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20th century in literature

World literature produced during the 20th century

Top 10 20th century in literature related articles

Literature of the 20th century refers to world literature produced during the 20th century (1901 to 2000).

In terms of the Euro-American tradition, the main periods are captured in the bipartite division, Modernist literature and Postmodern literature, flowering from roughly 1900 to 1940 and 1960 to 1990[1] respectively, divided, as a rule of thumb, by World War II. The somewhat malleable term "contemporary literature" is usually applied with a post-1960 cut off point.

Although these terms (modern, contemporary and postmodern) are most applicable to Western literary history, the rise of the globalization has allowed European literary ideas to spread into non-Western cultures fairly rapidly, so that Asian and African literatures can be included into these divisions with only minor qualifications. And in some ways, such as in Postcolonial literature, writers from non-Western cultures were on the forefront of literary development.

Technological advances during the 20th century allowed cheaper production of books, resulting in a significant rise in production of popular literature and trivial literature, comparable to the similar developments in music. The division of "popular literature" and "high literature" in the 20th century is by no means absolute, and various genres such as detectives or science fiction fluctuate between the two. Largely ignored by mainstream literary criticism for the most of the century, these genres developed their own establishments and critical awards; these include the Nebula Award (since 1965), the British Fantasy Award (since 1971) or the Mythopoeic Awards (since 1971).

Towards the end of the 20th century, electronic literature developed due to the development of hypertext and later the world wide web.

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded annually throughout the century (with the exception of 1914, 1918, 1935 and 1940–1943), the first laureate (1901) being Sully Prudhomme. The New York Times Best Seller list has been published since 1942.

The best-selling literary works of the 20th century are estimated to be The Lord of the Rings (1954/55, 150 million copies), Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince, 1943, 140 million copies), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997, 120 million copies) and And Then There Were None (1939, 115 million copies). The Lord of the Rings was also voted "book of the century" in various surveys.[2][3][4][5] Perry Rhodan (1961 to present) proclaimed as the best-selling book series, with an estimated total of 1 billion copies sold.

20th century in literature Intro articles: 19

1901–18

The Fin de siècle movement of the Belle Époque persisted into the 20th century, but was brutally cut short with the outbreak of World War I (an effect depicted e.g. in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, published 1924). The Dada movement of 1916-1920 was at least in part a protest against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests which many Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war; the movement heralded the Surrealism movement of the 1920s.

1900

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1901

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1902

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1903

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1904

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1905

1906

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1907

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1908

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  • Personae by Ezra Pound (USA, England, Italy) - one of the first examples of 'modernist' poetry

1909

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1910

1911

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1912

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1913

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1914

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1915

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1916

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1917

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1918

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Non-fiction

20th century in literature 1901–18 articles: 205

Interwar period

The 1920s were a period of literary creativity, and works of several notable authors appeared during the period. D. H. Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover was a scandal at the time because of its explicit descriptions of sex. James Joyce's novel, Ulysses, published in 1922 in Paris, was one of the most important achievements of literary modernism.

1919

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1920

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1921

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1922

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1923

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1924

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1925

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1926

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1927

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1928

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