Last week was full of literary birthdays and the literary death of a major writer in American Literature. Read more about this week in literary history.

last week in literature for the week of May 18
Last Week in Literature for the week of May 18.
Photo by Syd Wachs on Unsplash

Last Week in Literature

May 18 – W. G. Sebald is born.

We start off the week with W. G. Sebald, who was born on May 18, 1944.

This writer and poet was famous for novels such as Vertigo, The Emigrants, and The Rings of Saturn. Because of his literary works, Sebald is regarded as “one of contemporary literature’s most transformative figures.”

May 19 – Nathaniel Hawthorne dies.

Not all is cheerful for this week, as this day marks the 156th anniversary of Nathaniel Hawthorne‘s death.

This novelist and short story writer was a major writer for the Dark Romanticism literary genre.

His most popular works, The Scarlett Letter, and The House of Seven Gables, increased his popularity to that of the beloved writer he is today.

May 20 – Honoré de Balzac is born.

This French novelist was born May 20, 1799. He is widely recognized for his contributions to the Realist literary movement.

He is also considered to “have pioneered Realism in novels.” Balzac wrote over 90 novels and short stories, and they were all part of a collection he called The Human Comedy.

May 21 – Alexander Pope is born.

Our third literary birthday of the week, this famous writer and poet was born May 21, 1688.

He is regarded as “a great formal master, an eloquent expositor of the spirit of his age, and a representative of the culture and politics of the Enlightenment.”

Pope’s major poems, such as Essay on Man, An Essay on Criticism, and The Rape of Lock, cover various topics. Mostly, his literary works discuss and critique an aspect of life and art as he was experiencing it around him.

May 22 – Arthur Conan Doyle is born.

Bringing in the fourth literary birthday of the week, Arthur Conan Doyle was born May 22, 1859.

Conan Doyle is one of the most famous figures in literature. His most popular and recognized literary works are the Sherlock Holmes series.

May 23 – Margaret Fuller is born.

Margaret Fuller was born on May 23, 1810. She is known as a writer and editor, a women’s rights advocate, and a literary critic.

Her literary connection with Ralph Waldo Emerson earned her the editing role of the famous transcendentalist magazine, The Dial.

May 24 – William Trevor is born.

May 24th brought us the last literary birthday of the week. The Irish novelist, William Trevor, was born May 24, 1928.

Writing many novels throughout his life, Trevor is a well-known writer who even earned the Whitbread Literary Award for novels for two of his works.

These award-winning works were The Children of Dynmouth, and Fools Fortune.


Which day of Last Week in Literature did you find most interesting?