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Authors: Thomas Carlyle,Kerry McSweeney,Peter Sabor

Sartor Resartus (Oxford World's Classics)

BOOK: Sartor Resartus (Oxford World's Classics)
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Introduction, Note on the Text, Bibliography, Chronology, Explanatory Notes, Glossary
© Peter Sabor and Kerry McSweeney 1987

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First published as a World’s Classics paperback 1987
Reissued as an Oxford World’s Classics paperback 1999

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Data available

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Carlyle, Thomas, 1795–1881.
Sartor resartus
(Oxford world’s classics)
Bibliography: p.
I. McSweeney, Kerry, 1941–.
II. Sabor, Peter.
III. Title.
PR4429.A2M37 1987 824′.8 87–5753
ISBN 0–19–283673–0
3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4

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Reading, Berkshire

OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS

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Refer to the
Table of Contents
to navigate through the material in this Oxford World’s Classics ebook. Use the asterisks (*) throughout the text to access the hyperlinked Explanatory Notes
.

OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS

THOMAS CARLYLE

Sartor Resartus

Edited with an Introduction and Notes by
KERRY McSWEENEY
and
PETER SABOR

OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS

SARTOR RESARTUS

T
HOMAS
C
ARLYLE
was born in 1795 at Ecclefechan, a small market village in Dumfriesshire. He studied for the ministry, enrolled in law classes, and taught briefly before deciding on a career as a writer. During the 1820s, his essays and translations helped to introduce German literature and thought to a British audience.
Sartor Resartus
, his one full-scale work of imaginative fiction, was first published periodically in 1833-4. In 1826 Carlyle had married Jane Welsh. In 1834 they moved from Scotland to London and settled at Cheyne Row, Chelsea. It was here that Carlyle wrote the works that confirmed his position as the most influential of the Victorian cultural prophets:
The French Revolution
(1837),
On Heroes and Hero-Worship
(1841),
Past and Present
(1843),
Latter-Day Pamphlets
(1850), and the six-volume history of
Frederick the Great
(1858–65). His
Reminiscences
were published shortly after his death, in 1881.

K
ERRY
M
C
S
WEENEY
is Molson Professor at McGill University in Montreal. His publications include the World’s Classics edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s
Aurora Leigh, Tennyson and Swinburne as Romantic Naturalists, Four Contemporary Novelists, Moby Dick: Ishmael’s Mighty Book, George Eliot: A Literary Life, The Language of the Senses: Sensory-Perceptual Dynamics in Wordsworth, Coleridge, Thoreau, Whitman, and Dickinson
, and
Supreme Attachments: Studies in Victorian Love Poetry
.

P
ETER
S
ABOR
is Professor of English at Laval University, Quebec. His other editions for Oxford World’s Classics are Burney’s
Cecilia
(with Margaret Anne Doody) and
The Wanderer
(with Doody and Robert Mack), and Cleland’s
Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure
. He has also edited Richardson’s
Pamela
, Sarah Fielding’s
David Simple
and
Remarks on Clarissa
, and Burney’s
Complete Plays
, and published two books on Horace Walpole:
Horace Walpole: A Reference Guide
, and
Horace Walpole: The Critical Heritage
.

CONTENTS

Introduction

Acknowledgements

Note on the Text

Select Bibliography

A Chronology of Thomas Carlyle

SARTOR RESARTUS

BOOK I

1 Preliminary

2 Editorial Difficulties

3 Reminiscences

4 Characteristics

5 The World in Clothes

6 Aprons

7 Miscellaneous—Historical

8 The World out of Clothes

9 Adamitism

10 Pure Reason

11 Prospective

BOOK II

1 Genesis

2 Idyllic

3 Pedagogy

4 Getting under Way

5 Romance

6 Sorrows of Teufelsdröckh

7 The Everlasting No

8 Centre of Indifference

9 The Everlasting Yea

10 Pause

BOOK III

1 Incident in Modern History

2 Church Clothes

3 Symbols

4 Helotage

5 The Phœnix

6 Old Clothes

7 Organic Filaments

8 Natural Supernaturalism

9 Circumspective

10 The Dandiacal Body

11 Tailors

12 Farewell

Appendix I: Carlyle to James Fraser, May 1833

Appendix II: Maginn’s Portrait of Carlyle, June 1833

Appendix III: Carlyle to Emerson, August 1834

Appendix IV: Carlyle to John Sterling, June 1835

Appendix V: Carlyle’s Supplementary Material to the 1869 Edition

Explanatory Notes

Glossary

INTRODUCTION
[I]

Sartor Resartus
has long been recognized as a work of the foremost literary historical importance. For one thing, it marks the transition from the Romantic to the Victorian periods as sharply as the Preface to
Lyrical Ballads
marks that between the eighteenth century and the Romantic period. And unlike Wordsworth’s manifesto, Carlyle’s book enacts within itself the dislocations of the passage. For another,
Sartor Resartus
, which was first published in book form in Boston in 1836 with an enthusiastic preface by Ralph Waldo Emerson, was an important stimulus to the great mid-nineteenth-century flowering of American literature. Poe may have loathed the book, as he did everything of Carlyle’s; but it was a key influence, both thematic and formal, on two of the master-works of the American Renaissance—Melville’s
Moby-Dick
and Whitman’s
Song of Myself
.

Most importantly,
Sartor Resartus
is the seminal expression of the thought of the most influential of the Victorian cultural prophets. The fundamental Carlylean doctrines are all articulated, or at least adumbrated, here: the horrors of Utilitarianism; the religious basis of society; the pattern of conversion—from the Everlasting No, through the Centre of Indifference to the Everlasting Yea—which showed that, in the words of Thomas Henry Huxley, ‘a deep sense of religion was compatible with the entire absence of theology’;
1
the importance of vocation—of an individual’s finding his ‘maximum of Capability’; the superiority of renunciation to the pursuit of happiness; the moral imperatives of work, duty, and reverence; the need for heroes; and the social vision that saw contemporary Britain divided into the two nations of rich and poor. As such,
Sartor Resartus
is of quintessential importance for understanding the literature and the moral and intellectual culture of Victorian Britain. ‘For there is hardly a superior or active mind of this
generation’, George Eliot observed in 1855, ‘that has not been modified by Carlyle’s writings… The character of his influence is best seen in the fact that many of the men who have the least agreement with his opinions are those to whom the reading of
Sartor Resartus
was an epoch in the history of their minds.’
2

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