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1795

Born in Ecclefechan, Scotland, of poor Calvinists who teach him frugality and discipline. He is the oldest of nine children. His father, recognizing Thomas's unusual ability, gives him a good education.

1809

Finishes Annan Grammar School, then walks ninety miles to enter Edinburgh University, where he plans to prepare for the ministry.

1814

Leaves Edinburgh University without a degree. Teaches mathematics at Annan Academy and other grammar schools. Devours German literature and philosophy.

1818-1822

Undergoes spiritual crisis. Abandoning the Christian faith, he converts to believe in a secular order to the universe.

1823-1824

His first important work, "The Life of Schiller," appears in the London Magazine.

1824

His translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister appears in the London Magazine.

1826

Marries Jane Baillie Welsh, the popular daughter of a doctor.

1828

Moves to a farm at Craigenputtock to econimize; continues writing for periodicals.

1829

Publishes "Signs of the Times" in the Edinburgh Review, assessing the spirit of the age.

1831

Writes Sartor Resartus, his spiritual autobiography, but cannot find a publisher. A unique work, combining novel, essay and autobiography, it is partially published in Fraser's Magazine. Publishes "Characteristics" in the Edinburgh Review. Meets John Stuart Mill, the intellectual and essayist who refined Jeremy Bentham's utilitarianism.

1832

Ralph Waldo Emerson visits Carlyle at Craigenputtock.

1834

Moves to London; begins work on The French Revolution

1835

Completes first volume of The French Revolution and lends the manuscript to John Stuart Mill to read. Unfortunately, Mill's servant uses it to kindle a fire, destroying the work and all the notes.

1836

Emerson arranges the American publication of Sartor Resartus.

1837

Completes and publishes both volumes of The French Revolution.

1838

Publishes Sartor Resartus in England.

1840-1847

Delivers a series of important lectures, among them "Heroes and Hero Worship" (1840), "Chartism" (1840), and "Past and Present" (1843).

1845

Publishes his edition of The Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell.

1850

Publishes Latter Day Pamphlets.

1858-1865

Writes The History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great.

1866

Returns to Scotland to deliver the inaugural address as lord rector of Edinburgh University. His wife dies, wherupon Carlyle finds and edits her diary. He grieves; he goes on to write very little.

1874

Accepts the Prussian Order of Merit from Bismarck, but refuses an English baronetcy from Disraeli.

1881

Dies and is buried near his family in Ecclefechan churchyard.

Based in part upon McGraw-Hill, pp. 135-136


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