Carlyle, Thomas. (1795 - 1881).
W o r k
- the most noisy and effective critic of early Victorian Britain
< influenced by German philosophy: wrote Life of Schiller (1824) and translated Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship
- preoccupied with history: fears both the process of repetition x fracture of patterns and precedents
- argues for energy, earnestness, and duty x against "sham"
F i c t i o n :
Sartor Resartus (1832):
- the title: "The Tailor Retailored"
- a reflexive discourse moulded around a learned study of the philosophy of clothes
- contrasts a German central character x an English editor
- works through the process of amalgamation and assimilation: intermixes German and English, plays with meanings and translations from one language to another
- contrasts the destructive "Everlasting No" x the constructive "Everlasting Yea"
- conclusion: demands a submission to the will of God and an active commitment to work
N o n - f i c t i o n :
The French Revolution (1837):
- a history writing
- an amalgam of multiple interpreting and witnessing voices with a dominant didactic narrator
- warns Victorian England against civil disruption
- an essay on the threat of class war posed by industrial workers
- defines "the Condition of England Question": the state of nation attempting to come to terms with its reforms aimed at deflecting revolution
On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History (1841):
- a series of lectures
- the "hero" = a challenger of convention and of sham and a reformer of the defunct
Past and Present (1843):
- juxtaposes the achievements of the past x the confusions of the present
- contrasts satiric wit x concluding visionary optimism
- even the world of machinery can be redeemed by human enterprise
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorThomas Carlyle. (1795 - 1881). British (Scottish).
WorkProse writer. Critic. Author of Past and Present (1843).
GenresVictorian period. Fiction and non-fiction. Satire. History.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"The English are a dumb people. They can do great acts, but not describe them."
From Past and Present (1843).