This article contains information about the literary events and publications of 1885.
You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer'; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by a Mr Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.
—Opening lines of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- January 1 – The Dictionary of National Biography begins publication in London under the editorship of Leslie Stephen.
- February 18 – Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published in the United States for the first time, in New York by the author's own publishing house, Charles L. Webster, illustrated by E. W. Kemble, the first impression having been delayed for replacement of an unauthorized obscene alteration to one of the illustrative plates. Its first-person narrative in colloquial language is initially controversial but ultimately influential in the development of realism in American literature.
- March 7 – José Echegaray's play La vida alegre y muerte triste opens in Spain.
- March 19 – Bolesław Prus's first major naturalistic novel, The Outpost (Placówka), begins serialization in the Polish illustrated weekly, Wędrowiec.
- May – Henri Beauclair and Gabriel Vicaire, using the pseudonym Adoré Floupette, publish Les Déliquescences d'Adoré Floupette, a parodic collection of poems satirising French symbolism and the Decadent movement.
- May 16 – Sakuradoki Zeni no Yononaka ("The Season of Cherry Blossoms; The World of Money"), an adaptation by Genzo Katsu after Bunkai Udagawa of The Merchant of Venice set in the Edo period, is performed by the Nakamura Sojuro Kabuki company at the Ebisu-za Theater in Osaka, the first of Shakespeare's plays to be staged with actors in Japan.
- May 19 – The Revised Version Old Testament is published.
- June 1 – More than two million people join Victor Hugo's funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he is the first author to be buried, following his death on May 22 in the city from pneumonia aged 83.
- June 29 – Thomas Hardy moves to a house he designed for himself and built by his brother at Max Gate on the outskirts of Dorchester, Dorset.
- unknown dates
- Arthur Napier is appointed first Merton Professor of English Language and Literature in the University of Oxford.
- John Ormsby's English translation of Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote is published. For many years it is regarded as the most accurate translation of the novel.
- The first translation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace into English begins publication. It has been done by Clara Bell from a French version.
- The first translation of Amy Catherine Walton (Mrs. O. F. Walton)'s Christian novel Christie's Old Organ into Japanese, made by Tajima Kashi, is published, one of the earliest examples of children's literature in Japan.
- Daniel Owen's long novel Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, Gweinidog Bethel is published as the first written in Welsh.
- Leopoldo Alas (Clarín) – La regenta, vol. 2
- Richard Francis Burton – The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments
- Hall Caine
- She's All the World to Me
- The Shadow of a Crime
- Mrs. W. K. Clifford – Mrs. Keith's Crime
- Antonio Fogazzaro – Daniele Cortis
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. – A Mortal Antipathy
- William Dean Howells – The Rise of Silas Lapham
- Richard Jefferies – After London
- Jerome K. Jerome – On the Stage — and Off
- Eliza Lynn Linton – The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland
- Guy de Maupassant – Bel-Ami
- George Meredith – Diana of the Crossways
- Friedrich Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra (publication concluded)
- Daniel Owen – Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, Gweinidog Bethel
- Walter Pater – Marius the Epicurean
- Tsubouchi Shōyō (坪内 逍遥) – Tōsei Shosei Katagi (Portraits of Contemporary Students)
- Elizabeth Stannard (as John Strange Winter) – Booties' Baby: a story of the Scarlet Lancers
- Jules Vallés – Jacques Vingtras
- Jules Verne – Mathias Sandorf
- Émile Zola – Germinal
Children and young peopleEdit
- Lewis Carroll – A Tangled Tale
- H. Rider Haggard – King Solomon's Mines
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Mark Twain – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (U.S. publication)
- See 1885 in poetry
- January 16 – Zhou Zuoren (周作人), Chinese vernacular writer (died 1967)
- February 7 – Sinclair Lewis, American novelist (died 1951)
- February 21 – Sacha Guitry, French dramatist and screenwriter (died 1957)
- February 24 – Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Polish painter, playwright and novelist (died 1939)
- March 6 – Ring Lardner, American writer (died 1933)
- March 25 – Mateiu Caragiale, Romanian novelist and poet (died 1936)
- March 27 – Constantin Gane, Romanian biographer and historical novelist (died 1962)
- April 17 – Karen Blixen, Danish author (died 1962)
- May 2 – Hedda Hopper, American columnist (died 1966)
- May 8 – Thomas B. Costain, Canadian author and journalist (died 1965)
- May 9 – Al. T. Stamatiad, Romanian poet (died 1955)
- July 10 – Mary O'Hara, American author and screenwriter (died 1980)
- July 18 – Marino Moretti, Italian poet and author (died 1979)
- August 15 – Edna Ferber, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (died 1968)
- September 7 – Elinor Wylie (Elinor Morton Hoyt), American poet and novelist (died 1928)
- September 11 – D. H. Lawrence, English fiction writer and poet (died 1930)
- October 3 – Sophie Treadwell, American dramatist and journalist (died 1970)
- October 11 – François Mauriac, French novelist (died 1970)
- October 30 – Ezra Pound, American poet (died 1972)
- November 9 (October 28 O.S.) – Velimir Khlebnikov, Russian Futurist poet and writer (died 1922)
- December 8 – Kenneth Roberts, American novelist (died 1957)
- January 10 – Amable Tastu, French women of letters and poet (born 1795)
- February 14 – Jules Vallés, French writer (born 1832)
- March 17 – Susan Warner (pseudonym Elizabeth Weatherell), American religious and children's writer (born 1819)
- April 8 – Susanna Moodie, English-born Canadian author (born 1803)
- April 18 – Marc Monnier, French author and translator (born 1827)
- April 30 – Jens Peter Jacobsen, Danish novelist (born 1847)
- May 13 – Juliana Horatia Ewing, English children's writer (born 1841)
- May 15 – Hugh Conway, English novelist (born 1847)
- May 22 – Victor Hugo, French poet and novelist (born 1802)
- June 18 – Louis Segond, Swiss theologian (born 1810)
- July 13 – Augusto Vera, Italian philosopher (born 1813)
- July 15 – Rosalía de Castro, Spanish Galician poet and writer (born 1837)
- August 11 – Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton, English man of letters, poet and politician (born 1809)
- September 18 – John Campbell Shairp, Scottish critic (born 1819)
- November 29 – Anne Gilchrist, English-born American critic and biographer (emphysema, born 1828)
- Gillian Fenwick (1993). Leslie Stephen's Life in Letters: A Bibliographical Study. Scolar Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-85967-912-1.
- Blair, Walter (1960). Mark Twain & Huck Finn. Berkeley: University of California.
- "All Modern Literature Comes from One Book by Mark Twain". Philadelphia: Bauman Rare Books. Retrieved 2013-01-07.
- Crónicas y artículos sobre teatro (in Spanish). UNAM. 2001. p. 563. ISBN 978-968-36-8971-9.
- Martha Kapos (1993). The Post-impressionists: A Retrospective. Beaux Arts Editions. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-88363-963-4.
- Kawachi, Yoshiko (1998). "The Merchant of Venice and Japanese Culture". Japanese Studies in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. Newark: University of Delaware Press. ISBN 9780874136739.
- "Hardy Country". National Trust. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- Torigoe Shin (ed.) (2004). Interesting Reading Japanese Children's Literature: Pre-war Period. Kyōto: Minerva Shobō. pp 14–15. 鳥越信『たのしく読める日本児童文学 戦前編』、ミネルヴァ書房、京都、2004年。
- John T. Koch (2012). The Celts: History, Life, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 793. ISBN 978-1-59884-964-6.
- George Meredith (1885). Diana Of the Crossways: a Novel: By George Meredith ... In Three Volumes. Chapman and Hall.
- Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1885). Geografi og kaerlighed. Gyldendalske boghandels Forlag (F. Hegel & Son).
- David Scott Kastan (2006). The Oxford Encyclopedia of British Literature. Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-19-516921-8.
- Martin Bucco; G. K. Hall & Company (1986). Critical Essays on Sinclair Lewis. G.K. Hall. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-8161-8698-3.
- Radio Liberty Research Bulletin. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 1985. p. 8.
- O. Classe; [Anonymus AC02468681] (2000). Encyclopedia of Literary Translation Into English: A-L. Taylor & Francis. p. 158. ISBN 978-1-884964-36-7.
- Current Biography: Who's News and Why, 1953. Hw Wilson Company. June 1953. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-8242-0119-7.
- Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. Beacham Pub. 1989. p. 929. ISBN 978-0-933833-11-1.
- Gaetana Marrone (2007). Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies: A-J. Taylor & Francis. p. 1238. ISBN 978-1-57958-390-3.
- Olsen, Kirstin (1994). Chronology of Women's History. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-31328-803-6.
- John Worthen (31 July 1992). D. H. Lawrence: The Early Years 1885-1912: The Cambridge Biography of D. H. Lawrence. Cambridge University Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-521-43772-1.
- K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar (1963). Francois Mauriac: Novelist & Moralist. Asia Publishing House. p. 2.
- Lawrence S. Rainey (15 December 1991). Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture: Text, History, and the Malatesta Cantos. University of Chicago Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-226-70316-9.
- The Academy and Literature. 1885. p. 293.
- Albert W. Halsall (1 January 1998). Victor Hugo and the Romantic Drama. University of Toronto Press. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-8020-4322-1.
- "Gilchrist Family Papers – Biographical Sketch". Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Archived from the original on 2005-08-27. Retrieved 2013-01-07.