Cub's Handbook
- Hall Caine – Our Girls: Their Work for the War
- Max_Dvořák – Katechismus der Denkmalpflege (Catechism of Historical Preservation)
- Ferdinand de Saussure (posthumous) – Cours de linguistique générale
- Albert Einstein – "Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie" (on general relativity), Annalen der Physik 49
- Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound – Noh, or, Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan
- Israel Gollancz (ed.) – A Book of Homage to Shakespeare
- Madison Grant – The Passing of the Great Race; or, The Racial Basis of European History
- Ellen LaMotte – The Backwash of War
- Sir Oliver Lodge – Raymond; or, Life and Death, with Evidence for Survival of Memory and Affection after Death
- Ezra Pound – Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir
- Mrs Humphry Ward – England's Effort: Six Letters to an American Friend
- Frances Garnet Wolseley, 2nd Viscountess Wolseley – Women on the Land
- March 4
- April 12 – Beverly Cleary, American children's author
- April 15 – Helene Hanff, American writer and critic (died 1997)
- May 12 – Albert Murray, American critic, novelist and biographer (died 2013)
- May 21 – Harold Robbins, American novelist (died 1997)
- May 28 – Walker Percy, American novelist (died 1990)
- June 16 – Barbara Skelton, English fiction writer, memoirist and literary figure (died 1996)
- July 14 – Natalia Ginzburg, Italian author (died 1991)
- September 13 – Roald Dahl, Welsh-born children's author (died 1990)
- September 17 – Mary Stewart (Mary Rainbow), English romantic suspense novelist (died 2014)
- September 19 – Giles Romilly, English journalist (died 1967)
- September 25 – Jessica Anderson, Australian novelist and short story writer (died 2010)
- September 27 – S. Yizhar (Yizhar Smilansky), Israeli author (died 2006)
- October 3 – James Herriot (James Alfred Wight), English writer and veterinary surgeon (died 1995)
- October 10 – David Gascoyne, English Surrealist poet (died 2001)
- October 12 – Alice Childress, African American playwright, actress and young-adult novelist (died 1994)
- November 7 – Ian Niall (John Kincaid McNeillie), Scottish novelist and non-fiction writer (died 2002)
- November 18 – Peter Weiss, German writer, painter and filmmaker (died 1982)
- November 24 – James Pope-Hennessy, English biographer and travel writer (murdered 1974)
- December 14 – Shirley Jackson, American novelist and short story writer (died 1965)
- December 17 – Penelope Fitzgerald (Penelope Knox), English novelist (died 2000)
- January 27 – C. Morton Horne, Irish writer and performer (killed in action, born 1885)
- February 6 – Rubén Darío, Nicaraguan poet (born 1867)
- February 12 – John Townsend Trowbridge, American author (born 1827)
- February 28 – Henry James, American-born novelist (born 1843)
- April 26 – Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Portuguese novelist and poet (suicide, born 1890)
- May 3 – Patrick Pearse, poet and Irish nationalist leader (executed, born 1879)
- May 13 – Sholom Aleichem, Ukrainian-born humorist (born 1859)
- May 31 – Gorch Fock (Johann Wilhelm Kinau), German poet and novelist (killed in action, born 1880)
- June 7 – Émile Faguet, French critic (born 1847)
- July 1
- August 8 – Lily Braun (Amalie von Kretschmann), German feminist writer (born 1865)
- August 27 – Petar Kočić, Bosnian novelist and politician (born 1877)
- September 22 – Edward Wyndham Tennant, English war poet (killed in action, born 1897)
- October 7 – James Whitcomb Riley, American poet (born 1849)
- October 21 – Olindo Guerrini, Italian poet (born 1845)
- October 25 – John Todhunter, Irish poet and dramatist (born 1839)
- November 14 – Saki (H. H. Munro), English short-story writer (killed in action, born 1870)
- November 15 – Molly Elliot Seawell, American novelist (born 1860)
- November 22 – Jack London, American novelist (born 1876)
- November 27 – Emile Verhaeren, Belgian Symbolist poet (born 1855)
- April 24–29 – The Easter Rising in Dublin features in the following works
- July 1 – First day on the Somme: Fictitious poet Cecil Valance, featuring in Alan Hollinghurst's novel The Stranger's Child (2011), is killed at Maricourt.
- July 1–12 – Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916, partial inspiration for Peter Benchley's novel Jaws (1974).
- November (October O.S.) – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel November 1916 (Oktyabr 1916) is set in the lead-up to the Russian Revolution.
- Woodson, Carter G., ed. (January 1916). "The Journal of Negro History". Project Gutenberg. I. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
- Jenkins, David (2002). A Refuge in Peace and War: The National Library of Wales to 1952. Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales. p. 168. ISBN 1-86225-034-0.
- Woods, Joanna (2007). "Katherine Mansfield, 1888–1923". Kōtare. Victoria University of Wellington. 7 (1): 63–98. Retrieved 2015-12-13.
- "Poets Killed on the First Day of the Somme". Poetry of the First World War. Retrieved 2013-05-21.