Thomas Love Peacock was born on October 18, 1785. He was largely self-educated and worked most of his life for the East India Company. During this time, he mastered Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Welsh. He became chief examiner in 1836 and retired on a pension in 1856. He wrote seven novels during his lifetime including Headlong Hall, Melincourt, Nightmare Abbey, Crotchet Castle, and Gryll Grange. He died on January 23, 1866 at the age of 81 from injuries sustained in a fire in which he had attempted to save his library.