Thomas Carlyle: Sartor Resartus

(2842 words)
  • Nathan Uglow (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

Carlyle's literary career may be traced back to 1826, a time when economic recession was squeezing journalists hard, and Carlyle, just starting out in the trade, decided he had to make desperate economies by leaving Edinburgh and retiring to his wife's remote homestead at Craigenputtock. Here, after several lean years, he began to rework some of his old unpublished articles on German literature into a short piece more immediately accessible to the average British journal reader. Called “Sartor Resartus”, this “thought piece” was no more than a short skit poking fun at the British addiction to empiricism as a form of knowledge, and contrasting it to the more comprehensive outlook of the German romantics. In fact, the obscure …

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Uglow, Nathan. "Sartor Resartus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 November 2001
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]