Chronology         His Works         The Life        Selected Bibliographic Sources

Contexts: Decades; Locales; Ideas; Authors; Issues

1895  Edmund Wilson Jr. is born on May 8 in Red Bank, New Jersey, to Edmund and Helen Mather (Kimball) Wilson.

1908  Travels to Europe.Enters Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania; writes for Hill Record during his years as a student; studies with Rolfe.

1912  Graduates from Hill; enters Princeton University; studies with Gauss; friendship with F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Peale Bishop; writes for Nassau Literary Magazine.

1916  Graduates from Princeton.Goes for summer to military preparedness camp in Plattsburgh, New York.Soon becomes a reporter for New York Evening Sun.

1917  Serves with military hospital unit; attends wounded in Vosges, France.

1918  Through father’s influence, changes to Intelligence Corps in Chaumont.

1919  Returns to New York and is demobilized; works at freelance writing.

1920  Works as managing editor of Vanity Fair.Meets Edna Millay.

1921  Becomes managing editor of the New Republic (February); travels to Europe (March).

1922  The Undertaker’s Garland, written in collaboration with John Peale Bishop, published; returns to Vanity Fair, again as managing editor, July to May 1923.

1923  Marries Mary Blair, an actress; father dies in May; first child, Rosalind, is born.

1924  The Crime in the Whistler Room produced by Provincetown Players starring Mary Blair.

1925  Separates from Mary Blair.

1926  Discordant Encounters published.

1927  Stays in Provincetown and Boston during summer.Begins work on Axel’s Castle.

1928  Works on I Thought of Daisy and Axel’s Castle.

1929  I Thought of Daisy and Poet’s Farewell! published.Suffers nervous breakdown in March, goes to a sanitarium in Clifton Springs, New York; briefly addicted to paraldehyde; divorced from Mary Blair.

1930  “Politically I am going further and further toward the left.” Marries Margaret Canby, a Californian.

1931  Axel’s Castle published.Works on “a book” about the crisis in America.

1932  The American Jitters (later “The Earthquake” section of The American Earthquake) published; Margaret Canby dies from a fall in California.

1933  Works at the New Republic.

1934  Works on Marx and Vico; the New Republic; publishes first chapters of To the Finland Station.

1935  Travels to Russia from May to October on Guggenheim Fellowship.

1936  Publishes Travels in Two Democracies (American portion to appear later in The American Earthquake).

1937  This Room and This Gin and These Sandwiches, a collection of plays, published.

1938  The Triple Thinkers, first edition, published.Marries Mary McCarthy in April; son, Reuel Kimball Wilson, born on Christmas Day; works on The Wound and the Bow.

1939  Teaches in summer session at University of Chicago.

1940  To the Finland Station published; begins correspondence with Vladimir Nabokov.

1941  The Boys in the Back Room and The Wound in the Bow published; in the spring he stops “working in the office” at the New Republic as a result of a disagreement about the war.

1942  Notebooks of Night published; lectures at Smith College.

1943-1944  Works as a book reviewer for The New Yorker

1945  The New Yorker is sending me to Europe.”

1946  Memoirs of Hecate County published.Divorces Mary McCarthy.Marries Elena Thornton Mumm.

1947  Europe Without Baedeker published; travels to New Mexico for The New Yorker.

1948Third child, Helen Miranda Wilson, born in February.

1949  The Reporter sends Wilson to Haiti.

1950  Classics and Commercials published; begins going to Talcottville during summer.

1951  Wilson’s mother dies in March; The Little Blue Light produced in April by ANTA; Christian Gauss dies at Princeton.

1952  The Shores of Light published.

1954  Five Plays published; “The New Yorker is sending me to Israel.”

1955  The Scrolls from the Dead Sea (later published with Israel); receives gold medal from American Academy of Arts and Letters.

1956  Honorary degree from Princeton; beginning of attempts to deal with tax problems; Red, Black, Blond and Olive and A Piece of Mind published.

1957  Writes about the Iroquois for The New Yorker.

1958  The American Earthquake published.

1959-1960  Accepts Lowell lectureship at Harvard and “gives” material on the Civil War.

1960  Apologies to the Iroquois published.

1961  Night Thoughts published.

1962  Patriotic Gore published; travels to Canada to research Canadian literature.

1963  The Cold War and the Income Tax published; receives Presidential Medal of Freedom.

1964  Receives the Edward MacDowell Medal; works at the Center for Advanced Study, Wesleyan University.

1965  O Canada published.

1966  The Bit Between My Teeth published; receives the Emerson-Thoreau medal and the National Medal for Literature.

1967Returns to Israel in spring to update his Dead Sea Scrolls book.

1968  The Fruits of the MLA published in The New York Review of Books.

1969  Revision of Scroll’s book, The Dead Sea Scrolls, published; the Duke of Palermo and Other Plays published.

1970  Suffers a slight stroke.

1971  Upstate published; works on Russian essays.

1972   Finds Naples, Florida, "boring"; another slight stroke in the spring; dies at the old stone house 

in Talcottville on June 12.

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