1811 Born in Calcutta, India, the only son of Richmond Thackeray, an East India Company administrator, and Anne Becher Thackeray, the daughter of distinguished civil servants in India.
1816 Father dies, and WMT goes to England to live with his aunt, Mrs. Ritchie. His mother soon remarries.
1817 Attends school in Chiswick Mall; is unhappy there.
1822-1828 Attends Charterhouse School at Smithfield.
1828 Stepfather prepares him for entrance to Cambridge.
1829-1830 Enters Trinity College, Cambridge; leaves without a degree; travels on Continent; meets Goethe.
1831-1833 Studies law at Middle Temple, London, but gives it up when he inherits 20,000. Buys the National Standard, a newspaper, and goes to Paris as its correspondent; it fails.
1834-1835 Studies art in Paris and becomes a caricaturist. Contributes to Fraser's Magazine.
1836 Paris correspondent of stepfather's newspaper, The Constitutional. Marries a penniless Irish girl, Isabella Gethen Creagh Shawe, daughter of Colonel Matthew Shawe. Speculates and gambles away his inheritance.
1837 Hack writer in London; publishes in The Times, Fraser's Magazine, The New Monthly Magazine, and Punch.
1840 Thackeray's wife, who survives her husband by three decades, goes insane. His two daughters live with his grandmother in Paris.
1842 Visits Ireland and stays with the novelist Lever.
1843 Publishes The Irish Sketchbook, the first work to appear under his own name.
1844 Travels in Far East
1846 Publishes From Cornhill to Cairo. Establishes a home for his daughters, his grandmother, and himself at 13 Young Street in Kensington. Becomes emotionally attached to Cambridge friend's wife, Mrs. Henry Brookfield.
1847-1848 Serializes Vanity Fair (published 1848)
1848 Publishes The Book of Snobs, a collection of portraits that appeared in Punch.
1848-1850 Publishes The History of Pendennis.
1851 Ends relationship with Mrs. Brookfield at husband's insistence.
1852 Publishes The History of Henry Esmond.
1852-1853 Lecture tour of the United States on "The English Humorists of the 18th Century."
1853-1855 Publishes The Newcomes, a sequel to The History of Pendennis.
1855- 1857 Second U. S. lecture tour. Publishes The Rose and the Ring, his Christmas book, and Miscellanies, a four volume-collection of early writings.
1857- 1862 Publishes The Virginians, sequel to Henry Esmond; Publishes The Adventures of Philip on His Way Through the World, the last of his Arthur Pendennis trilogy; and Publishes Lovel the Widower.
1861-1862 Founds and edits the Cornhill Magazine.
1863 Dies on Christmas Eve in his new home at Palace Gardens of a cerebral hemorrage. Leaves an unfinished novel, Denis Duval. Buried at Kensal Green.

This chronology is based in part on Karen Lawrence, Betsy Seifert, and Lois Ratner, The McGraw-Hill Guide to English Literature New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985. II, 195-97.


Victorian Overview William Makepeace Thackeray

Last modified 2000