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Authors: Thomas Carlyle,Kerry McSweeney,Peter Sabor

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The present edition is, we believe, the first to reproduce the work as it appeared in
Fraser’s Magazine
and thus to present
Sartor Resartus
in its original state, before Carlyle and anonymous compositors began the process of retouching. Many errors in the German passages, which were corrected in later editions, have been silently corrected here, as have other obvious misprints; but in general the text follows closely that of
Fraser’s Magazine
. The original divisions into eight monthly instalments are indicated by a row of asterisks after each part. Notes at the foot of the page, indicated by daggers in the text, are Carlyle’s.

The manuscript of
Sartor Resartus
is not known to have survived. The fullest account of its publishing history, though now badly outdated, remains that by Isaac Dyer in his
Bibliography of Thomas Carlyle’s Writings
(1928). No textual study of
Sartor Resartus
has been published.



standard edition of Carlyle’s works is the thirty-volume Centenary Edition, ed. H. D. Traill (London, 1896–9). The Duke-Edinburgh edition of
The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle
, ed. C. R. Sanders
et al
. (Durham, North Carolina, 1970– ), will supersede earlier collections. See also
The Correspondence of Emerson and Carlyle
, ed. J. Slater (New York, 1964). The text of
Wotton Reinfred
, Carlyle’s unfinished novel, is included in
Last Words of Thomas Carlyle
(London, 1892; reprinted with an introduction by K.J. Fielding, 1971). Several editions of
Sartor Resartus
include extensive introductions and annotation; those by A. MacMechan (Boston, 1896) and C. F. Harrold (New York, 1937) are especially valuable. The complex text of
is included in G. B. Tennyson’s
A Carlyle Reader: Selections from the Writings of Thomas Carlyle
(New York, 1969: Cambridge, 1984).


J. A. Froude,
Thomas Carlyle: A History of the First Forty Years of his Life, 1795–1835
(London, 1882) and
Thomas Carlyle: A History of his Life in London, 1834–1881
(London, 1884); Froude’s four volumes have been abridged and edited by J. Clubbe (Columbus, Ohio, 1979).

W. Dilthey, ‘
Sartor Resartus:
Philosophical Conflict, Positive and Negative Eras, and Personal Resolution’ [1891],
, i. 3 (1972), 40–60.

L. Cazamian,
(Paris, 1913); trans. E. K. Brown (New York, 1932).

D. A. Wilson and D. W. MacArthur,
(6 vols., London, 1923–34).

E. Neff,
Carlyle and Mill
(New York, 1924).

R. Wellek, ‘Carlyle and German Romanticism’ [1929] in his
(Princeton, 1965).

E. Neff,
(New York, 1932, 1968).

C. F. Harrold,
Carlyle and German Thought: 1819–1834
(New Haven, 1934).

C. Moore, ‘Thomas Carlyle and Fiction: 1822–1834’,
Nineteenth-Century Studies
, ed. H. Davis
et al
. (Ithaca, New York, 1940).

J. L. Halliday,
Mr. Carlyle my Patient: A Psychosomatic Biography
(London, 1949).

B. Willey,
Nineteenth-Century Studies: Coleridge to Matthew Arnold
(London, 1949).

H. Shine,
Carlyle’s Early Reading to 1834
(Lexington, Kentucky, 1953).

D. DeLaura, ‘Arnold and Carlyle’,
, lxxix (1964), 104–29.

A. J. LaValley,
Carlyle and the Idea of the Modern: Studies in Carlyle’s Prophetic Literature and its Relation to Blake, Nietzsche, Marx, and Others
(New Haven, 1968).

H. L. Sussman,
Victorians and the Machine: The Literary Response to Technology
(Cambridge, Mass., 1968).

J. P. Siegel, ed.,
Carlyle: The Critical Heritage
(London, 1971).

P. Rosenberg,
The Seventh Hero: Thomas Carlyle and the Theory of Radical Activism
(Cambridge, Mass., 1974).

R. Ashton,
The German Idea: Four English Writers and the Reception of German Thought, 1800–1860
(Cambridge, 1980).

A. L. Le Quesne,
(Oxford, 1982).

F. Kaplan,
Thomas Carlyle: A Biography
(Ithaca, New York, 1983).

J. D. Rosenberg,
Carlyle and the Burden of History
(Cambridge, Mass., 1985).


C. Moore,
‘Sartor Resartus
and the Problem of Carlyle’s Conversion’,
, lxx (1955), 662–81.

G. Levine,
‘Sartor Resartus
and the Balance of Fiction’,
Victorian Studies
, viii (1964), 131–60; a revised version appears in Levine’s
The Boundaries of Fiction: Carlyle, Macaulay, Newman
(Princeton, 1968).

C. R. Sanders, ‘The Byron Closed in
Sartor Resartus’, Studies in Romanticism
, iii (1964), 77–108.

J. W. Smeed, ‘Thomas Carlyle and Jean Paul Richter’,
Comparative Literature
, xvi (1964), 226–53.

G. B. Tennyson,
Sartor Called Resartus: The Genesis, Structure and Style of Thomas Carlyle’s First Major Work
(Princeton, 1965).

G. H. Brookes,
The Rhetorical Form of Carlyle’s ‘Sartor Resartus’
(Berkeley, 1972).

P. Brantlinger, ‘“Romance”, “Biography”, and the Making of
Sartor Resartus’, Philological Quarterly
, lii (1973), 108–18.

J. Clubbe, ‘Carlyle on
Sartor Resartus’
, in
Carlyle Past and Present: A Collection of New Essays
, ed. K. J. Fielding and R. Tarr (London, 1978).

J. A. Dibble,
The Pythia’s Drunken Song: Thomas Carlyle’s ‘Sartor Resartus’ and the Style Problem in German Idealist Philosophy
(The Hague, 1978).

J. L. Haney, ‘“Shadow-Hunting”: Romantic Irony,
Sartor Resartus
, and Victorian Romanticism’,
Studies in Romanticism
, xvii (1978), 307–33.

A. K. Mellor, ‘Carlyle’s
Sartor Resartus:
A Self-Consuming Artifact’, in her
English Romantic Irony
(Cambridge, Mass., 1980).

P. A. Dale,
‘Sartor Resartus
and the Inverse Sublime: The Art of Humorous Deconstruction’, in
Allegory, Myth and Symbol
, ed. M. W. Bloomfield (Cambridge, Mass., 1981).

B. V. Quails,
The Secular Pilgrims of Victorian Fiction: The Novel as Book of Life
(Cambridge, 1982).

L. C. R. Baker, ‘The Open Secret of
Sartor Resartus:
Carlyle’s Method of Converting his Reader’,
Studies in Philology
, lxxxiii (1986), 218–35.

L. H. Peterson, ‘Carlyle’s
Sartor Resartus:
The Necessity of Reconstruction’, in her
Victorian Autobiography: The Tradition of Self-Interpretation
(New Haven, 1986).

S. Helming, ‘“The Thaumaturgic Art of Thought”: Carlyle’s
Sartor Resartus’
, in his
The Esoteric Comedies of Carlyle, Newman, and Yeats
(Cambridge, 1988).

J. H. Miller, ‘“Hieroglyphical Truth” in
Sartor Resartus:
Carlyle and the Language of Parable’, in
Victorian Perspectives: Six Essays
, ed. John Clubb and Jerome Meckier (Newark, Delaware, 1989).

D. Riede, ‘Transgression, Authority, and the Church of Literature in Carlyle’, in
Victorian Connections
, ed. Jerome J. McGann (Charlottesville, 1989).

D. F. Felluga, ‘The Critic’s New Clothes:
Sartor Resartus
as “Cold Carnival”’,
, xxxvii (1995), 583–99.

W. Iser, ‘The Emergence of a Cross-Cultural Discourse: Thomas Carlyle’s
Sartor Resartus’
, in
The Translatability of Cultures: Figurations of the Space Between
, ed. Sanford Budick and Wolfgang Iser (Stanford, 1996).

J. Treadwell,
‘Sartor Resartus
and the Work of Writing’,
Essays in Criticism
, xlviii (1998), 224–43.


I. W. Dyer,
A Bibliography of Thomas Carlyle’s Writings and Ana
(Portland, Maine, 1928).

G. B. Tennyson, ‘Thomas Carlyle’, in
Victorian Prose: A Guide to Research
, ed. D.J. DeLaura (New York, 1973), 33–104.

R. L. Tarr,
Thomas Carlyle: A Bibliography of English Language Criticism 1824–1974
(Charlottesville, 1976).



Born 4 December in Ecclefechan, a small market village in Dumfriesshire in south-western Scotland; the first of nine children of James Carlyle, a stonemason, and Margaret Aitken, the daughter of a farmer and like her husband a strict Calvinist in religion.


Sent to Annan Academy, 6 miles from Ecclefechan, to continue his schooling.


Walks to Edinburgh in November to begin his University studies.


Returns for a fifth session at the University of Edinburgh, enrolling in the Divinity Hall of the National Church.


Preaches a sermon in March; in May leaves to teach mathematics at Annan Academy. Makes his first appearance in print with letter on mathematics in the
Dumfries and Galloway Courier


Begins teaching at a school in Kirkcaldy, a town on the north shore of the Firth of Forth. Friendship deepens with Edward Irving, who becomes his closest friend.


Breaks off his connection with Divinity Hall and renounces his intention of entering the ministry.


Reads Gibbon’s
Decline and Fall
, which weakens his faith in Christianity. Meets Margaret Gordon of Kirkcaldy, with whom he falls in love.


Begins to study German. Moves to Edinburgh, enrols in Scots Law classes, but soon loses interest. Earns money by translating and tutoring.


Romance with Margaret Gordon ends. Writes biographies and articles for Brewster’s
Edinburgh Encyclopaedia


Meets Jane Baillie Welsh, six years his junior, at her family’s home in Haddington, East Lothian; publishes his first original article.


His first article on German literature published, in the
New Edinburgh Review;
completes translation of Legendre’s
Elements of Geometry;
writes his first attempt at fiction, ‘Cruthers and Johnson’. After a three-year period of intense inner turmoil, undergoes a conversion experience in Leith Walk, Edinburgh.


‘Life of Schiller’ published in
London Magazine
. Meets Coleridge during his first visit to London. Translation of Goethe’s
Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship
published in three volumes; Goethe writes to thank Carlyle for a presentation copy.


Life of Friedrich Schiller, Comprehending an Examination of his Works
published in book form. Begins work on a story, ‘Illudo Chartis’, abandoned within a year.


Marries Jane Welsh; they move to Edinburgh.


German Romance: Specimens of its Chief Authors with Biographical and Critical Notices
published in four volumes. ‘Jean Paul Friedrich Richter’ published, his first contribution to
Edinburgh Review
. Begins work on an autobiographical novel,
Wotton Reinfred
(never completed).


Carlyles move to Craigenputtock, a small, remote farming property in Dumfriesshire. ‘Burns’ published in
Edinburgh Review


‘German Playwrights’, ‘Voltaire’, and ‘Novalis’ published in
Foreign Review
; ‘Signs of the Times’ in
Edinburgh Review
. Correspondence with Goethe continues.


‘Thoughts on History’ published in
Fraser’s Magazine;
Sartor Resartus


Feels he has ‘almost done’ with German literature.
Sartor Resartus
finished in July. Arrives in London in August to arrange for its publication, but negotiations with John Murray are unsuccessful. First meets John Stuart Mill. ‘Characteristics’ published in
Edinburgh Review


Death of Carlyle’s father; death of Goethe. ‘Biography’ and ‘Boswell’s
Life of Johnson
’ published in
Fraser’s Magazine
, ‘Corn-Law Rhymes’ in
Edinburgh Review


‘Diderot’ published in the
Foreign Quarterly Review
. Emerson visits Carlyle at Craigenputtock. Serialization of
Sartor Resartus
begins in
Fraser’s Magazine


The Carlyles move to London and settle at 5 Cheyne Row, Chelsea. Begins work on
French Revolution
. Reception of
Sartor Resartus
is generally poor; arranges for a small edition of fifty-eight copies, sewn together from the magazine parts, to distribute to friends. Death of Edward Irving.


First acquaintance with John Sterling. Manuscript of the first volume of
French Revolution
inadvertently destroyed by a servant of John Stuart Mill.


Sartor Resartus: The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh
published in book form in Boston with preface by Emerson.


‘Diamond Necklace’ published in
Fraser’s Magazine
. Second edition of
Sartor Resartus
published in Boston.
French Revolution: A History
published in three volumes; becomes critical and popular success.


First English edition in book form of
Sartor Resartus


Critical and Miscellaneous Essays
published in four volumes;


On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History


Past and Present


Death of Sterling.


Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches: with Elucidations
published in two volumes.


Latter-Day Pamphlets


Life of John Sterling


Begins work on a history of Frederick the Great.


Death of Carlyle’s mother.


First collected edition of his works published.


The six volumes of
History of Friedrich II of Prussia, called Frederick the Great


Inaugural address as Rector of the University of Edinburgh. Death of Jane Welsh Carlyle, who is buried at Haddington. Begins writing
(posthumously published in 1881).


‘Shooting Niagara: and After?’ published in


Early Kings of Norway
Essay on the Portraits of John Knox


Dies 5 February at Cheyne Row; burial in Ecclefechan churchyard next to his parents.

BOOK: Sartor Resartus (Oxford World's Classics)
9.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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