Scottish Essayist Thomas Carlyle

Scottish Essayist Thomas Carlyle-47
The Carlyle Society celebrates the work and life of Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist and historian, born in Ecclefechan, and Jane Welsh Carlyle (1801-1866) letter writer, born in Haddington.

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He undertook the work when his friend, John Stuart Mill, found he was too committed on other projects to deliver on a contract he had signed with publishers and write it himself.

Having completed the manuscript, Carlyle sent the only copy to Mill to read: whose maid then promptly burned it as kindling, apparently by mistake.

In 1874 he received the Prussian Order of Merit, but he declined an offer of a Baronetcy in Britain.

He also declined the offer of a final resting place in Westminster Abbey, and after his death in 1881, was buried beside his parents in Ecclefechan.

The house in which he was born is preserved as a museum by the National Trust for Scotland.

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His father was a stonemason and farmer, and the household in which Carlyle grew up was strictly Calvinistic.His work was extremely attracting to most Victorians who were clashing with changes in science and politics, which actually endangered the traditional social order.Controversies circled around him when he called economics as “The Dismal Science” and wrote several articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia.Carlyle had to rewrite the entire book from scratch, and the resulting second version was written in a passionate, flowing style that had never before been seen in historical writing.Other historical works included published in 1845, and his last major book, a biography of Frederick the Great, published in 1865.He became a full time writer in 1824 and went on to produce masterly translations of a number of the giants of German literature including Hoffman, Tieck and Goethe.In 1826 Thomas Carlyle married Jane Welsh, a highly intelligent lady from Haddington with an unrealised potential to pursue a literary career herself.We are grateful to Andy Laycock who for many years has turned our files into a publishable form, and who has here gathered the files which survive in his database for people to consult.covered 20 pages) and his collected works, published in 1974, ran to 30 volumes: yet he is also a man who by modern standards is very difficult to categorise.Meanwhile he had become deeply immersed in German literature.His was first published by the London Magazine in 18, and he contributed to a wide variety of journals and magazines.


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