Thomas Carlyle!

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so in love with his French Revolution. oh, i just dip a toe in here and there, but such a rich feast for my toe!

"But of those decadent ages in which no Ideal either grows or blossoms?
When Belief and Loyalty have passed away, and only the cant and false
echo of them remains; and all Solemnity has become Pageantry; and
the Creed of persons in authority has become one of two things: an
Imbecility or a Macchiavelism? Alas, of these ages World-History can
take no notice; they have to become compressed more and more,
and finally suppressed in the Annals of Mankind; blotted out as
spurious,--which indeed they are. Hapless ages: wherein, if ever in any,
it is an unhappiness to be born. To be born, and to learn only, by every
tradition and example, that God's Universe is Belial's and a Lie; and
'the Supreme Quack' the hierarch of men! In which mournfulest faith,
nevertheless, do we not see whole generations (two, and sometimes even
three successively) live, what they call living; and vanish,--without
chance of reappearance?"

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:13 (four years ago) link

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:13 (four years ago) link

"Remark, meanwhile, how from amid the wrecks and dust of this universal
Decay new Powers are fashioning themselves, adapted to the new time and
its destinies. Besides the old Noblesse, originally of Fighters, there
is a new recognised Noblesse of Lawyers; whose gala-day and proud
battle-day even now is. An unrecognised Noblesse of Commerce; powerful
enough, with money in its pocket. Lastly, powerfulest of all, least
recognised of all, a Noblesse of Literature; without steel on their
thigh, without gold in their purse, but with the 'grand thaumaturgic
faculty of Thought' in their head. French Philosophism has arisen; in
which little word how much do we include! Here, indeed, lies properly
the cardinal symptom of the whole wide-spread malady. Faith is gone out;
Scepticism is come in. Evil abounds and accumulates: no man has Faith to
withstand it, to amend it, to begin by amending himself; it must even
go on accumulating. While hollow langour and vacuity is the lot of the
Upper, and want and stagnation of the Lower, and universal misery
is very certain, what other thing is certain? That a Lie cannot be
believed! Philosophism knows only this: her other belief is mainly that,
in spiritual supersensual matters no Belief is possible. Unhappy! Nay,
as yet the Contradiction of a Lie is some kind of Belief; but the Lie
with its Contradiction once swept away, what will remain? The five
unsatiated Senses will remain, the sixth insatiable Sense (of vanity);
the whole daemonic nature of man will remain,--hurled forth to rage
blindly without rule or rein; savage itself, yet with all the tools and
weapons of civilisation; a spectacle new in History."

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:18 (four years ago) link

so dope!

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:18 (four years ago) link

it's impossible to pick my fave paragraph. so much goodness.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:19 (four years ago) link

sartor resartus is awesome! need to reread.

no lime tangier, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:23 (four years ago) link

Our library has a lovely version of his autobiography and I have to remind myself what a chore reading him in college was.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:24 (four years ago) link

he did go on so. but in small bites he's tops! a poet at heart.

scott seward, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 19:52 (four years ago) link

The Pride of Ecclefechan!

Aw naw, no' Annoni oan an' aw noo (Tom D.), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 20:44 (four years ago) link

So this guy Campbell is still amazed by Sartor Resartus and its creator, though also writes as a man of his own time (having taken readers through many other takes, at different stages of Caryle's very long life, and since):

From the perspective of the late-twentieth century Carlyle can be seen without the outrage that greeted his originality. His ideas are undoubtedly oversimplified, his tolerance levels for others' ideas far too low. His vivid style can be abused, particularly in indiscriminate attack. His stubborn iteration of one point can be dangerous when that point is a weak or indefensible one.

Against these weaknesses, Carlyle has survived the scrutiny of the years as an original critic of his time and as a skillful, though uneven, writer/stylist who understood the needs of a generation. After his death his reputation suffered a remarkable eclipse. Happily, he has been rehabilitated as an important representative Victorian, and, as the discovery of his work and above all his correspondence continues, so too does the rehabilitation of his reputation. We have passed beyond the need to venerate him as sage, of Chelsea or of Ecclefechan. Rather we see him as an emblem of the complexity, contradiction, and sometimes absurdity of the era. As the Victorian Age was untidy and contradictory, so were the original minds which responded to its needs and shaped their writing to its complex demands. In his contradictions Carlyle challenges us to a new formulation by which to judge his success, and he leaves behind an achievement sufficiently large and sufficiently diverse, as to ensure that the process of evaluation will be a long and critically challenging one.
— Ian Campbell, University of Edinburgh

from, appropriately enough, since TC does seem like his own kind of poet, in terms of manipulation of and sometimes by language, insight, intuition, other.

dow, Tuesday, 2 August 2016 23:09 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

'Thinkers and unthinkers, by the million, are spontaneously at their post, doing what is in them.' = new description of some board, surely.

Werther Down the Spiral (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 02:57 (one year ago) link

If you read Heroes and Hero Worship slowly and thoughtfully, rather than ardently, swept along by the prose, you'll discover where Carlyle's shortcomings lie. He communicates his enthusiasms and his disdains with such vigor and passion that it is easy to turn off your critical faculties, but he is a first cousin to Nietzsche and must not be taken without some grains of salt.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 9 October 2018 03:13 (one year ago) link

Carlyle, if not the greatest prose master of our age, by virtue of his original genius and mass of stroke, is the literary dictator of Victorian prose. And, though we all know how wantonly he often misused his mighty gift, though no one now would venture to imitate him even at a distance, and though Matthew Arnold was ever taking up his parable -- "Flee Carlylese as the very Devil!" -- we are all sliding into Carlylese unconsciously from time to time, and even "culture" itself fell into the trap in the very act of warning others.

-- Frederic Harrison (1893)

alimosina, Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:14 (one year ago) link

His prose style is a wild crash of waves that's pretty gnarly whenever I manage to shoot the curl, but one of him was probably enough for the world.

Extra Shprankles (Old Lunch), Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:42 (one year ago) link

as a stylist he's the English Melville.

You like queer? I like queer. Still like queer. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:48 (one year ago) link


Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:50 (one year ago) link


You like queer? I like queer. Still like queer. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:51 (one year ago) link


Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:52 (one year ago) link

You can take the boy out of Ecclefechan...

Zach Same (Tom D.), Thursday, 11 October 2018 16:53 (one year ago) link

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