1891 Su Manshu publishes his translation of Lord Byron’s poems, Bailun shi xuan (Poems by Byron), the first collection of Western poetry in Chinese.
1898 “Lun baihua wei weixin zhi ben” (The Vernacular Language as the Basis for Reforms) by Qiu Tingliang published.
1902 Liang Qichao creates in Japan the first modern Chinese fiction journal Xin xiaoshuo (New Fiction).
1906 Chunliu she (Spring Willow Society) established to perform spoken drama.
1911 Qing dynasty toppled. Republic of China founded.
1914 Libailiu (Saturday) created to publish mainly works by authors of the Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies school. Wan’ou zhi jia, Chinese translation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, premieres in Shanghai.
1915 Xin qingnian (New Youth) founded to promote xin wenxue (new literature) and progressive ideas; its first issue is edited by Chen Duxiu, a cofounder of the Chinese Communist Party.
1916 Chinese National Language Research Association founded.
1917 Xin qingnian publishes Hu Shi’s article “Wenxue gailiang chu yi” (Preliminary Opinion on Literary Reform) and Chen Duxiu’s article “Wenxue geming lun” (On Literary Revolution), formally sounding the call for a new, revolutionary literature. Poems written in bai hua (vernacular Chinese) by Hu Shi also published.
1918 The first Romanized phonetic system introduced. Xin qingnian publishes Lu Xun’s short story “Kuangren riji” (Diary of a Mad Man), vernacular poems by Hu Shi, Liu Bannong, and others, translations of Ibsen’s plays, and Zhou Zuoren’s article “Ren de wenxue” (A Literature for Humanity).
1919 May Fourth Movement erupts.
1920 Hu Shi’s poetry collection Changshi ji (Experiments) and Guo Moruo’s poem “Fenghuang niepan” (The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes) published.
1921 Wenxue yanjiu hui (Literary Society), Chuangzao she (Creation Society), Minzhong xiju she (Society of People’s Theater), Shanghai Xiju xie she (Shanghai Theater Association), and the Chinese Communist Party founded. The first issue of Xiju (Theater Weekly) published. Yu Dafu’s Chenlun (Sinking), the first collection of short stories in modern Chinese literature, and Guo Moruo’s poems Shen nü published.
1922 Hupan shi she (Lakeside Poetry Society) founded.
1923 Xin yue shi she (Crescent Society) and Xin yue (Crescent Monthly) founded. Lu Xun’s short story collection Nahan (Call to Arms) and Wen Yiduo’s poetry collection Hong zhu (Red Candle) published.
1924 Yu si she (Language Society) and Yu si (Language Weekly) founded. Zhu Ziqing’s collection of essays and poems Zongji (Traces) and Tian Han’s collection of plays Kafei dian zhi yi ye (One Night at a Café) published.
1925 Cheng Fangwu’s article “Cong wenxue geming dao geming wenxue” (From Literary Revolution to Revolutionary Literature) published, triggering the debate between Lu Xun and the Creation Society on the nature and direction of literature. Zhimo de shi (Collection of Poems by Zhimo) published.
1926 Chuangzao yuekan (Creation Monthly) founded; Lu Xun’s short story collection Panghuang (Wandering), Lao She’s novel Lao Zhang de zhexue (Mr. Zhang’s Philosophy), and Bing Xin’s collection of essays Ji xiao duzhe (To Young Readers) published.
1927 Xu Zhimo’s poetry collection Feilengcui de yi ye (One Night in Florence) published.
1928 Xiandai xiaoshuo (Modern Fiction Monthly) created. Ding Ling’s short story “Shafei nüshi de riji” (Miss Sophie’s Diary), Ye Shengtao’s novel Ni Huanzhi (Ni Huanzhi the Schoolteacher), Wen Yiduo’s poetry collection Si shui (Dead Water), and Fei Ming’s collection of stories Tao yuan (Peach Orchard) published.
1929 Mao Dun’s novel Hong (Rainbow) and Tian Han’s play Ming you zhi si (The Death of a Famous Actress) published.
1930 Zhongguo zuoyi zuojia lianmeng (Left-wing Association of Chinese Writers), Zhongguo zuoyi xijujia lianmeng (Left-wing Association of Chinese Dramatists), and Shidai xiju she (Modern Drama Society) founded. Literary journal Mengya (Sprouts) created.
1931 Japan invades China’s northeast. Xu Zhimo dies in a plane crash.
1932 Fei Ming’s Moxuyou Xiansheng zhuan (Biography of Mr. Nothing) published.
1933 Mao Dun’s novel Ziye (Midnight), Ba Jin’s novel Jia (Family), Shi Zhecun’s short story collection Meiyu zhi xi (One Rainy Evening) and Wangshu cao (Writings of Wangshu) published. George Bernard Shaw visits China.
1934 Taiwan Wenyi Lianmeng (The Literary and Art Alliance of Taiwan) founded. Cao Yu’s play Leiyu (Thunderstorm) and Shen Congwen’s Biancheng (Border Town) published.
1935 Xiao Hong’s novella “Shengsi chang” (Life and Death), Xiao Jun’s novel Bayue de xiangcun (Village in August) published.
1936 Lu Xun dies. Left-Wing Association of Chinese Writers disbanded. Lao She’s Luotuo xiangzi (The Rickshaw Boy), Ai Qing’s poetry Dayanhe—Wode baomu (Dayan River—My Wet-nurse), and Shi Zhecun’s short story collection Meiyu zhi xi (One Rainy Evening) published.
1937 Sino-Japanese War breaks out. Li Jieren’s novel Si shui wei lan (Ripples across a Stagnant Water) published.
1941 Japan occupies Shanghai.
1942 Mao Zedong delivers his speeches at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art. Feng Zhi’s Shisi hang ji (The Sonnets) published.
1943 Zhang Ailing’s stories “Qing cheng zhi lian” (Love in a Fallen City) and “Jin suo” (The Golden Cangue), and Zhao Shuli’s novella “Li Youcai banhua” (Li Youcai’s Rhymed Ballads) published.
1945 Japan surrenders. Civil war breaks out between the Communists and the Nationalists.
1946 Wen Yiduo assassinated.
1947 Chinese Writers’ Association founded in Beijing. February 28 Incident takes place in Taiwan, pitting the Nationalist government against the Taiwanese protestors. Qian Zhongshu’s Wei cheng (Fortress Besieged) published.
1949 The Nationalist government withdraws to Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) established. Liang Shiqiu’s collection of essays Yashe xiaopin (Sketches from a Refined Cottage) published.
1951 Ding Ling’s novel Taiyang zhao zai Sanggan He shang (The Sun Shines Over the Sanggan River) and Sun Li’s novel Fengyun jishi (Stormy Years) published.
1952 Ding Ling’s novel Taiyang zhao zai Sanggan He shang and Zhou Libo’s novel Baofeng zhouyu (The Storm) win the Stalin Literature Prize.
1953 Xiandai shi (Modern Poetry) founded in Taiwan.
1954 Yuan Guangzhong’s Lanse de yumao (Blue Feathers) published.
1956 Shu Xiangcheng’s novel Wu Xianggang (Misty Hong Kong) published.
1957 Anti-Rightist Campaign launched.
1958 Great Leap Forward launched. Lao She’s play Cha guan (Teahouse) published.
1960 Xiandai wenxue (Modern Literature) founded at National Taiwan University. Lin Haiyin’s memoir Cheng nan jiu shi (Memories of Peking: Southside Stories) published.
1965 Hao Ran’s novel Yanyang tian (Bright Clouds) published.
1966 Cultural Revolution launched. Lao She commits suicide.
1969 Huang Chunming’s Erzi de da wan’ou (His Son’s Big Doll) published.
1971 Bai Xianyong’s short story collection Taipei ren (Taipei Characters) published.
1975 Chiang Kai-shek dies.
1976 Mao Zedong dies. Chen Ruoxi’s Yin xianzhang (The Execution of Mayor Yin) published.
1977 Xiangtu wenxue lunzhan (Debates on Nativist Literature) is held between the nativists and the modernists. Cultural Revolution officially ends. College entrance exams resumed in the PRC.
1978 Lu Xinhua’s short story “Shangheng” (Scars) published, launching the trend of “scar literature.” Poetry journal Jintian (Today), the main platform for Menglong shi (Misty poetry), founded. Deng Xiaoping consolidates his power in the Chinese Communist Party and the Deng era begins with economic reforms under way. Yang Mu shi ji (Poems by Yang Mu) published in Taiwan and Lei sheng yu chan ming (Thunder and Songs of Cicadas: Poems by Liang Bingjun) published in Hong Kong.
1979 Democracy Wall Movement erupts. Wang Wenxing’s novel Jia bian (Family Catastrophe) published. Liu Xingwu’s Banzhuren (The Class Counsellor) and Gao Xiaosheng’s Li Shunda zaowu (Li Shunda Builds a House) published.
1980 Shanghai Literature and Art Press publishes Waiguo xiandai pai zuopin xuan (Selected Works of Western Modernism) edited by Yuan Kejia. Yao Xueyin, Gu Hua, and others win the Mao Dun Literature Prize.
1981 Mao Dun dies. Mao Dun Literature Prize established to give awards every four years to novelists. Gao Xingjian’s Xiandai xiaoshuo jiqiao chutan (A Preliminary Study of Modern Fiction Techniques) published. Wang Wenxing’s modernist novel Bei hai de ren (Backed against the Sea) published.
1982 Wang Zengqi duanpian xiaoshuo xuan (Selected Short Stories by Wang Zengqi) published.
1983 Antispiritual Pollution Campaign launched in the PRC. Bai Xianyong’s novel Niezi (Crystal Boys), the first novel on the subject of homosexuality by a modern Chinese writer, published. Li Ang’s feminist novel Sha fu: Lucheng gushi (The Butcher’s Wife) published. Gao Xingjian’s play Che zhan (Bus Stop) premiers in Beijing.
1984 Conference on “cultural root-seeking” held in Hangzhou. Ah Cheng’s novella “Qi wang” (The King of Chess), a representative work in the root-seeking movement, and Wang Meng’s Dan huise de yanzhu—zai Yili (Light Grey Eyes—in Yili) published. Wang Zhenhe’s novel Meigui meigui wo ai ni (Rose, Rose I Love You) published.
1985 Zhang Jie, Liu Xinwu, and others win the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Han Shaogong’s “Wenxue de gen” (The Roots of Literature) and Deng Youmei’s Yanhu (Snuff Bottles), two important works of the root-seeking movement, and Ma Yuan’s “Gangdisi de youhuo” (Under the Spell of the Gangtise Mountains), an influential experimental story based on Tibet, published.
1986 Ding Ling dies. Taiwan’s Lianhe wenxue xiaoshuo xin ren jiang (Unitas New Fiction Writers Prize) established. Zhongguo xiandan shi qunti da zhan (The Grand Showcase of Chinese Modern Poetry Movements) is organized by Xu Jingya and Jiang Weiyang, providing a platform to display works of Generation III poets. The official Chinese Writers’ Association creates the Lu Xun Literature Prize to award excellence in short story, novella, reportage, poetry, prose, literary theory and criticism, and translation. Gu Cheng’s poem collection Hei yanjin (Eyes of Darkness) published.
1987 Taiwan’s martial law lifted. Liang Shiqiu dies in Taiwan. Ye Weilian’s Sanshi nian shi (Poems Written in Thirty Years) published.
1988 Chiang Ching-kuo dies. Shen Congwen dies. Lu Yao, Huo Da, and others win the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Chen Yingzhen’s Wo de didi Kangxiong (My Younger Brother Kangxiong) and Lin Yaode’s E dixing (The Ugly Land) published. Su Tong’s Yijiusansinian de taowang (The Escapes in 1934) published.
1989 Tian’anmen Prodemocracy Movement erupts. Dialogues in Paradise, a translation of Can Xue’s short stories, published.
1990 Gao Xingjian’s novel Ling shan (Soul Mountain) published.
1991 Eryue He’s Yongzheng Huangdi (Emperor Yongzheng) published.
1992 Wang Xiaobo’s Huangjin shidai (The Gold Times) published in Taiwan.
1993 Poet Gu Cheng commits suicide. Jia Pingwa’s controversial novel Fei du (The Capital City in Ruins) and Chen Zhongshi’s Bai lu yuan (The White Deer Plain) published. Red Sorghum, a translation of Mo Yan’s novel Hong Gaoliang, and Backed against the Sea, a translation of Wang Wenxing’s Bei hai de ren, published.
1994 Chen Zhongshi and others win the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Zhu Tianwen wins the Shibao Literature One Million (New Taiwan) Dollar Prize with Huang ren shouji (Notes of a Desolate Man).
1995 Zhang Ailing dies. Museum of Modern Chinese Literature established in Beijing.
1996 Xi Xi’s Fei zhan (Flying Carpet: A Tale of Fertilla) published.
1997 Hong Kong handed over to China.
1998 Zhang Guixing wins the Shibao Literature One Million (New Taiwan) Dollar Prize. Chi Zijian, Liu Heng, Xu Xiaobin, Li Guowen, Tie Ning, and others win the Lu Xun Literature Prize.
1999 Asia Weekly (Hong Kong) names 100 Best Chinese Fictional Works in the 20th Century, judged by specialists from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the United States. Mengya (Sprouts), a literary journal based in Shanghai, establishes New Concept Composition Contest to identify and promote young writers.
2000 Gao Xingjian awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Wang Anyi, Wang Xufeng, and Ah Lai win the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Zhang Guixing’s Hou bei (The Primate Cup) published. Notes of a Desolate Man, a translation of Zhu Tianwen’s Huang ren shouji, published.
2001 Hua zong shijie Huawen wenxue jiang (Flower Trail World Chinese Language Literature Prize), established in Malaysia, names Wang Anyi the recipient of its first prize.
2002 Yang Lian’s long poem YI [Yi] published. Red Poppies, a translation of Ah Lai’s 1998 novel Chen’ai luoding, published.
2003 Chen Yingzhen wins the Flower Trail World Chinese Language Literature Prize. A Dictionary of Maqiao, a translation of Han Shaogong’s 1996 Maqiao cidian, and Retribution: The Jiling Chronicles, a translation of Li Yongping’s 1986 novel Jilin chunqiu, published.
2004 Fan Wen’s novel Shui ru dadi (Land of Harmony) and Yu Jian’s Ling dang’an: changshi qi bu yu biantiao ji (File 0: Seven Long Poems and Notes) published.
2005 Ba Jin dies. Zhang Jie, Zong Pu, and others win the Mao Dun Literature Prize. Bi Feiyu, Wang Anyi, Jia Pingwa, Shi Tiesheng, and others win the Lu Xun Literature Prize. A Private Life, a translation of Chen Ran’s 1996 novel Siren shenghuo, published.
2006 Tie Ning elected president of the Chinese Writers’ Association, the first woman to hold that position. The Chinese Poetry of Bei Dao, 1978—2000: Resistance and Exile published.
2007 My South Seas Sleeping Beauty: A Tale of Memory and Longing, a translation of Zhang Guixing’s Wo sinian de chang mian zhong de nan guo gongzhu; The Old Capital: A Novel of Taipei, a translation of Zhu Tienxin’s story collection Gu Du; and Cries in the Drizzle, a translation of Yu Hua’s novel Zai xiyu zhong huhuan, published.
2008 Chi Zijian, Yu Jian, Han Shaogong, and others win the Mao Dun Literature Prize. The Song of Everlasting Sorrow: A Novel of Shanghai, a translation of Wang Anyi’s 1999 novel Changhen ge, published.
2009 Liang Yusheng dies. Zhang Ailing’s novel Xiao tuanyuan (A Small Reunion) published.