Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish essayist, historian and philosopher. Known as the Sage of Chelsea, he became "the undoubted head of English letters" in the 19th century.[1][2]

Photograph by Elliott & Fry, c. 1865
signature written in ink in a flowing script

Born in Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, he entered the University of Edinburgh to study for the ministry and became a schoolmaster teaching mathematics, first in Annan and then in Kirkcaldy. He abandoned the ministry, having lost his religious faith, and resigned from his post in 1818. He briefly enrolled as a law student before working as a tutor and contributing to the Edinburgh Encyclopædia. His discovery of German literature in 1819 during a bleak period of his life rekindled his belief in God and provided the catalyst for much of his early literary career as an essayist and translator. His first major work, a novel entitled Sartor Resartus (1831) inspired by his own experience, went largely unnoticed. After relocating to London, he wrote The French Revolution: A History (1837) and became prominent. Each of his subsequent works, from On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841) to History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great (1858–1865) and beyond, were read widely throughout Europe and North America.

Carlyle's works amount to thirty volumes, most of which are in the genres of history and the critical essay. His distinctive style, called Carlylese, is rich in vocabulary, humour and allusion; his writing has been described as proto-postmodern.[3] His early essays and translations almost single-handedly introduced German Romanticism to the English-speaking world. In his histories, Carlyle drew lessons from the past in order to impart wisdom on the present, using contrast to illuminate problems as well as solutions. He championed the Captain of Industry and such figures as Oliver Cromwell and Frederick the Great, writing that "Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great men who have worked here."[4][5] He was a staunch critic of democracy, utilitarianism and laissez-faire, referring to economics as "the dismal science".[6]

Carlyle has often been hailed as a prophet. Immensely influential, his work shaped such varied areas of thought as Romanticism,[7][8] transcendentalism,[9] medievalism,[10] socialism,[11] Irish rebellion,[12] Southern secession,[13][14] aestheticism[15] and the Arts and Crafts movement.[16][17] After occupying a central position in Victorian intellectual life, his reputation fluctuated in the 20th century, depreciating during the Edwardian era, reviving in the interwar period, and withering in the years that followed the Second World War, when he came to be regarded as a progenitor of fascism. Carlylean scholarship has increased since the 1960s, with studies, journals, and critical editions of his œuvre in steady production.

Life and workEdit

Birth to Leith Walk experience (1795–1820)Edit

Thomas Carlyle's birthplace, 2014

Thomas Carlyle was born on 4 December 1795 to James and Margaret Aitken Carlyle in the village of Ecclefechan in Dumfriesshire in southwest Scotland. His parents were members of the Burgher secession Presbyterian church.[18] James Carlyle was a stonemason who built the Arched House wherein his son was born and later a farmer. He read many books of sermons and doctrinal arguments.[19] He taught his son that "man was created to work, not to speculate, or feel, or dream."[20] Margaret Aitken Carlyle was a "smoking companion, counselor and confidante" in Carlyle's early days. She taught her son to read at an early age despite being barely literate until she began to write to him once he left home.[21] Margaret suffered a manic episode when Carlyle was a teenager, in which she became "elated, disinhibited, over-talkative and violent."[22] Carlyle's character was strongly molded by his parents. The eldest of nine children, Carlyle wrote after his father's death, "[I] trace deeply in myself the character of both parents."[23]

Carlyle was early recognized by his family for his learning and seemed destined for a career in the Church. His father began to teach him arithmetic when he was five years old and he received an early education in Ecclefechan's village schools where he learned French, Latin, and Greek (by the end of his life, he also knew Italian, Spanish, and Danish).[24] From 1806 to 1809 he attended Annan Academy, where he distinguished himself in studies and debate while being badly bullied by his fellow students until he eventually learned to fight back. In November 1809 at nearly fourteen years of age, Carlyle walked one hundred miles in order to attend the University of Edinburgh,[25] where he prepared for the ministry, studying mathematics with John Leslie, science with John Playfair and moral philosophy with Thomas Brown.[26] Carlyle gravitated to mathematics and geometry and displayed great talent in those subjects, being credited with the invention of the Carlyle circle. Carlyle worked as a teacher at Annan Academy from 1814 to 1816 and then at Kirkcaldy on the north shore of the Firth of Forth. At Kirkcaldy he made friends with Edward Irving, whose ex-pupil Margaret Gordon became Carlyle's "first love" and the likely inspiration for Blumine of Sartor Resartus.

Carlyle's reading exposed him to Enlightenment philosophy, the French Encyclopédistes, and Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, of which he said, "I read Gibbon, and then first clearly saw that Christianity was not true."[27] Carlyle renounced the ministry as a career prospect in 1817 to the dismay of his parents, who nevertheless respected his decision, and resigned from his position at Kirkcaldy in 1818. He briefly enrolled as a law student before quitting, took pupils, and contributed to David Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopædia, marking the beginning of his literary career. Carlyle began to suffer from dyspepsia, which remained with him throughout much of his life.[28] The loss of his traditional faith and his lack of personal direction sunk him into despair. In his voracious reading, he discovered the great writers of modern Germany, and he began to study German in 1819, rapidly acquiring a working knowledge of the language with which to immerse himself in the work of Friedrich Schiller, Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, and especially Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This led him to a profound religious experience that occurred one summer day on Leith Walk,[29] where he forsake atheism and realized the interconnectedness of all things; he would dramatize this event in Sartor.

Wilhelm Meister to Sartor Resartus (1821–1834)Edit

Carlyle began courting Jane Baillie Welsh in 1821 after he was introduced by Irving, who had been her tutor as well as a romantic interest.[30] Carlyle's poverty and peasant background were issues for Jane's middle-class family. Carlyle developed his writing slowly as he published minor reviews of Joanna Baillie's Metrical Legends (1821) and Goethe's Faust (1822) in addition to an uncredited translation of Adrien Marie Legendre's Elements of Geometry (written 1822, published 1824). Carlyle's personal breakthrough came when he began his work as a champion of German literature. His translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1824) and Travels (1825) and his biography of Schiller (1825) brought him an income, which had before then eluded him, and he garnered a modest reputation. Carlyle began corresponding with Goethe and made his first trip to London in 1824, meeting with prominent writers such as Thomas Campbell, Charles Lamb, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and gaining friendships with Anna Montagu, Bryan Waller Proctor, and Henry Crabb Robinson. Having established a career and won her affection, Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle were married at the Welsh family farm of Templand on 17 October 1826.[30]

Craigenputtock, 2010

Shortly after their marriage, the Carlyles moved into a modest home on Comely Bank, Edinburgh, that had been leased for them by Jane's mother. They lived there from October 1826 to May 1828. In that time, Carlyle published German Romance (1827), a collection of previously untranslated German novellas by Johann Karl August Musäus, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Ludwig Tieck, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and Jean Paul. He also began an autobiographical novel, Wotton Reinfred, which he never completed, and published his first article for the Edinburgh Review, "Jean Paul Friedrich Richter", the first of many essays extolling the virtues of German authors whom were little-known to English readers. In Edinburgh, Carlyle came into contact with such varied figures of literary distinction as Edinburgh Review editor Francis Jeffrey, Blackwood's Magazine luminary John Wilson, essayist Thomas De Quincey, and philosopher William Hamilton.[28] In 1827 Carlyle attempted to land the Chair of Moral Philosophy at St. Andrews without success, despite support from an array of prominent intellectuals, including Goethe.[31] He again attempted a professorship at the University of London, to no avail.

In May 1828, the Carlyles moved to the main house of Jane's modest agricultural estate at Craigenputtock in Dumfriesshire, which they occupied until May 1834.[32] He wrote a number of essays in Fraser's Magazine which earned him money and augmented his reputation, including "Burns," "German Playwrights," "Voltaire," "Novalis," and "Jean Paul Richter Again." He began but did not complete a history of German literature, from which he drew material for essays "The Nibelungen Lied," "Early German Literature," and parts of "Historic Survey of German Poetry." He published early thoughts on historical writing in "Thoughts on History." He wrote his first pieces of social criticism, "Signs of the Times" and "Characteristics,"[33] which "attacked industrial, money-oriented, impersonal, and mechanical Britain."[34] In the latter, he laid down his abiding preference for the natural over the artificial: "Thus, as we have an artificial Poetry, and prize only the natural; so likewise we have an artificial Morality, an artificial Wisdom, an artificial Society".[35]

Most notably, he wrote Sartor Resartus (lit.'The Tailor Re-tailored'), his first major work. A thinly veiled parody of a scholarly text, the subject of Sartor is the life and writings of Herr Diogenes Teufelsdröckh and his "philosophy of clothes." Finishing the manuscript in late July 1831, Carlyle began his search for a publisher, leaving for London on 4 August; he found no takers.[36] He made a second visit to London from August 1832 to March 1832, still without success. During this visit he initiated important friendships with poet Leigh Hunt and philosopher John Stuart Mill. Three months after their return from a January to May 1833 stay in Edinburgh, Carlyle was visited at Craigenputtock by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson (and other like-minded Americans) had been deeply affected by his essays and determined to meet Carlyle during the northern terminus of a literary pilgrimage; it was to be the start of a lifelong friendship and a famous correspondence. Carlyle eventually decided to publish Sartor serially in Fraser's, with the installments appearing between November 1833 and August 1834. Despite early recognition from Emerson, Mill and others, it was generally received poorly, if noticed at all.

Cheyne Row to Cromwell (1834–1845)Edit

On 10 June 1834, the Carlyles moved into 5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, which became their home for the remainder of their lives. Residence in London wrought a large expansion of the Carlyles' social circle; they became acquainted with dozens of leading writers, novelists, artists, radicals, men of science, Church of England clergymen, and political figures.[34] They became friends with Lord and Lady Ashburton; though Carlyle's friendship with the latter would eventually strain his marriage, it broadened his social horizons, giving him access to circles of intelligence, political influence, and power.

Medallion of Carlyle by Thomas Woolner (1855 version). James Caw said that it recalled Lady Eastlake's description of him: "The head of a thinker, the eye of a lover, and the mouth of a peasant."[37]

Soon after moving to Cheyne Row, Carlyle arranged for the publication of a history of the French Revolution and set about researching and writing it shortly thereafter. Carlyle had lent the manuscript of the completed first volume to Mill in March 1835 when Mill's unknowing housemaid burned it in the fireplace. Carlyle persevered, rewriting the volume by September. With the intercession of Emerson, Sartor Resartus was first published in book form by James Munroe in Boston on 9 April 1836, soon selling out its initial run of five hundred copies.[38][39] Carlyle's history was completed on 13 January 1837 and sent to the press, having written three volumes.[40] In May, Carlyle began a series of seven lectures on German literature, delivered extemporaneously in Willis' Rooms. The Spectator reported on 6 May that the first lecture was given "to a very crowded and yet a select audience of both sexes." Despite his inexperience as a lecturer and deficiency "in the mere mechanism of oratory," reviews were positive and they proved profitable for him.[41] Shortly afterwards, on 9 May 1837, The French Revolution: A History was officially published. It was a resounding success, establishing Carlyle as a major historian with thorough knowledge of sources and a strong moral voice. The French Revolution fostered the republication of Sartor Resartus in London in 1838 as well as a collection his earlier writings in the form of the Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, facilitated in Boston with the aid of Emerson. Carlyle presented his second lecture series from 30 April to 11 June 1838 on the history of literature in twelve installments at the Marylebone Institution in Portman Square. The Examiner reported that at the end of the second lecture, "Mr. Carlyle was heartily greeted with applause."[42] A third series of six lectures was given from 1 to 18 May 1839 on the revolutions of modern Europe, which the Examiner reviewed positively, noting after the third lecture that "Mr. Carlyle's audiences appear to increase in number every time."[43] In December Carlyle published Chartism, a pamphlet in which he discussed the movement of the same name and raised the Condition of England question, addressing what he perceived to be the failure of such "utilitarian" measures as the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 to improve the state of the working-class during the Industrial Revolution. In April 1840 Carlyle began his fourth and final set of lectures in six parts, which were published in 1841 as On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History. Later that year, he declined a proposal for a professorship of history at Edinburgh.[25]

Carlyle was the principal founder of the London Library in 1841.[44][45] He had become frustrated by the facilities available at the British Museum Library, where he was often unable to find a seat (obliging him to perch on ladders), where he complained that the enforced close confinement with his fellow readers gave him a "museum headache", where the books were unavailable for loan, and where he found the library's collections of pamphlets and other material relating to the French Revolution and English Civil Wars inadequately catalogued. In particular, he developed an antipathy to the Keeper of Printed Books, Anthony Panizzi (despite the fact that Panizzi had allowed him many privileges not granted to other readers), and criticised him in a footnote to an article published in the Westminster Review as the "respectable Sub-Librarian".[46] Carlyle's eventual solution, with the support of a number of influential friends, was to call for the establishment of a private subscription library from which books could be borrowed.

In Past and Present (1843), Carlyle combined historical writing with trenchant social criticism of contemporary Britain. Drawing from an 1840 republication of Jocelyn de Brakelond's Chronicles of the Abbey of Saint Edmund's Bury from the twelfth century, Carlyle contrasted the structured and dutiful government of Abbot Samson with the aimlessness of the modern parliamentarian Sir Jabesh Windbag, satirizing the secularized English ruling-class. Carlyle denounced the failure of decadent liberalism to adequately remedy the ails of industrial Britain, a secular, materialistic country whose only motive was the "cash nexus." He called for leadership by captains of industry and an "Aristocracy of Talent." The work greatly influenced many of his contemporaries, including John Ruskin, William Morris and other future members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Carlyle declined an offer for professorship from St. Andrews in 1844.[25] Carlyle's next major work, Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches: With Elucidations (1845), did much to revise Cromwell's standing in Britain. Carlyle's portrait of the strong seventeenth-century leader guided by devotion to God highlighted the vanity of nineteenth-century government, showing Cromwell "fighting the forces of anarchy and disorder in a heroic struggle to make the will of God prevail."[47] Financially secure, Carlyle wrote little in the years that immediately followed Cromwell.[48]

Irish journey to Frederick the Great (1846–1865)Edit

Thomas Carlyle by Robert Scott Tait, 25 May 1855

Carlyle visited Ireland in 1846 with Charles Gavan Duffy as a companion and guide, and wrote a series of brief articles on the Irish question in 1848. "Ireland and the British Chief Governor" attacked Lord John Russell's superficial attempt to remedy the issue by mere extension of the voting franchise; in "Irish Regiments (of the New Æra)", he called for the establishment of organized labor regiments to drain the bogs and clear the land of trees to allow for cultivation; "The Repeal of the Union" argued to preserve England's connection with Ireland.[49] Carlyle wrote an article titled "Ireland and Sir Robert Peel" (signed "C.") published on 14 April 1849 in The Spectator in response to two speeches given by Peel wherein he made many of the same proposals which Carlyle had earlier suggested; he called the speeches "like a prophecy of better things, inexpressibly cheering."[50] He visited Ireland again with Duffy the same year, recording his impressions in his letters and a series of memoranda, published as Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849 after his death; Duffy would publish his own memoir of their travels, Conversations with Carlyle.

Carlyle's travels in Ireland deeply affected his views on society, as did the Revolutions of 1848. While embracing the latter as necessary in order to cleanse society of various forms of anarchy and misgovernment, he denounced their democratic undercurrent and insisted on the need for authoritarian leaders. These events inspired his next two works, "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question" (1849) and Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850). The "Occasional Discourse" was an uncompromising attack on misguided philanthropy, in which he suggested that slavery should never have been abolished, or else replaced with serfdom.[51] Slavery had kept order, he argued, and forced work from people who would otherwise have been lazy and feckless: "West Indian blacks are emancipated and, it appears, refuse to work".[52] The Pamphlets presented a torrent of diatribes against "democracy, parliament, intellectually vacant oratory, debased values, the contemporary worship of sham heroes, sugary philanthropy, and misguided prison reform." These works alienated some of his former liberal allies, including Mill. They also won him many admirers, particularly in the Antebellum South.

The Life of John Sterling (1851) was written as a corrective to Julius Hare's 1848 biography, which overstressed theological issues. In the opinion of Leslie Stephen, "The subject roused Carlyle's tenderest mood, and the Life is one of the most perfect in the language."[48] Carlyle's major work of the 1850s and 1860s was his monumental History of Frederick the Great (1858–1856). Carlyle had expressed interest in writing a biography of Frederick as early as 1830, in a letter addressed to G. R. Gleig dated 21 May of that year.[53] Carlyle set out to research his life, twice traveling to Germany to survey the topography of battlefields and work through scores of documents. Though he did not always sympathise with his hero, whose less pronounced religious belief and whose taste for the arts and Voltaire he did not share, he endeavoured to depict Frederick as the last true king of the old Europe that the French Revolution had destroyed. The biography recounts Frederick's career, the exertion of his will on his army and country, and the heroic bearing of his responsibility to preserve a nation threatened by invasion from without and struggle from within. Its completion marks the climax of Carlyle's reputation as a dominant figure of his age, the Sage of Chelsea, whose presence inspired pious pilgrimages to Cheyne Row.[54] He was elected Lord Rector of Edinburgh University in 1865, replacing William Ewart Gladstone and beating Benjamin Disraeli by a count of 657 to 310.[55]

Death of Jane Welsh and final years (1866–1881)Edit

Caricature of Carlyle by Carlo Pellegrini in Vanity Fair

Carlyle's marriage had long been strained by his friendship with Lady Harriet Ashburton and by his devotion to his labour, particularly on Frederick the Great. Jane had suffered increasing health problems and an accident in October 1863, but Lady Harriet's death in 1857 and the completion of Frederick in 1865 indicated that better days were ahead in the marriage. Carlyle traveled to Edinburgh to deliver his "Inaugural Address" as Rector on 2 April 1866. His joy at the honor bestowed upon him and the warm reception he received in Scotland was abruptly ended by news of Jane Welsh's sudden death in London on 21 April 1866. In mourning, Carlyle began to edit his wife's letters and wrote his reminiscences of Jane and of other figures, like Edward Irving, that were part of their early life together. Upon reading of her dissatisfaction with his inattentiveness, Carlyle experienced deep grief and feelings of guilt.

Commemoration Medal, Front  & Back

His wife's death did not prevent Carlyle from being active in public life, however. Mill, with the support of Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer and others, organised the Jamaica Committee in order to prosecute governor John Eyre for his repression of the Morant Bay rebellion. In response, Carlyle, with support from Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens and others, lead the Eyre Defense Fund, arguing that Eyre had acted decisively to restore order.[56][57] Carlyle attacked Disraeli's proposed extension of voting privileges in the Second Reform Bill in the essay "Shooting Niagra: And After?" of 1867, in which he "reaffirmed his belief in wise leadership (and wise followership), his disbelief in democracy and his hatred of all workmanship – from brickmaking to diplomacy – that was not genuine".[58] That year, he was the subject of two photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron. In 1868, Carlyle's niece Mary Aitken Carlyle moved into 5 Cheyne Row, attending to him and assisting in the editing of Jane Welsh's letters. On 4 March 1869 he met with Queen Victoria, who later wrote in her journal of "Mr. Carlyle, the historian, a strange-looking eccentric old Scotchman, who holds forth, in a drawling melancholy voice, with a broad Scotch accent, upon Scotland and upon the utter degeneration of everything."[59] He wrote an 11 November 1870 letter to The Times in support of Germany in the Franco-Prussian War, later reprinted as "Latter Stage of the French-German War, 1870–71".

Carlyle's conversation was recorded by a number of friends and visitors, most notably William Allingham. Allingham had met with Carlyle sporadically since 1848, becoming much closer once he settled in London in 1870. Allingham records the following note in his diary: "Mary tells me she said to her Uncle—'People say Mr. Allingham is to be your Boswell,' and he replied, 'Well, let him try it. He's very accurate.'"[60] In 1872–73, he sat for James Abbott McNeill Whistler, which resulted in Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 2: Portrait of Thomas Carlyle. In 1874 he accepted the Pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste from Otto von Bismarck and declined offers of a state pension and the Grand Cross of Bath from Disraeli. On the occasion of his eightieth birthday in 1875, he was presented with a commemorative medal crafted by Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm and an address of admiration signed by 119 of the leading writers, scientists, and public figures of the day.[a] "Early Kings of Norway" (1875), a recounting of historical material from the Icelandic sagas transcribed by Mary at Carlyle's dictation,[61] and an essay on "The Portraits of John Knox" were Carlyle's last writings to be published in his lifetime. In 1877, he sat for John Everett Millais, who produced an unfinished portrait. Carlyle was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1878.[62] In August 1879, Carlyle and Mary were joined at Cheyne Row by Mary's new husband Alexander Carlyle, son of Thomas' brother Alexander and Mary's first cousin.

On 2 February 1881, Carlyle fell into a deep sleep, except for a moment when Mary heard him say to himself, "So this is Death—well. . ."[63] He thereafter lost his speech and died on the morning of 5 February.[64] After Jane Welsh's passing, he expressed hope to be buried beside her at Haddington, though this plan was discarded. By the 1870s, there was discussion regarding a potential offer of internment at Westminster Abbey. Carlyle rejected this, taking issue with the Church of England's burial service as well as the spectacle of the event, saying that "Westminster Abbey would require a general gaol delivery of rogues before any man could be at peace there."[65] Per Carlyle's instructions,[66] his executors declined Dean Stanley's offer of the Abbey, and he was placed in the Churchyard of Ecclefechan with his father and mother, according to old Scottish custom.[67] His private funeral was held on 10 February, attended by family and a few friends, including James Anthony Froude, Moncure Conway, John Tyndall, and William Lecky, as local residents looked on.[68]


Carlyle believed that his time required a new approach to writing:

But finally do you reckon this really a time for Purism of Style; or that Style (mere dictionary style) has much to do with the worth or unworth of a Book? I do not: with whole ragged battallions of Scott's-Novel Scotch, with Irish, German, French and even Newspaper Cockney (when "Literature" is little other than a Newspaper) storming in on us, and the whole structure of our Johnsonian English breaking up from its foundations,—revolution there as visible as anywhere else![69]

At the beginning of his literary career, Carlyle worked to develop his own style, cultivating one of intense energy and visualisation, characterized not by "balance, gravity, and composure" but "imbalance, excess, and excitement."[70] Even in his early anonymous periodical essays his writing distinguished him from his contemporaries. Carlyle's writing in Sartor Resartus is described as "a distinctive mixture of exuberant poetic rhapsody, Germanic speculation, and biblical exhortation, which Carlyle used to celebrate the mystery of everyday existence and to depict a universe suffused with creative energy."[71] In those sections of the text which purport to quote Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, the work's language has a deliberately outlandish quality, which Carlyle underscored by inserting complaints from the character of the Editor against Teufelsdröckh's seemingly endless stream of metaphors and verbal eccentricities.

Carlyle's French Revolution offered an original approach to historical writing, inspired by a quality that he found in the works of Goethe, Bunyan and Shakespeare: "Everything has form, everything has visual existence; the poet's imagination bodies forth the forms of things unseen, his pen turns them to shape."[72] Rather than reporting events in a detached, distanced manner, he presents immediate, tangible occurrences, often in the present tense.[73] "With copious metaphors of conflagration, inundation, and eruption," he shows the transcendent significance of events, "depicting French aristocrats and philosophes as dancers on a sea of fire and portraying the leaders of the Revolution as incendiary beings disgorged from a Homeric nether-world."[71] In "the great prose epic of the nineteenth century," Carlyle managed to craft an overwhelmingly original voice, producing deliberate tension by combining the common language of the time with self-conscious allusions to traditional epics, Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, or some contemporary French history source in nearly every sentence of its three volumes.

Portrait etching of Carlyle by Alphonse Legros

Carlyle's later histories represent historical events with a similar immediacy. In the first chapter of Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, "Anti-Dryasdust," Carlyle rebukes typical historiography: "Dull Pedantry, conceited idle Dilettantism,—prurient Stupidity in what shape soever,—is darkness and not light!"[74] D. J. Trela observes that in Cromwell, the words of the historical actors combine with a "medley" of Carlyle's "own 'editorial' and 'prophetic' authoritative voices to offer the reader necessary information, instruction and guidance."[75] Like Cromwell in his writings, Carlyle drew powerfully on biblical metaphors, creating a resonance between hero and biographer.[76] Carlyle recreated the scenes of Cromwell's battles with precise detail, placing great value on the "visual existence" of persons and places, allowing England's great political drama to unfold before the eyes of the reader. Carlyle reproduced battles scenes of History of Frederick the Great in similarly meticulous detail, using unadorned facts with rhetorical force. As with Cromwell, Carlyle resists "arid, Dryasdust history," using humour, irony, and multiple voices to intersperse the account of facts with the observations of fictional personae, such as Smelfungus and Sauertig."[77]

In his writing, Carlyle transformed reality in various ways, whether by conversion of actual human beings into grotesque caricatures, envisioning apparently isolated facts as emblems of morality, or by manifestation of the supernatural. Carlyle's social criticism, against the account of more sanguine contemporary society offered by political economists and others, directs his penchant for metaphor toward the Condition of England question, depicting a thoroughly diseased society. Declaiming the aimless, anarchic state of England, infirm leaders were satirized by depictions of Sir Jabesh Windbag and Bobus of Houndsditch in Past and Present, and memorable catchphrases such as Morrison's Pill, the Gospel of Mammonism, and "Doing as One Likes" were employed to counteract empty platitudes of the day. Carlyle caricatures coddled West-Indian slaves in "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question" and shows nightmarish visions of pampered felons, with wrongheaded philanthropists wallowing in their own filth, in Latter-Day Pamphlets. Carlyle could use imaginative powers of rhetoric and vision to "render the familiar unfamiliar"; he could also be a sharp-eyed, keen observer of the actual, reproducing scenes with imagistic clarity, as he does in the histories, the Reminiscences, the Life of John Sterling and the letters. As Memorial University professor Mark Cumming explains, "Carlyle's intense appreciation of visual existence and of the innate energy of object, coupled with his insistent awareness of language and his daunting verbal resources, formed the immediate and lasting appeal of his style."[77]


Evident throughout Carlyle's writings is his own sense of humour, for which his appreciation was shaped by early readings of Cervantes, Samuel Butler, Jonathan Swift, and Laurence Sterne, authors from whom he developed a love of humorous characters. He initially attempted a fashionable irony in his writing, drawn from familiar literary magazines such as Blackwood's, Fraser's, and the Edinburgh Review; he soon discarded this approach in favour of a "deeper spirit" of humour. In his essays on Richter, Carlyle rejects the dismissive, ironic humour of Voltaire and Molière, embracing the warm and sympathetic approach of Cervantes and Richter. Carlyle establishes humor in many of his works through his use of characters, such as the Editor (in Sartor Resartus), Diogenes Teufelsdröckh (lit.'God-born Devil's-dung'), Gottfried Sauerteig, Dryasdust, and Smelfungus. Linguistically, he explores the humorous possibilities of his subject through exaggerated and dazzling wordplay, "in sentences abounding with rhetorical devices: emphasis by capitalization, punctuation marks, and italics; allegory, symbol, and other poetic devices; hyphenated words, Germanic translations and etymologies; quotations, self-quotations, and bizarre allusions; and repetitious and antiquated speech."[78]


Carlyle's writing is highly allusive. Ruth apRoberts writes that "Thomas Carlyle may well be, of all writers in English, the most thoroughly imbued with the Bible. His language, his imagery, his syntax, his stance, his worldview—are all affected by it."[79] In the Duke-Edinburgh edition of the Collected Letters and in the Strouse edition of Carlyle's works, all of the Old and New Testament books besides the Apocrypha are referenced, with Job, Ecclesiastes, Psalms and Proverbs the most frequent in the Old, and Matthew that in the New.[80] Joseph Sigman has traced in Sartor Resartus a basic biblical pattern, of both Old Testament and New Testament, used typologically.[81] The French Revolution is filled with dozens of Homeric allusions, quotations, and a liberal use of epithets drawn from Homer as well as Homeric epithets of Carlyle's own devising.[82] Carlyle relished Homer's attention to detail, his strongly visual imagination, and his exuberant appreciation of language; John Clubbe argues that the influence of Homer extended beyond The French Revolution to Past and Present and Frederick the Great.[83] The Letters are full of allusions to a wide range of texts by John Milton, including Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Comus, Samson Agonistes and, most frequently, Paradise Lost. Carlyle's entire corpus was touched by Miltonic language and imagery, especially The French Revolution.[84] References to William Shakespeare, direct and indirect, abound in his works. The French Revolution contains two dozen allusions to Hamlet alone, and dozens more to Macbeth, Othello, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, the histories, and the comedies.[85]


Sterling complained in an 1835 letter to Carlyle after reading Sartor of the "positively barbarous" use of words such as "environment," "stertorous," and "visualised," words "without any authority" that are now widely used.[86] William Makepeace Thackeray offered the following passage in a mixed review of French Revolution for the Times in 1837:

Never did a man's style so mar his subject and dim his genius. It is stiff, short, rugged, it abounds with Germanisms and Latinisms, strange epithets, and choking double words. Yet, with perseverance, understanding follows, and things perceived first as faults are seen to be part of his originality, and powerful innovations in English prose.[87]

Henry David Thoreau expressed appreciation in "Thomas Carlyle and His Works":

Indeed, for fluency and skill in the use of the English tongue, he is a master unrivalled. His felicity and power of expression surpass even his special merits as historian and critic. . . . we had not understood the wealth of the language before. . . . He does not go to the dictionary, the wordbook, but to the word-manufactory itself, and has made endless work for the lexicographers . . . it would be well for any who have a lost horse to advertise, or a town-meeting warrant, or a sermon, or a letter to write, to study this universal letter-writer, for he knows more than the grammar or the dictionary.[88]

Oscar Wilde wrote that among the very few masters of English prose, "We have Carlyle, who should not be imitated."[89] Matthew Arnold advised: "Flee Carlylese as you would the devil."[90] Frederic Harrison noted that

The purists doubt as to the style of Carlyle as a "model," but no one denies that the French Revolution and Hero-Worship, at least in certain passages, display a mastery over language as splendid as anything in our prose literature. . . . Carlyle, if not the greatest prose master of our age, must be held to be, by virtue of his original genius and mass of stroke, the literary dictator of Victorian prose.[91]



James Anthony Froude

What Kenneth J. Fielding calls "one of the most undignified squabbles in literature"[92] began when Carlyle gave the collected and annotated letters of Jane Welsh as well has his reminiscence of her to Froude in June 1871. Although Carlyle had appended to the reminiscence a prohibition against publication, Froude understood that this was superseded by Carlyle's later wish that Froude decide the fate of the materials: "publish it, the whole or part—or else destroy it all".[93] Despite Froude and John Forster's urging of Carlyle to clarify his wishes, he died without having made explicit the terms of Froude's possession of the papers and the precise scope of his editorial discretion.

Froude's two-volume edition of the Reminiscences was published in 1881. Though he had completed much of his work at the time of Carlyle's death, the speed with which Froude issued his product was regarded by many as unseemly, as was the inclusion of contemptuous remarks about persons who had regarded themselves as friends and benefactors of the Carlyles. In a letter to the Times, Carlyle's niece Mary Aitken claimed that Froude had issued the reminiscence of Jane Welsh in knowing contradiction with Carlyle's expressed wish to the contrary, citing the early veto on publication.

Froude's subsequent four-volume biography dramatized a turbulent marriage wherein Carlyle neglected his wife, being consumed by his work; only by reading her journals after her death did he realize how he had been blinded to his responsibilities as a husband. According to this version of events, Carlyle's wish to have his wife's papers and her complaints about him made public was a form of penance for his failures during her lifetime. It appeared to many as though Froude's focus on personal drama and marriage obscured Carlyle's wider social, intellectual, and familial relationships. Many who had counted themselves among the Cheyne Row circle challenged Froude's methods and contested his presented image of Carlyle. Between 1881 and 1903, attempts were made to discredit or supplant Froude's portrait, most notably by Charles Eliot Norton, whose editions of the letters and Reminiscences drew attention to Froude's errors in judgement.

The publication in 1903 of Alexander Carlyle's edition of Jane Welsh's letters, prefaced by Sir James Crichton-Browne with renewed attacks on Froude's integrity and actions, prompted Froude's children Margaret and Ashley to publish their father's private self-defense, My Relations with Carlyle, written in March 1887. It mostly restated his standard case, though disclosed for the first time was his suspicion, corroborated by novelist and Cheyne Row habituée Geraldine Jewsbury, that Carlyle had been "one of those persons who ought never to have married,"[94] i.e. impotent, suggesting that this information had been spread by Sir Richard Quain, Jane Welsh's personal physician. Crichton-Browne defended Carlyle's virility in an article in the British Medical Journal[95] and in The Nemesis of Froude (co-authored with Alexander Carlyle). He argued that Quain would not be so unprofessional as to divulge a medical secret of that magnitude and offered indirect evidence that Quain had laughed at the notion of Carlyle's impotence "as a bad joke."[96] Crichton-Browne also characterized Jane Welsh as hysterical and menopausal and Jewsbury as an unreliable witness.[97]

Frank Harris decided to fan the flames of public debate in a February 1911 article entitled "Talks with Carlyle," published in The English Review. Harris, having visited and corresponded with Carlyle in his final years, told a story of a walk that he and Carlyle had taken in Hyde Park, during which Carlyle delivered an emotional and explicit confession of his own impotence in "a state of pathetic despair."[98] He claimed to have recounted the episode at the Garrick Club and that Quain confirmed the details.[99] Harris, a notorious liar, was accused of producing a wildly imaginative fabrication. In The Truth About Carlyle (1913), David Alec Wilson provided thirdhand corroboration that after Jane Welsh had recovered from one of her illnesses, Quain sent word to Carlyle that he could "resume marital relations with his wife."[96] Harris in turn gave a graphically detailed account of the Carlyles' sexual history in My Life and Loves, depicting a private conversation in which Quain allegedly told Harris that he had discovered Jane to be a virgo intacta after twenty-five years of marriage as well as his relation of Jane's account of the couple's wedding night.[100]



Described as one of the "most adamant protagonists" of Anglo-Saxonism,[101] Carlyle considered the Anglo-Saxon race as superior to all others.[102] In his lifetime, his shared Anglo-Saxonism with Ralph Waldo Emerson was described as a defining trait of their friendship.[103] Sometimes critical of the United States, describing it as a "formless" Saxon tribal order, he suggested that the Normans had provided Anglo-Saxons with a superior sense of order for national structure in England.[104]


Carlyle identified Jews with materialism and archaic forms of religion, attacking both the East London communities of Jewish orthodoxy and "West End" Jewish wealth, which he perceived as material corruption.[105] Invited by Baron Rothschild in 1848 to support a Bill in Parliament to allow voting rights for Jews in the United Kingdom, Carlyle declined to offer his support to what he named the "Jew Bill". In a correspondence with Richard Monckton Milnes he insisted that Jews were hypocritical to want admission into the British Parliament, suggesting that a "real Jew" could only be a representative or citizen of "his own wretched Palestine", and in this context, declared that all Jews should be expelled to Palestine.[106] He was publicly criticised by Charles Dickens for his "well-known aversion to the Jews".[107]


Henry Crabb Robinson heard Carlyle at dinner in 1837 speak approvingly of slavery. "It is a natural aristocracy, that of colour, and quite right that the stronger and better race should have dominion!"[108] Carlyle held that "the black man could not be emancipated from the laws of nature, which had pronounced a very decided decree on the question."[109] The 1853 pamphlet "Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question" expressed concern for the excesses of the practice, considering "How to abolish the abuses of slavery, and save the precious thing in it."[110]

Reputation and influenceEdit


Few literary figures in the nineteenth century generated as much commentary as Thomas Carlyle. The range of response was wide, from exaltation to denunciation. To many, he was the most powerful influence of his day. Harriet Martineau wrote in 1849, "Thomas Carlyle appears to be the man who has most essentially modified the mind of his time. . . . Whether we call him philosopher, poet, or moralist, he is the first teacher of our generation."[111] George Eliot echoed this sentiment in 1855:

It is an idle question to ask whether his books will be read a century hence: if they were all burnt as the grandest of Suttees on his funeral pile, it would be only like cutting down an oak after its acorns have sown a forest. For there is hardly a superior or active mind of this generation that has not been modified by Carlyle's writings; there has hardly been an English book written for the last ten or twelve years that would not have been different if Carlyle had not lived.[112]

Upon his death, Emerson opined that Carlyle's life and work had produced a general sentiment which was similar to "that felt toward Scott by our fathers and something of that felt by our grandfathers toward Johnson", declaring that English literature was "orphaned"; and doubtful as regards "who is to be put into Mr. Carlyle's place."[113] Walt Whitman urged that "under no circumstances, and no matter how completely time and events disprove his lurid vaticinations, should the English-speaking world forget this man, nor fail to hold in honor his unsurpass'd conscience, his unique method, and his honest fame. Never were convictions more earnest and genuine. Never was there less of a flunkey or temporizer. Never had political progressivism a foe it could more heartily respect."[114]

Carlyle drew favourable comparisons to great writers of the Western canon. In George Saintsbury's view, Carlyle could "seize a period, a movement, a set of incidents", with such a "grasp" that "the result was Gibbon without his obstinate superficiality, and Thucydides without his disappointing asceticism in rhetoric and eloquence."[115] Wilde is quoted in conversation as saying, "How great he was! He made history a song for the first time in our language. He was our English Tacitus."[116] Ruskin likewise considered Carlyle the "greatest of historians since Tacitus,"[117] while Sterling told Emerson of "Carlyle, our far greater Tacitus".[118] Charles Eliot Norton wrote that Carlyle's "essential nature was solitary in its strength, its sincerity, its tenderness, its nobility. He was nearer Dante than any other man."[119] Harrison similarly observed that "Carlyle walked about London like Dante in the streets of Verona, gnawing his own heart and dreaming dreams of Inferno. To both the passers-by might have said, See! there goes the man who has seen hell".[120]

Disciples of Carlyle were called Carlyleans or Carlylites, the closest to Carlyle being Froude and Ruskin. Ruskin often referred to Carlyle as his "master" and spoke of their relationship as being that of father and son. Edward Tyas Cook and Alexander Wedderburn surmised that "Carlyle was the revered Master; Ruskin the beloved disciple."[121] Another was Dickens, who is described as "a pathetically eager suitor in Carlyle's court, to be observed hanging around him obsequiously at parties, eagerly acknowledging him in print, showering him with presentation copies." Dickens' housekeeper Georgina Hogarth wrote to Carlyle on 27 June 1870, shortly after Dickens' death, that "there was no one for whom he had a higher reverence and admiration."[122] Kingsley's views on social reform were largely shaped by Carlyle.[123] Tennyson's poems bear the influence of his friend's ideas.[124][125][126][127][128]

Carlyle influenced politicians and social activists. Morris Edmund Speare cites Carlyle as "one of the greatest influences" on Disraeli's life.[129] Robert Blake links the two as "romantic, conservative, organic thinkers who revolted against Benthamism and the legacy of eighteenth-century rationalism."[130] Froude, a biographer of both men, observed that Disraeli "had studied Carlyle, and in some of his writings had imitated him."[131] Disraeli himself wrote to Carlyle that he considered him along with Tennyson to be of "uncontested superiority" in contemporary literature.[132] Alexander Herzen valued Carlyle's writings and sought him out in London; Vasily Botkin treated Carlyle deferentially and translated On Heroes into Russian. Octavia Hill was a great admirer of Carlyle, as was Emmeline Pankhurst. Ángel Ganivet and Miguel de Unamuno shared an enthusiasm for Carlyle.[133][134] The Irish revolutionary John Mitchel was much influenced by Carlyle. He called the French Revolution "the profoundest book, and the most eloquent and fascinating history, that English literature ever produced."[135] Florence Edward MacCarthy, son of Denis MacCarthy, remarked that "Perhaps more than any other, it stimulated poor John Mitchel & led to his fate in 1848." Mitchel's Life of Aodh O'Neill, Prince of Ulster is "an early incursion of Carlylean thought into the romantic construction of the Irish nation that was to dominate militant Irish politics for a century."[136] Charles Gavan Duffy wrote that Carlyle "had taught Mitchel to oppose the liberation of the negroes and the emancipation of the Jews."[109]

United StatesEdit

Daguerreotype of Carlyle, mailed to Emerson 30 April 1846

Early in his career, Carlyle was best received in America, where his works were most often printed. He greatly influenced Transcendentalism; Amos Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, Orestes Brownson, William Henry Channing, Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Frederic Henry Hedge, Henry James Sr., Thoreau, and George Ripley were all affected by him. In 1835, Alexander Hill Everett, editor of the North American Review, described Carlyle as "the most profound and original of the living English philosophical writers. He is the person, to whom we look with greatest confidence to give a new spring and direction to these studies in the mother country."[137] As such, anti-Transcendentalists highly disapproved of Carlyle. In April 1833, Andrews Norton identified him as the head of a new school of writers that intended "to sweep away all old notions of philosophy, morals, and religion," with nothing of substance to put in their place.[138] Edgar Allan Poe wrote in the April 1846 issue of the United States Magazine, "I have not the slightest faith in Carlyle. In ten years—possibly in five—he will be remembered only as a butt for sarcasm." Burton R. Pollin notes that, of Carlyle's works, Poe probably only read Sartor Resartus closely, from which he borrowed in his own writing.[139]

Carlyle has, best of all men in England, kept the manly attitude in his time. . . . His errors of opinion are as nothing in comparison with this merit, in my judgment. This aplomb cannot be mimicked; it is the speaking to the heart of the thing. And in England, where the morgue of aristocracy has very slowly admitted scholars into society, . . . he has carried himself erect, made himself a power confessed by all men, and taught scholars their lofty duty. He never feared the face of man.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Carlyle"[140]

Carlyle's work was well-received in the Antebellum South.[141][142][143] In 1848, The Southern Quarterly Review declared: "The spirit of Thomas Carlyle is abroad in the land."[144] Southern sociologist George Fitzhugh's notions of palingenesis, multi-racial slavery, and authoritarianism were profoundly influenced by Carlyle, as was his prose style.[145] American historian William E. Dodd wrote that Carlyle's "doctrine of social subordination and class distinction . . . was all that Dew and Harper and Calhoun and Hammond desired. The greatest realist in England had weighed their system and found it just and humane."[14] Carlyle's attacks on the ills of industrialisation and on classical economics became an important inspiration for U.S. progressives,[146] and his economic statism influenced the elitist and eugenicist concept of "intelligent social engineering" which was promoted in the early days of the progressive American Economic Association.[147]

Conversely, Carlyle alienated some of his former epigones after the 1848 revolutions, such as John Greenleaf Whittier, who denounced the "Occasional Discourse" as "unspeakably wicked" in The National Era.[148] In 1867 James Freeman Clarke wrote: "He is our 'Lost Leader,' but we have loved and honored him as few men were ever loved and honored. . . . We shall always be grateful to the real Carlyle, the old Carlyle" of pre-1848.[149] The younger generation was less affected; Herman Melville, who had attempted to meet Carlyle during an 1849 trip to England, borrowed copies of Sartor and On Heroes from his friend Evert Augustus Duyckinck in the summer of 1850, which greatly influenced the style and substance of both Moby-Dick and Pierre; or, The Ambiguities.[150] Emily Dickinson held Carlyle's work in high regard and hung a portrait of him in her bedroom.[151][152] John Burroughs wrote in 1868 that "the only two living writers with whom I do not get disgusted are Carlyle and Emerson," and that the former had "a fuller measure of the great religious artist-mind than any of his contemporary poets."[153] He visited Carlyle in October 1871 with Moncure Conway, and made pilgrimages to Ecclefechan and Cheyne Row in 1882, publishing recollections in two chapters of Fresh Fields.[154]

Walt Whitman read Carlyle's works extensively in the years before the publication of the first edition of Leaves of Grass.[155] Reflecting upon Carlyle's death, he observed:

There is surely at present an inexplicable rapport (all the more piquant from its contradictoriness) between that deceas'd author and our United States of America . . . Beyond question, since Carlyle's death, and the publication of Froude's memoirs, not only the interest in his books, but every personal bit regarding the famous Scotchman . . . is probably wider and livelier to-day in this country than in his own land.[114]

Whitman thought of Carlyle often in his later years, mentioning him to Horace Traubel more than one hundred times in 1886 alone;[156] two years later, he said, "I am disposed to think of him as more significant than any modern man."[157]

Eston Everett Ericson has identified Carlyle's influence in the work of Marietta Holley.[158] Mark Twain was found on his deathbed with a copy of The French Revolution, one of his favorite books, at his side.[159]


Goethe considered Carlyle "a moral force of great importance,"[160] and wrote a laudatory preface to the 1830 German translation of The Life of Friedrich Schiller.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels studied and praised Carlyle's early writings on the condition of England and were taken with the "revolutionary" antibourgeois attitude expressed in Carlyle's Chartism. In The Condition of the Working Class in England (1844–1845), while differing in his views on the means and ends of social change, Engels followed Carlyle's assessment of the consequences of the Industrial Revolution and commended his stand for the workers, repeatedly citing Chartism and praising Carlyle's attack on bourgeois values in Past and Present. Die heilige Familie (1845) contains references to Carlyle's social criticism. Marx relied on Chartism for statistical information on the English working-class for use in "Arbeitslohn," a manuscript scrapbook that he used for his papers read at the General German Workers' Association in Brussels in December 1847. Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) echoes Carlyle's indictment of the social disintegration caused by profit-oriented commerce and recalled Carlyle's lament that "Cash Payment" had become "the universal sole nexus of man to man."[161] In Volume I of Das Kapital, Marx critcised Carlyle's support for the Confederacy in the American Civil War and scorned his "Ilias (Americana) in Nuce".[162] In 1881, Engels repudiated Carlyle's conception of "captains of industry,"[163] and in a note appended to the 1892 edition of The Condition of the Working Class in England, Engels lamented that the Revolutions of 1848 had made Carlyle "an out-and-out reactionary," whose "righteous wrath against the Philistines" had "turned into sullen Philistine grumbling at the tide of history that cast him ashore."[164]

Friedrich Nietzsche was dismissive of Carlyle's moralism, calling him an "absurd muddlehead" in Beyond Good and Evil[165] and regarded him as a thinker who failed to free himself from the very petty-mindedness he professed to condemn.[166] In Twilight of the Idols, he announced that he had "read the life of Thomas Carlyle, that unwitting and involuntary farce, that heroical-moralistical interpretation of dyspepsia," and found Carlyle to be "a rhetorician from necessity, continually agitated by the desire for a strong faith and the feeling of incapacity for it (—in this a typical Romantic!)." He wrote that Carlyle's "desire for a strong faith is not the proof of a strong faith," but "rather the opposite." Nietzsche discovered in Carlyle a "continual passionate dishonesty towards himself," despite the fact that "in England he is admired precisely on account of his honesty." Nietzsche described Carlyle memorably as "an English atheist who wants to be honoured for not being one."[167] However, Ruth apRoberts asserts that Nietzsche, whose ideas are comparable to Carlyle's in some respects,[168][165] "may owe more to Carlyle than he cares to admit."[169]

Carlyle's support of Germany in the Franco-German war earned him great esteem in Bismarck's Prussia, and the centenary of his birth in 1895 was widely celebrated.[170]


Writing for the Revue Indépendente, Antoine Dilmans charactertized Carlyle as the "chief proponent" of "English socialism" with elements of Saint-Simonianism in his writings.[171] Émile Montégut took to "fervent admiration" of Carlyle after 1848 and attempted to inspire the same in his countrymen.[172] Hippolyte Taine produced a monograph of Carlyle in 1864, L'Idéalisme anglais: Étude sur Carlyle. He described his writing as a mix of "pagan illusions, reminiscences of the Bible, German abstractions, technical terms, poetry, slang, mathematics, physiology, archaic words, neologisms." "There is nothing that he does not crush and ravage," wrote Taine. "The symmetrical constructions of art and human thought, scattered and overthrown, are heaped up by his hand into a gigantesque pile of formless debris, from the top of which, like a conquering barbarian, he gesticulates and does battle."[173] In his didacticism, Taine considered Carlyle a "modern Puritan" who saw "nothing but evil in the French Revolution" and judged of Voltaire and the French Enlightenment unjustly. Carlyle "understands our manner of acting no better than our manner of thinking. He looks for Puritan sentiment; and, as he does not find it, he condemns us."[174] He concluded that Carlyle possessed "this exaggerated and demonaic style, this extraordinary and sickly philosophy, this contorted prophetic history, these sinister and furious politics."[175] Alan Carey Taylor indicates that the publication of Edmond Barthélemy's translation of Sartor Resartus and its accompanying critical study Thomas Carlyle: Essai biographique et critique in 1899 mark a turning point in the reputation of Carlyle in France.[176][177] Monographs by Louis Cazamian (1913), Victor Basch (1938) and Jacques Cabau (1968) served to consolidate Carlyle's reputation in twentieth-century France.[178]


After enjoying immense fame in the Victorian age, Carlyle fell somewhat out of fashion during the Edwardian era, though his importance was not underestimated. William Crary Brownell assessed in 1901 that "Carlyle is now neglected but will inevitably come back because of the vitality of his style and vision." In 1902, G. K. Chesterton wrote that Carlyle's supreme contributions to philosophy and literature were his humour ("his sense of the sarcasm of eternity") and that he was "the founder of modern irrationalism; a movement fully as important as modern rationalism." Where he had an "unquestionably long and an unquestionably bad influence" was his responsibility for the habit of what Chesterton called "Going the whole hog", the "modern craze for making one's philosophy, religion, politics, and temper all of a piece", which he believed Nietzsche and his disciples epitomised.[179] In 1904 Paul Elmer More deemed Carlyle "after Dr. Johnson the greatest personality in English letters, possibly even more imposing than that acknowledged dictator."[180] Hilaire Belloc wrote in his 1906 introduction to the Everyman's Library edition of Carlyle's French Revolution that though "His position as a writer is secure," he felt that "we are in a position to look steadily back at the whole historical work of Carlyle and to judge it, as yet, without undue lack of sympathy, but already with sufficient detachment."[181] The Carlyle Society, which had formed in London after his death, ceased operations in January 1907 due to shortage of funds and lack of interest.[182] H. L. Mencken called Carlyle "a god long forgotten" in 1917.[183]

Interest revived in later years. Mary Agnes Hamilton's 1926 study attempted to "rescue" Carlyle for the twentieth century by stressing his influence on the modern labour movement. On 6 March 1929, a largely attended and enthusiastic meeting in the Edinburgh City Chambers led to the formation of the Carlyle Society in Edinburgh, which continues today.[182][184] In October of that year, a copy of the Chelsea statue was unveiled in Ecclefechan. The Carlyle Hotel in New York, which opened in 1930, is named for him. Lytton Strachey wrote an essay on Carlyle in 1931. His home at 24 Cheyne Row and his birthplace in Ecclefechan were purchased in 1936 by the National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland, respectively.

Some critics in the 20th century identified Carlyle as an influence on fascism and Nazism.[185] Carlyle's distaste for democracy[186] and his belief in charismatic leadership was appealing to Joseph Goebbels, who frequently referenced Carlyle's work in his journal,[187] and read his biography of Frederick the Great to Hitler during his last days in 1945.[185][188] Further evidence for this argument can be found in letters sent by Carlyle to Paul de Lagarde, one of the early proponents of the Fuehrer principle.[187] However, Ernst Cassirer in The Myth of the State "rejects the charge that Carlyle was a fascist or led others to fascism," emphasizing Carlyle's clarification that "Might is Right" always means "moral right" and "moral might." G. B. Tennyson notes that Carlyle's rejection of modernism and "the exaltation of the self" above moral law disqualifies him from association with fascism and other forms of modern totalitarianism for which those traits are intrinsic.[189]

Carlyle was the subject of renewed interest in academic circles in the second half of the twentieth century. Early studies by John Holloway (1953), Tennyson (1965), Albert. J. LaValley (1968) and others called for a reconsideration of Carlyle's standing. "Despite the pleas of these critics," Cumming reported in 2004, "Carlyle's status as a great, powerful writer has not been rehabilitated even within the universities, and his name is unlikely ever to have the widespread popular currency of such contemporaries as George Eliot, Charles Dickens, or the Brontës."[190] However, Sartor Resartus has recently been recognised once more as a remarkable and significant work, arguably anticipating many major philosophical and cultural developments, from existentialism to postmodernism.[191] It has been argued that his critique of ideological formulas in The French Revolution provides a good account of the ways in which revolutionary cultures turn into repressive dogmatism.

Figures associated with the Nouvelle Droite, the Neoreactionary movement, and the alt-right have claimed Carlyle as an influence on their approach to metapolitics.[192][193][194][195] At a meeting of the New Right in London on 5 July 2008, English artist Jonathan Bowden delivered a lecture in which he said, "All of our great thinkers are shooting arrows into the future. And Carlyle is one of them."[196] In 2010, American blogger Curtis Yarvin labeled himself a Carlylean "the way a Marxist is a Marxist."[197] New Zealand-born writer Kerry Bolton wrote in 2020 that Carlyle's works "could be the ideological basis of a true British Right" and that they "remain as timeless foundations on which the Anglophone Right can return to its actual premises."[198]


Bust of Carlyle in the Hall of Heroes at the Wallace Monument, 1891

The following table represents data gathered from Oxford English Dictionary Online, 2012.[199] The first category is the "total number of quotations from that author used in the dictionary as examples." The second category is "the number of quotations that are considered first uses of a word that is a main entry– in other words the author can claim to have used the word first, or to have coined it." The third category is "the number of words or phrases that are used by the author for the first time in a particular sense, such as figuratively instead of concretely, or for using a particular noun as a verb for the first time, or coining a phrase made from existing known words."

Carlyle Quotations in the O.E.D.
Type Number Author Rank
Total Quotations 6778 26th
First Quotations 547 45th
First Quotations in a Special Sense 1789 33rd

Over fifty percent of these entries come from Sartor Resartus, French Revolution, and History of Frederick the Great. Of the 547 First Quotations cited by the O.E.D., 87 or 16% are listed as being "in common use today."

Some of these terms are given below, as defined in The Nuttall Encyclopædia.

Cash Nexus
The reduction (under capitalism) of all human relationships, but especially relations of production, to monetary exchange.[200]
Centre of Immensities
An expression of Carlyle's to signify that wherever any one is, he is in touch with the whole universe of being, and is, if he knew it, as near the heart of it there as anywhere else he can be.
Conflux of Eternities, The
Carlyle's phrase for time, as in every moment of it a centre in which all the forces to and from eternity meet and unite, so that by no past and no future can we be brought nearer to Eternity than where we at any moment of Time are; the Present Time, the youngest born of Eternity, being the child and heir of all the Past times with their good and evil, and the parent of all the Future. By the import of which (see Matt. xvi. 27), it is accordingly the first and most sacred duty of every successive age, and especially the leaders of it, to know and lay to heart as the only link by which Eternity lays hold of it, and it of Eternity.
A mania or frantic zeal for freedom.
Everlasting No, The
Carlyle's name for the spirit of unbelief in God, especially as it manifested itself in his own, or rather Teufelsdröckh's, warfare against it; the spirit, which, as embodied in the Mephistopheles of Goethe, is for ever denying,—der stets verneint—the reality of the divine in the thoughts, the character, and the life of humanity, and has a malicious pleasure in scoffing at everything high and noble as hollow and void.
Everlasting Yea, The
Carlyle's name for the spirit of faith in God in an express attitude of clear, resolute, steady, and uncompromising antagonism to the Everlasting No, [and] the principle that there is no such thing as faith in God except in such antagonism, no faith except in such antagonism against the spirit opposed to God.
Carlyle's name for a man who prides himself on, and pays all respect to, respectability. It is derived from a definition once given in a court of justice by a witness who, having described a person as respectable, was asked by the judge in the case what he meant by the word; "one that keeps a gig", was the answer. Carlyle also refers to "gigmanity" at large.
Hallowed Fire
An expression of Carlyle's in definition of Christianity "at its rise and spread" as sacred, and kindling what was sacred and divine in man's soul, and burning up all that was not.
Logic Spectacles
Carlyle's name for eyes that can only discern the external relations of things, but not the inner nature of them.
Mights and Rights
The Carlyle doctrine that Rights are nothing till they have realised and established themselves as Mights; they are rights first only then.
The name given by Carlyle in his discussion of Jesuitism in his Latter-Day Pamphlets to the widespread philosophy of the time, which regarded the human being as a mere creature of appetite instead of a creature of God endowed with a soul, with no nobler idea of well-being than the gratification of desire – that his only Heaven, and the reverse of it his Hell.
Plugston of Undershot
Carlyle's name in "Past and Present" for a member or "Master-Worker" of the English mammon-worshipping manufacturing class in rivalry with the aristocracy for the ascendency in the land, who pays his workers his wages and thinks he has done his duty with them in so doing, and is secure in the fortune he has made by that cash-payment gospel of his as all the law and the prophets, called of "Undershot," his mill being driven by a wheel, the working power of which is hidden unheeded by him, to break out some day to the damage of both his mill and him.
Present Time
Defined by Carlyle as "the youngest born of Eternity, child and heir of all the past times, with their good and evil, and parent of all the future with new questions and significance", on the right or wrong understanding of which depend the issues of life or death to us all, the sphinx riddle given to all of us to rede as we would live and not die.
Prinzenraub (the stealing of the princes)
Name given to an attempt to satisfy a private grudge, referring to the attempted kidnapping by Kunz von Kaufungen in 1455 of two young Saxon princes from the castle of Altenburg, in which he was apprehended by a collier named Schmidt, handed over to the authorities, and beheaded. (See Carlyle's account of this in his Miscellanies.)
Printed Paper
Carlyle's satirical name for the literature of France prior to the Revolution.
Progress of the Species Magazines
Carlyle's name for the literature of the day which does nothing to help the progress in question, but keeps idly boasting of the fact, taking all the credit to itself, like French poet Jean de La Fontaine's fly on the axle of the careening chariot soliloquising, "What a dust I raise!"
(i.e. leaven), an imaginary authority alive to the "celestial infernal" fermentation that goes on in the world, who has an eye specially to the evil elements at work, and to whose opinion Carlyle frequently appeals in his condemnatory verdict on sublunary things.

In fictionEdit

Thomas Carlyle interested fiction writers in his time and beyond, as well as playwrights.[201][202]


Major worksEdit

The standard edition of Carlyle's works is the Centenary Edition, edited and with introductions by Henry Duff Traill, first published 1896–1899 in London by Chapman and Hall. The date given is when the work was originally published.


This is a chronological list of books, pamphlets and broadsides uncollected in the Miscellanies through 1880 as well as posthumous first editions up to and including 1987. It is compiled from Thomas Carlyle: A Descriptive Bibliography, edited by Rodger L. Tarr, published 1989 in Pittsburgh by University of Pittsburgh Press.[223]

  • Elements of Geometry and Trigonometry (1822)
  • Ireland and Sir Robert Peel (1849)
  • Legislation for Ireland (1849)
  • Ireland and the British Chief Governor (1849)
  • Squire Papers (1849)
  • Inaugural Address (1866)
  • Montagu-Procter Correspondence (1881)
  • Reminiscences (1881)
  • Reminiscences of My Irish Journey in 1849 (1882)
  • Last Words on Trades-Unions (1882)
  • Correspondence of Carlyle and Emerson (1883)
  • Carlyliana (1883)
  • Early Letters (1886)
  • Counsels to a Literary Aspirant (1886)
  • Correspondence Between Goethe and Carlyle (1887)
  • Letters (1888)
  • Repeal of the Union (1889)
  • Rescued Essays (1892)
  • Last Words (1892)
  • Lectures on the History of Literature (1892)
  • Goethe's Faust (1896)
  • Montaigne and Other Essays Chiefly Biographical (1892)
  • Historical Sketches (1898)
  • Two Note Books (1898)
  • Letters to His Youngest Sister (1898)
  • Collecteana (1903)
  • Letters to Gustave D'Eichthal (1903)
  • New Letters (1904)
  • Lettres à Sa Mère (1907)
  • Love Letters (1909)
  • Letter to a Young Man (1915)
  • Letters to Mill, Sterling, and Browning (1923)
  • New Letters to Eckermann (1926)
  • Journey to Germany, Autumn 1858 (1940)
  • Letters to William Graham (1950)
  • History of German Literature (1951)
  • Letters to His Wife (1953)
  • Of the Things Which Man Can Do or Make (1958)
  • Letters to His Brother Alexander (1968)
  • Collected Letters (1970–2021 ongoing)
  • Two Reminiscences (1974)
  • Wooden-Headed Publishers and Locust-Swarms of Authors (1979)
  • Thomas and Jane: Selected Letters (1980)
  • Ruskin Correspondence (1982)
  • Collected Poems (1986)


  • Campbell, Ian (1974). Thomas Carlyle (2nd Revised ed.). Glasgow, Scotland: Kennedy & Boyd (published 24 June 2011). ISBN 978-1849210898.
  • Conway, Moncure D. (1881). Thomas Carlyle. London: Chatto & Windus.
  • Fischer, Thomas A. (1882). Thomas Carlyle (in German).
  • Froude, James Anthony (1882). Thomas Carlyle: A History of the First Forty Years of his Life, 1795–1835. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Froude, James Anthony (1884). Thomas Carlyle: A History of his Life in London, 1834–1881. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Garnett, Richard (1887). Life of Thomas Carlyle.
  • Heffer, Simon (1996). Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. ISBN 978-0297815648.
  • Kaplan, Fred (1983). Thomas Carlyle: A Biography. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Neff, Emery (1932). Carlyle. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Shepherd, Richard Herne (1881). Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Carlyle.
  • Sloan, J. M. (1904). Hollern, Mary (ed.). The Carlyle Country (2nd ed.). Sheffield, England: The Grimsay Press (published 20 May 2010). ISBN 1845300696.
  • Symons, Julian (1952). Thomas Carlyle: The Life and Ideas of a Prophet. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Wilson, David Alec (1923). Carlyle Till Marriage (1795–1826). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
  • Wilson, David Alec (1924). Carlyle to "The French Revolution" (1826–1837). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
  • Wilson, David Alec (1925). Carlyle on Cromwell and Others (1837–48). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
  • Wilson, David Alec (1927). Carlyle at His Zenith (1848–53). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
  • Wilson, David Alec (1929). Carlyle to Threescore-and-Ten (1853–1865). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
  • Wilson, David Alec; MacArthur, David Wilson (1934). Carlyle in Old Age (1865–1881). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.
  • Wylie, William Howie (1881). Thomas Carlyle, the Man and His Books. London.

Further readingEdit


  1. ^ For the letter, written by John Morley and David Masson, and list of signatories, see New Letters of Thomas Carlyle, edited by Alexander Carlyle, vol. II, pp. 323–324.


  1. ^ Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1881). "The Literary Work of Thomas Carlyle". Scribner's Monthly. No. 22. p. 92. hdl:2027/uc1.32106009632289. Mr. Carlyle . . . has yet for many years been accepted by competent critics of all shades of opinion as the undoubted head of English letters.
  2. ^ Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1887). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 9. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 124. Carlyle during these years had become the acknowledged head of English literature.
  3. ^ Campbell, Ian (10 April 2012). "Retroview: Our Hero?". The American Interest. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  4. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1843). Past and Present. The Works of Thomas Carlyle in Thirty Volumes. Vol. 10. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (published 1903). p. 270.
  5. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1841). On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History. The Works of Thomas Carlyle in Thirty Volumes. Vol. 5. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (published 1903). p. 1.
  6. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1904). Critical and Miscellaneous Essays: Volume IV. The Works of Thomas Carlyle in Thirty Volumes. Vol. 29. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 354.
  7. ^ Barzun, Jacques (1943). Classic, Romantic and Modern (Second and revised ed.). Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company (published 1961). pp. 5, 69, 88, 127, 172–73, 175, 177, 182, 209, 212, 215, 219. LCCN 61014543.
  8. ^ Murray, Robert H. (1929). Studies in the English Social and Political Thinkers of the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd.
  9. ^ Gravett, Sharon L. (1995). "Carlyle's Demanding Companion: Henry David Thoreau". Carlyle Studies Annual. 15: 21–31. JSTOR < 44946086<.
  10. ^ Chandler, Alice (1998), "Carlyle and the Medievalism of the North". In: Richard Utz and Tom Shippey (eds), Medievalism in the Modern World. Essays in Honour of Leslie J. Workman, Turnhout: Brepols, pp. 173–191.
  11. ^ Mendilow, Jonathan. "Carlyle, Marx & the ILP: Alternative Routes to Socialism." Polity, vol. 17, no. 2, Palgrave Macmillan Journals, 1984, pp. 225–47,
  12. ^ Huggins, M. (2013). A Strange Case of Hero-Worship: John Mitchel and Thomas Carlyle. Studi Irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies, 2(2), 329-352.
  13. ^ Fitzhugh, George (1968). Woodward, C. Vann (ed.). Cannibals All! or, Slaves without Masters. The John Harvard Library. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 10–12, 66–67, 71, 94, 102, 106, 196, 213, 254, 261.
  14. ^ a b Dodd, William E. (1919). "The Social Philosophy of the Cotton-Planter". The Cotton Kingdom: A Chronicle of the Old South. The Chronicles of America Series. Vol. 27. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 63.
  15. ^ Agnew, Lois (1998). "Heroic Intensity: Thomas Carlyle's Rhetorical Foundation for Victorian Aestheticism". Carlyle Studies Annual. 18 (18): 167–73. JSTOR 44945773.
  16. ^ Blakesley, Rosalind P. (2009). The Arts and Crafts Movement. Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-0714849676.
  17. ^ Mackail, J. W. (2011). The Life of William Morris. New York: Dover Publications. p. 38. ISBN 978-0486287935. Carlyle's Past and Present stood alongside of Modern Painters as inspired and absolute truth.
  18. ^ "Among these humble, stern, earnest religionists of the Burgher phase of Dissent Thomas Carlyle was born." – Sloan, John MacGavin (1904). The Carlyle Country, with a Study of Carlyle's Life. London: Chapman & Hall, p. 40.
  19. ^ Skabarnicki, Anne M. (2004). "Carlyle, James". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  20. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1997). Fielding, Kenneth J.; Campbell, Ian (eds.). Reminiscences. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 7–8.
  21. ^ Skabarnicki, Anne M. (2004). "Carlyle, Margaret Aitken". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 76–77. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  22. ^ Ingram, I. M. Margaret Carlyle: Her Illness of 1817 and its Consequences. Carlyle Society Papers: Edinburgh, 2004.
  23. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1997). Fielding, Kenneth J.; Campbell, Ian (eds.). Reminiscences. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 31.
  24. ^ Cody, David (1988). "Carlyle: Sources and Influence". Victorian Web. Retrieved 12 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ a b c "Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881)", Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, vol. 09, retrieved 6 April 2022
  26. ^ Campbell, Ian (2004). "Carlyle, Thomas". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  27. ^ Allingham, William (1907). William Allingham's Diary 1847–1889 (Paperback ed.). London: Centaur Press (published 2000). p. 232. ISBN 0-900001-44-5.
  28. ^ a b Campbell, Ian (2004). "Carlyle, Thomas". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  29. ^ Clubbe, John (1976). "Carlyle on Sartor Resartus". In Fielding, Kenneth J.; Tarr, Rodger L. (eds.). Carlyle Past and Present. London: Vision Press. pp. 56–57.
  30. ^ a b Campbell, Ian (2004). "Carlyle, Thomas". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  31. ^ Nichol, John (1892). Thomas Carlyle. London: Macmillan & Co., p. 49.
  32. ^ "Thomas Carlyle and Dumfries & Galloway". D&G online. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  33. ^ D. Daiches (ed.), Companion to Literature 1 (London, 1965), p. 89.
  34. ^ a b Campbell, Ian (2003). "Carlyle, Thomas". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  35. ^ Quoted in M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp (Oxford, 1971), p. 217.
  36. ^ Tarr, Rodger L. (2004). "Sartor Resartus: Composition and Publication". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 414. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  37. ^ Dyer, Isaac Watson (1928). A Bibliography of Thomas Carlyle's Writings and Ana (Reprint ed.). New York: Octagon Books, Inc. (published 1968). p. 546. LCCN 68-15299. OL 5607897M.
  38. ^ Tarr, Rodger L., ed. (1989). Thomas Carlyle: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0822936070. OL 2207769M. p. 39.
  39. ^ Hook, Andrew (2004). "United States of America". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 474. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  40. ^ Tarr, Rodger L., ed. (1989). Thomas Carlyle: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0822936070. OL 2207769M. p. 55.
  41. ^ Shepherd, Richard Herne. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Carlyle. 2 vols. London: W. H. Allen, 1881. 1:170.
  42. ^ Shepherd, Richard Herne. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Carlyle. 2 vols. London: W. H. Allen, 1881. 1:179.
  43. ^ Shepherd, Richard Herne. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Thomas Carlyle. 2 vols. London: W. H. Allen, 1881. 1:206.
  44. ^ Grindea, Miron, ed. (1978). The London Library. Ipswich: Boydell Press/Adam Books. pp. 9–13. ISBN 0-85115-098-5.
  45. ^ Wells, John (1991). Rude Words: a discursive history of the London Library. London: Macmillan. pp. 12–56. ISBN 978-0333475195.
  46. ^ Wells (1991), pp. 26–31.
  47. ^ Campbell, Ian (2004). "Carlyle, Thomas". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  48. ^ a b Stephen 1911, p. 352.
  49. ^ Seigel, Jules. “Carlyle and Peel: The Prophet’s Search for a Heroic Politician and an Unpublished Fragment.” Victorian Studies, vol. 26, no. 2, 1983, pp. 181–95, Accessed 13 Apr. 2022.
  50. ^ Carlyle, Thomas. "Ireland and Sir Robert Peel." Spectator 22 (14 April 1849): 343–34.
  51. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1849). "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question". Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country. Vol. 40.
  52. ^ Quoted in E. Halevy, Victorian Years (London, 1961), p. 257.
  53. ^ Sanders, Charles Richard; Fielding, Kenneth J., eds. (1976). January 1829–September 1831. The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. 5. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. p. 102. doi:10.1215/lt-18300521-TC-GRG-01. ISBN 0-8223-0369-8.
  54. ^ "Carlyle, Thomas", The Encyclopedia Americana, retrieved 7 April 2022
  55. ^ Symons, Julian (2001). "The Imperfect Triumph". Thomas Carlyle: The Life & Ideas of a Prophet. House of Stratus. p. 1. ISBN 978-1842329368.
  56. ^ Hall, Catherine (2002). Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in the English Imagination, 1830–1867. University of Chicago Press, p. 25.
  57. ^ D. Daiches ed., Companion to Literature 1 (London, 1965), p. 90.
  58. ^ Trella, D. J. (1992). "Carlyle's 'Shooting Niagara': The Writing and Revising of an Article and Pamphlet", Victorian Periodicals Review 25 (1), pp. 30–34.
  59. ^ Weintraub, Stanley (1987). Victoria: An Intimate Biography. New York: Dutton. p. 352. ISBN 978-0525244691.
  60. ^ Allingham, William (1907). William Allingham's Diary 1847–1889 (Paperback ed.). London: Centaur Press (published 2000). p. 202. ISBN 0 900001 44 5.
  61. ^ I. Ousby (ed.), The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (Cambridge, 1995), p. 154.
  62. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter C" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  63. ^ Wilson, David Alec; MacArthur, David Wilson (1934). Carlyle in Old Age (1865–1881). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd. p. 470–1.
  64. ^ Froude, James Anthony (1884). Thomas Carlyle: A History of his Life in London, 1834–1881. Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 501.
  65. ^ Wilson, David Alec; MacArthur, David Wilson (1934). Carlyle in Old Age (1865–1881). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd. p. 281.
  66. ^ Froude, James (1903). My Relations with Carlyle. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 70.
  67. ^ Wilson, David Alec; MacArthur, David Wilson (1934). Carlyle in Old Age (1865–1881). London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd. p. 471.
  68. ^ Campbell, Ian (2004). "Carlyle, Thomas". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  69. ^ Sanders, Charles Richard; Fielding, Kenneth J., eds. (1976). January 1835–June 1836. The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. 8. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press.
  70. ^ Tennyson, G. B. (1965). Sartor Called Resartus: The Genesis, Structure, and Style of Thomas Carlyle's First Major Work. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. LCCN 65017162. p. 241.
  71. ^ a b Cumming, Mark, ed. (2004). "Style". The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 454. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  72. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1904). Critical and Miscellaneous Essays: Volume I. The Works of Thomas Carlyle in Thirty Volumes. Vol. 26. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 244.
  73. ^ I. Ousby (ed.), The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (Cambridge, 1995), p. 350.
  74. ^ Carlyle, Thomas (1845). Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches: Volume I. The Works of Thomas Carlyle in Thirty Volumes. Vol. 6. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (published 1903). p. 2.
  75. ^ Trela, D. J. A History of Carlyle's Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992. p. 131.
  76. ^ Trela, D. J. A History of Carlyle's Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992. p. 133.
  77. ^ a b Cumming, Mark, ed. (2004). "Style". The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 455. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  78. ^ Bloom, Abigail Burnham (2004). "Humor". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 228–229. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  79. ^ apRoberts, Ruth (2004). "Bible". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 28. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  80. ^ apRoberts, Ruth (2004). "Bible". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  81. ^ Sigman, Joseph. "Adam-Kadmonm Nifl, Muspel, and the Biblical Symbolism of Sartor Resartus." ELH 41 (1974): 253–56.
  82. ^ Cumming, Mark, ed. (2004). "Homer". The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 225. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  83. ^ Clubbe, John. "Carlyle as Epic Historian." In Victorian Literature and Society: Essays Presented to Richard D. Altick, ed. James R. Kincaid and Albert J. Kuhn, 119–45. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1984.
  84. ^ Cumming, Mark, ed. (2004). "Milton, John". The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 329–330. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  85. ^ Smith, Kathryn Stubbs (2004). "Shakespeare, William". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 425. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  86. ^ Works. 11.110.
  87. ^ Seigel, J.P. Thomas Carlyle: The Critical Heritage. 1971. Taylor and Francis eLibrary, 2002.
  88. ^ Thoreau, Henry David. "Thomas Carlyle and His Works". Graham's Magazine, Vol. 30, No. 3⁠–⁠4, March⁠–⁠April, 1847.
  89. ^ Wilde, Oscar (8 December 1888). "English Poetesses". In Lucas, E. V. (ed.). A Critic in Pall Mall. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. (published 1919). p. 97.
  90. ^ Hartman, Geoffrey H. (1980). Criticism in the Wilderness: The Study of Literature Today. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0300020856.
  91. ^ Harrison, Frederic (1895). "Characteristics of Victorian Literature". Studies in Early Victorian Literature. London and New York: Edward Arnold.
  92. ^ Fielding, Kenneth J. (1976). "Froude and Carlyle: Some New Considerations". In Fielding, Kenneth J.; Tarr, Rodger L. (eds.). Carlyle Past and Present. London: Vision Press. pp. 239–66.
  93. ^ Froude, James Anthony (1884). Thomas Carlyle: A History of his Life in London, 1834–1881. Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 348.
  94. ^ Froude, James (1903). My Relations with Carlyle. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. On pages 21–24, Froude insinuates that Carlyle was impotent (p. 21): "She [Mrs. Carlyle] had longed for children, and children were denied to her. This had been at the bottom of all the quarrels and all the unhappiness"; (p. 22): "Intellectual and spiritual affection being all which he had to give [his wife]"; (p. 23): "Carlyle did not know when he married what his constitution was. The morning after his wedding-day he tore to pieces the flower-garden at the Comeley Bank in a fit of ungovernable fury."
  95. ^ Crichton-Browne, James. “Froude And Carlyle. The Imputation Considered Medically.” The British Medical Journal, vol. 1, no. 2217, 1903, pp. 1498–502, Accessed 9 Apr. 2022.
  96. ^ a b Wilson, David Alec. The Truth About Carlyle. With preface by James Crichton-Browne. London: Alston Rivers, 1913. p. 54.
  97. ^ Broughton, Trev Lynn (2004). "Froude, James Anthony". In Cumming, Mark (ed.). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. pp. 182–184. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  98. ^ Cumming, Mark, ed. (2004). "Harris, Frank". The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Madison and Teaneck, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-1611471724.
  99. ^ Wilson, David Alec. The Truth About Carlyle. With preface by James Crichton-Browne. London: Alston Rivers, 1913. p. 69.
  100. ^ Harris, Frank. My Life and Loves. Ed. John F. Gallagher. London: W. H. Allen, 1964. pp. 208–11.
  101. ^ Pieterse, Jan P. Nederveen (1989). Empire and Emancipation: Power and Liberation on a World Scale. Praeger. ISBN 978-0275925291.
  102. ^ Frankel, Robert (2007). Observing America: The Commentary of British Visitors to the United States, 1890–1950 (Studies in American Thought and Culture). University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 54. ISBN 978-0299218805. Thomas Carlyle was perhaps the first notable Englishman to enunciate a belief in Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, and, as he told Emerson, among the members of this select race he counted the Americans.
  103. ^ Dent, Megan; Kerry, Paul; Pionke, Albert D. (2018). Thomas Carlyle and the Idea of Influence. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 130. ISBN 978-1683930655.
  104. ^ Modarelli, Michael (2018). "Epilogue". The Transatlantic Genealogy of American Anglo-Saxonism. Routledge. ISBN 978-1138352605.
  105. ^ Kaplan, Fred (1993). Thomas Carlyle: A Biography. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520082007. Carlyle's active anti-Semitism was based primarily upon his identification of Jews with materialism and with an anachronistic religious structure. He was repelled by those "old clothes" merchants . . . by "East End" orthodoxy, and by "West End" Jewish wealth, merchants clothed in new money who seemed to epitomise the intense material corruption of Western society.
  106. ^ Cumming, Mark (2004). The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-1611471724. a Jew is bad but what is a Sham-Jew, a Quack-Jew? And how can a real Jew . . . try to be Senator, or even Citizen of any Country, except his own wretched Palestine, whither all his thoughts and steps and efforts tend,-where, in the Devil's name, let him arrive as soon as possible, and make us quit of him!
  107. ^ Eisner, Will (2013). Fagin The Jew 10th Anniversary Edition. Dark Horse Comics. p. 123.
  108. ^ Robinson, Henry Crabb. Henry Crabb Robinson on Books and their Writers. 3 vols. Ed. Edith J. Morley. London: Dent, 1938. 2:541.
  109. ^ a b Duffy, C. Gavan (1892). Conversations with Carlyle. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 117.
  110. ^ Carlyle's Latter-Day Pamphlets. Ed. Michael K. Goldberg and Jules P. Seigel. Ottawa: Canadian Federation for the Humanities, 1983. p. 451.
  111. ^ Martineau, Harriet (1849). A History of the Thirty Years' Peace. London: George Bell and Sons (published 1878). pp. 437–8.
  112. ^ George Eliot, "Thomas Carlyle", George Eliot Archive, accessed March 12, 2022,
  113. ^ Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1881). "The Literary Work of Thomas Carlyle". Scribner's Monthly. No. 22. p. 93.
  114. ^ a b Whitman, Walt (1882). "Carlyle from American Points of View". Specimen Days.
  115. ^ Saintsbury, George (1895). "VI. Carlyle (concluded).". Corrected Impressions: Essays on Victorian Writers. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 53.
  116. ^ Chesson, Wilfred Hugh (December 1911). "A Reminiscence of 1898". The Bookman. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company (published 1912). XXXIV: 389–94. hdl:2027/njp.32101077277075 – via HathiTrust.
  117. ^ Ruskin, John (1905). Cook, E. T.; Wedderburn, Alexander (eds.). Sesame and Lilies, The Ethics of Dust and The Crown of Wild Olive with letters on Public Affairs (1859-1866). The Works of John Ruskin. Vol. XVIII. London: George Allen, 156, Charing Cross Road. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 529.
  118. ^ Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1881). "XVIII. Carlyle". The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Vol. X. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company (published 1904). Note 5.
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