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Dearest Papa

Richard Altick

1 September 1983
The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle​ and John Ruskin 
edited by George Allan Cate.
Stanford, 251 pp., $28.50, August 1982, 0 8047 1114 3
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Ruskin Today 
by Kenneth Clark.
Penguin, 363 pp., £2.95, October 1982, 0 14 006326 9
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John Ruskin: Letters from the Continent 1858 
edited by John Hayman.
Toronto, 207 pp., £19.50, December 1982, 0 8020 5583 4
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... Toward the end of their correspondence, which spanned years 1851-79, John Ruskin, who hitherto had addressed ThomasCarlyle more or less in terms of deferential formality (‘Dear Mr Carlyle’), suddenly shifted to ‘Dearest Papa’, signing himself ‘Ever your loving disciple-son’. Whatever the immediate reasons for the change, it simply made explicit Ruskin’s steady conception ...
21 February 2008
... Today,’ wrote ThomasCarlyle As the brown and barge-laden Thames rolled past Cheyne Walk, ‘I am full of dyspepsia, but also Of hope.’ On the Today Show today a dyspeptic interviewer set brusquely about A hopeful minister ...

Fuming

Richard Altick

19 July 1984
Thomas CarlyleA Biography 
by Fred Kaplan.
Cambridge, 614 pp., £25, January 1984, 0 521 25854 5
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Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages 
by Phyllis Rose.
Chatto, 318 pp., £11.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2825 9
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A Carlyle​ Reader 
edited by G.B. Tennyson.
Cambridge, 544 pp., £25, May 1984, 0 521 26238 0
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... Most conscientious biographers are aware of their subjects’ shades vigilantly or solicitously hovering over their shoulders as they write. The biographer of ThomasCarlyle is supervised more severely than most: the irritable, brooding Scotsman, the would-be redeemer, and, failing that, the scourge of Victorian England, seems to breathe flame down his neck. To write ...

Goethe In Britain

Rosemary Ashton

19 March 1981
Goethe’s Plays 
translated by Charles Passage.
Benn, 626 pp., £12.95, July 1980, 0 510 00087 8
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The Classical Centre: Goethe and Weimar 1775-1832 
by T.J. Reed.
Croom Helm, 271 pp., £14.95, November 1979, 0 85664 356 4
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Goethe on Art 
translated by John Gage.
Scolar, 251 pp., £10, March 1980, 0 85967 494 0
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The Younger Goethe and the Visual Arts 
by W.D. Robson-Scott.
Cambridge, 175 pp., £19.50, February 1981, 0 521 23321 6
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... In 1827, ThomasCarlyle, already the translator of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, was invited by Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review, to ‘Germanise the public’. Jeffrey issued the invitation ...

Black Electricities

John Sutherland

30 October 1997
The Collected Letters of Thomas​ and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. XXV: January-December 1850 
edited by Clyde de L. Ryals and K.J. Fielding.
Duke, 364 pp., £52, September 1997, 0 8223 1986 1
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Reminiscences 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell.
Oxford, 481 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 0 19 281748 5
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... I told the Führer that I had recently been reading Carlyle’s book on Frederick the Great,’ Goebbels records in his diary of 27 February 1945: He knows the book very well himself. I repeated certain passages from the book to him and they affected him ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle

2 November 2000
Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... The contradictory quality of Carlyle’s achievement as intuitive sage, seminal interpreter of German Romanticism, sworn enemy of mechanical and reductive views of life, outrageous ranter and charismatic humbug is already present in the ...
20 February 1997
Europe: A History 
by Norman Davies.
Oxford, 1365 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 19 820171 0
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... imaginative side of the historical profession has undoubtedly been downgraded. The value of unreadable academic papers and of undigested research data is exaggerated. Imaginative historians such as ThomasCarlyle have not simply been censured for an excess of poetic licence. They have been forgotten. Yet Carlyle’s convictions on the relationship of history and poetry are at least worthy of ...

Doing the bores

Rosemary Ashton

21 March 1991
The Collected Letters of Thomas​ and Jane Welsh Carlyle, Duke–Edinburgh Edition. Vols XVI-XVIII: 1843-4 
edited by Clyde Ryals and Kenneth Fielding.
Duke, 331 pp., £35.65, July 1990, 9780822309192
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... There will be many more years –and many more volumes – before the Carlyles’ Collected Letters are brought to completion. Twenty-two more years of Jane Carlyle’s long, witty, sharp, self-dramatising yet oddly attractive litanies about the obstinacy of servants, her husband’s indifference to her, and the annoyances of her lot as a ‘Lion’s wife ...

Erratic Star

Michael Foot

11 May 1995
Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas​ Carlyle 
by Simon Heffer.
Orion, 420 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 297 81564 4
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... They thought they could finish off poor John Stuart Mill, but they never succeeded, except in their own estimation. Now, however, we are faced with what may be an even more forlorn effort, to fold ThomasCarlyle to their collective bosom. It so happens that Carlyle had a famous quarrel with Mill, in which most observers would have favoured Mill. Something deep in Mill’s outlook offended Toryism ...

Carlyle’s Mail Fraud

Rosalind Mitchison

6 August 1981
The Collected Letters of Thomas​ and Jane Welsh CarlyleVol. VIII 1835-1836, Vol. IX 1836-1837 
edited by Charles Sanders and Kenneth Fielding.
Duke, 365 pp., £32.95, May 1981, 0 8223 0433 3
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... These volumes are issued as a pair, with a single index, and rightly, because they hold together for a coherent segment of Carlyle’s life. The dominant theme of the two is the writing of The French Revolution: in Volume VIII Carlyle is struggling with the first two volumes, in IX he produces the third, spends four months ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement

29 November 2001
The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... ThomasCarlyle was quite fond of the Chartists – until they opened their mouths. In an essay on Chartism published in 1839, the Sage of Chelsea harangued the political establishment and spoke up for the stoic ...

A Calamitous Man

Patrick Collinson: Incombustible Luther

29 July 1999
Martin Luther: The Christian Between God and Death 
by Richard Marius.
Harvard, 542 pp., £19.95, March 1999, 0 674 55090 0
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... up the entire town, and soon other towns far beyond. Within weeks you, the inadvertent bell-ringer, are both famous and infamous, and famous not for a few minutes but for ever. Three centuries later, ThomasCarlyle will write that but for you there would have been no French Revolution, no America. This is what happened not in a dream but metaphorically to Martin Luther, a hitherto obscure monk and ...

Gold out of Straw

Peter Mandler: Samuel Smiles

19 February 2004
Self-Help: With Illustrations of Character, Conduct and Perseverance 
by Samuel Smiles, edited by Peter Sinnema.
Oxford, 387 pp., £7.99, October 2002, 0 19 280176 7
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... judging others by our lights and, worse, being judged by the mysterious lights of others. But the view of the self offered by literature was still fairly oblique. It was that moral desperado ThomasCarlyle who first put the question squarely, in Sartor Resartus: ‘Who am I; the thing that can say "I” . . . Whence? How? Whereto?’ Taken up by countless young clerks and artisans, Carlyle nevertheless ...

Sod off, readers

John Sutherland

26 September 1991
Rude Words: A Discursive History of the London Library 
by John Wells.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1991, 0 333 47519 4
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Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English 
by Geoffrey Hughes.
Blackwell, 283 pp., £16.95, August 1991, 0 631 16593 2
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... Founded by private subscription in 1841, the London Library was the brainchild of ThomasCarlyle, a serious man. For its 150th anniversary, the present guardians of the London Library have chosen an eminent comedian, John Wells, to write their celebratory history. The sage of Chelsea would not ...
19 May 1988
War and the Image of Germany: British Academics 1914-1918 
by Stuart Wallace.
John Donald, 288 pp., £20, March 1988, 0 85976 133 9
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... In the 1840s a ThomasCarlyle could mimic the German pedantic style and laugh at Herr Teufelsdröckh of Wahngasse of Weissnichtwo (a scatalogical invention worthy of Jonathan Swift), but opposites are known to attract. As the ...

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