Selected Writings

Selected Writings As a prophet and preacher Carlyle was an important and controversial figure in nineteenth century thought Carlyle is best known for his impressionistic history of the French Revolution and for his es

  • Title: Selected Writings
  • Author: Thomas Carlyle Alan Shelston
  • ISBN: 9780140430653
  • Page: 376
  • Format: Paperback
  • As a prophet and preacher, Carlyle was an important and controversial figure in nineteenth century thought Carlyle is best known for his impressionistic history of the French Revolution and for his essays proclaiming the virtues of strong, heroic leadership But for his contemporaries Carlyle s was also a prophetic voice John Stuart Mill, a formidable political adversaryAs a prophet and preacher, Carlyle was an important and controversial figure in nineteenth century thought Carlyle is best known for his impressionistic history of the French Revolution and for his essays proclaiming the virtues of strong, heroic leadership But for his contemporaries Carlyle s was also a prophetic voice John Stuart Mill, a formidable political adversary, acknowledged that Carlyle saw things long before me , while for Charles Dickens he was simply the man who knows everything.

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    1. Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian, critic, and sociological writer was born in the village of Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, eldest child of James Carlyle, stonemason, and Margaret Aitken Carlyle The father was stern, irascible, a puritan of the puritans, but withal a man of rigid probity and strength of character The mother, too, was of the Scottish earth, and Thomas education was begun at home by both the parents From the age of five to nine he was at the village school from nine to fourteen at Annan Grammar School where he showed proficiency in mathematics and was well grounded in French and Latin In November 1809 he walked to Edinburgh, and attended courses at the University till 1814, with the ultimate aim of becoming a minister He left without a degree, became a mathematical tutor at Annan Academy in 1814, and three years later abandoned all thoughts of entering the Kirk, having reached a theological position incompatible with its teachings He had begun to learn German in Edinburgh, and had done much independent reading outside the regular curriculum Late in 1816 he moved to a school in Kirkcaldy, where he became the intimate associate of Edward Irving, an old boy of Annan School, and now also a schoolmaster This contact was Carlyle s first experience of true intellectual companionship, and the two men became lifelong friends He remained there two years, was attracted by Margaret Gordon, a lady of good family whose friends vetoed an engagement , and in October 1818 gave up schoolmastering and went to Edinburgh, where he took mathematical pupils and made some show of reading law.During this period in the Scottish capital he began to suffer agonies from a gastric complaint which continued to torment him all his life, and may well have played a large part in shaping the rugged, rude fabric of his philosophy In literature he had at first little success, a series of articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia bringing in little money and no special credit In 1820 and 1821 he visited Irving in Glasgow and made long stays at his father s new farm, Mainhill and in June 1821, in Leith Walk, Edinburgh, he experienced a striking spiritual rebirth which is related in Sartor Resartus Put briefly and prosaically, it consisted in a sudden clearing away of doubts as to the beneficent organization of the universe a semi mystical conviction that he was free to think and work, and that honest effort and striving would not be thwarted by what he called the Everlasting No For about a year, from the spring of 1823, Carlyle was tutor to Charles and Arthur Buller, young men of substance, first in Edinburgh and later at Dunkeld Now likewise appeared the first fruits of his deep studies in German, the Life of Schiller, which was published serially in the London Magazine in 1823 24 and issued as a separate volume in 1825 A second garner from the same field was his version of Goethe s Wilhelm Meister which earned the praise of Blackwood s and was at once recognized as a very masterly rendering.In 1821 Irving had gone to London, and in June 1821 Carlyle followed, in the train of his employers, the Bullers But he soon resigned his tutorship, and, after a few weeks at Birmingham, trying a dyspepsia cure, he lived with Irving at Pentonville, London, and paid a short visit to Paris March 1825 saw him back in Scotland, on his brother s farm, Hoddam Hill, near the Solway Here for a year he worked hard at German translations, perhaps serenely than before or after and free from that noise which was always a curse to his sensitive ear and which later caused him to build a sound proof room in his Chelsea home.Before leaving for London Irving had introduced Carlyle to Jane Baillie Welsh daughter of the surgeon, John Welsh, and descended from John Knox She was beautiful, precociously learned, talented, and a brilliant mistress of cynical satire Among her numerous suitors, the rough, uncouth

    2. Hard work. Dense and allusive style became wearying. His opinions often overwhelmed the subject of his writing and robbed it of worth. As for his authoritarian outlook

    3. "For the Past is all holy to us; the Dead are all holy, even they that were base and wicked while alive. Their baseness and wickedness was not They, was but the heavy and unmanageable Environment that lay round them, with which they fought unprevailing: they (the ethereal god-given Force that dwelt in them, and was their Self) have now shuffled off that heavy Environment, and are free and pure: their life-long Battle, go how it might, is all ended, with many wounds or with fewer; they have been [...]

    4. is the greatest neglected book in cultural history, endlessly complex, subtle, always self-critical, ironic, mysterious, beautiful and powerful Not a book to read through from beginning to end but one to dip into, explore, examine from different angles. As in the book itself the so called Editor attempts to piece together the shards of the philosopher-hero Teufelsdrockh identity so the reader needs to plunge into striking into its magical maze of ideas

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