|Covid-19|January – The collected works of Edgar Allan Poe begin posthumous publication co-edited by Rufus Wilmot Griswold who contributes a memoir denigrating Poe's reputation based partly on forged evidence.
January–April – The Germ, periodical of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood edited by William Michael Rossetti, is published (four issues, the last two retitled Art and Poetry).
March – The weekly Household Words, "conducted by Charles Dickens", begins publication in London.
March 14 – Honoré de Balzac marries Ewelina Hańska at Berdyczów. The marriage lasts only until his death five months later.
Mid-March – Nathaniel Hawthorne's historical novel The Scarlet Letter is published by William Ticknor and James Thomas Fields in Boston, Massachusetts (where it is set), selling 2,500 copies in ten days.
May 1 – The earliest surviving mention of the composition of Moby-Dick is captured in a letter Herman Melville writes to Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
May (late) – Alfred Tennyson's poem In Memoriam A.H.H., written to commemorate the death of his friend and fellow poet Arthur Hallam in 1833, is published by Edward Moxon in London. The writer's anonymity is broken on June 1 by The Publishers' Circular.
June 13 – Alfred Tennyson marries his childhood friend Emily Sellwood at Shiplake.
July – William Wordsworth's The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind: An Autobiographical Poem, on which he has worked since 1798, is first published about 3 months after his death by Edward Moxon in London in 14 books, with the title supplied by the poet's widow, Mary.
August 5 – Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville meet for the first time, together with Oliver Wendell Holmes and publisher James Thomas Fields, on a picnic expedition to Monument Mountain (Berkshire County, Massachusetts).
A new edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Poems is published by Chapman & Hall in London, including (in vol. 2) her Sonnets from the Portuguese (written during her courtship by Robert Browning c.1845–46) of which the most famous will be no. 43 ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.")
Salford Museum and Art Gallery first opens as "The Royal Museum & Public Library", the first unconditionally free public library in England.
November 1 – Charles Dickens's novel David Copperfield concludes serial publication and (November 14) is first published complete in book form.
November 19 – Alfred Tennyson is named Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, succeeding William Wordsworth, only after Samuel Rogers has declined the offer because of his age and Tennyson is assured that birthday odes will not be required of him.
Wilkie Collins – Antonina
Charles Dickens – David Copperfield (complete in book form)
Alexandre Dumas, fils – Tristan le Roux
Alexandre Dumas, père – The Black Tulip
Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter
Caroline Lee Hentz
Rena, the Snowbird
Jón Thoroddsen – Piltur og Stúlka (Boy and Girl, the first novel in Icelandic)
Herman Melville – White-Jacket
Alexei Pisemsky – The Simpleton
Catharine Maria Sedgwick – Tales of City Life
Frank Smedley – Frank Fairleigh
William Makepeace Thackeray – Pendennis (complete in book form)
Anthony Trollope – La Vendée
Jemima von Tautphoeus – The Initials
Susan Warner (as Elizabeth Wetherell) – The Wide, Wide World
Christian Friedrich Hebbel – Herodes and Mariamne
Paul Heyse – Francesca von Rimini
Catilina (Ibsen's first play, first performed 1881)
The Burial Mound
Otto Ludwig – Der Erbförster
Ivan Turgenev – A Month in the Country
Elizabeth Barrett Browning – Sonnets from the Portuguese
Robert Browning – Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day
Alfred Tennyson – In Memoriam A.H.H.
William Wordsworth – The Prelude
Ivar Aasen – Dictionary of the Norwegian Dialects
Mary Anne Atwood – A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery
Frédéric Bastiat – The Law (La Loi)
Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men
Friedrich Engels – The Peasant War in Germany
Alexander Herzen – From Another Shore
Washington Irving – Mahomet and His Successors
Julia Kavanagh – Women in France during the Eighteenth Century
Søren Kierkegaard (as Anti-Climacus) – Practice in Christianity (Indøvelse i Christendom)
January 14 – Pierre Loti, French novelist (died 1923)
January 15 – Mihai Eminescu, Romanian poet, novelist and journalist (died 1889)
February 8 – Kate Chopin, American writer (died 1904)
February 24 – Mary de Morgan, English children's writer and suffragist (died 1907)
March 26 – Edward Bellamy, American Utopian novelist and socialist (died 1898)
April 12 – Agnes Catherine Maitland, English academic, novelist and cookery writer (died 1906)
April 13 – Bernhard Alexander (Alexander Márkus), Hungarian philosopher and polymath (died 1927)
April 30 – Ieronim Yasinsky, Russian novelist, poet, critic and essayist (died 1931)
June 27 – Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), Greek-born Irish American scholar and writer on Japan (died 1904)
July 2 – Dumitru C. Moruzi, Russian-born Romanian political figure and social novelist (died 1914)
July 9 (June 27 O.S.) – Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright (died 1921)
August 5 – Guy de Maupassant, French novelist and short story writer (died 1893)
September 2 – Eugene Field, American poet and essayist (died 1895)
November 5 – Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American writer and poet (died 1919)
November 13 – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet and travel writer (died 1894)
Annie Armitt, English novelist and poet (died 1933)
January 20 – Adam Oehlenschläger, Danish poet and dramatist (born 1779)
April 7 – William Lisle Bowles, English poet and critic (born 1762)
April 23 – William Wordsworth, English poet (born 1770)
May 24 – Jane Porter, Scottish novelist and dramatist (born 1776)
May 31 – Giuseppe Giusti, Italian poet (born 1809)
July 14 – August Neander, German theologian (born 1789)
July 19 – Margaret Fuller, American journalist and critic (presumed drowned, born 1810)
August 18 – Honoré de Balzac, French novelist (heart condition, born 1799)
August 22 – Nikolaus Lenau (Nikolaus Franz Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau), Austrian poet (insanity, born 1802)
November 4 – Gustav Schwab, German writer and publisher (born 1792)
December 24 – Frédéric Bastiat, French political philosopher (tuberculosis, born 1801)
Chancellor's Gold Medal – Julian Fane, "Monody on the death of Adelaide, the Queen Dowager"
Newdigate Prize – Frederick William Faber, "The Knights of St John"
1850 in literature Wikipedia
This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1850.