Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln



Paul Royster

Date of this Version



Updated June 2006, November 21, 2006, June 21, 2007, & July 31, 2009.


A chronology of known facts concerning the life and writings of American writer Thomas Pynchon, author of the novels V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Vineland, and Mason & Dixon. It covers the years 1937 through 2006, and is presented in lieu of a biography, since very little is known concerning his personal life. Special attention is paid to published works and professional relationships, and to ascertaining exact and consistent dates of publications, awards, events, and appearances.

The information in this brief chronology was compiled from published sources, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, various booksellers’ catalogs, and other online sources. Dates have been independently verified whenever possible. Gerald Howard’s recent article, “Pynchon From A to V,” in Bookforum, Summer 2005, has been extremely informative and helpful.

This chronology is intended as a teaching aid or “learning object” for teachers and students of literature. It is modelled on the chronology style developed by The Library of America under the guidance of the late Hanna M. (“Gila”) Bercovitch. Contains links to several standard Thomas Pynchon websites. Length is approximately 1,600 words.