Thomas Carlyle: History of Frederick the Great of Prussia

(2020 words)
  • Nathan Uglow (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

Carlyle's History of Frederick II of Prussia is at once a biography of an enlightenment monarch and general account of the theatre of war that was continental Europe throughout the eighteenth century. On both counts it stands as a monumental achievement carried out in the face of the traditional British obliviousness to all things continental. During the 13 years of intensive research he lavished on it, Carlyle read through swathes of documentation in several languages, collected portraits of the leading historical actors, and traced their intricate genealogies, alliances, and dynastic ambitions across the web of European nobility. As part of his quest for accuracy, Carlyle, the ever-unwilling traveler, even subjected the chief …

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Uglow, Nathan. "History of Frederick the Great of Prussia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 March 2001
[, accessed 26 November 2015.]