Carlyle Famous Quotes

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Carlyle's genius was many-sided. He touched and ennobled the national life at all points. He lifted a whole generation of young men out of the stagnating atmosphere of materialism and dead orthodoxy into the region of the ideal. With the Master of Balliol, we believe that 'no English writer has done more to elevate and purify our ideas of life and to make us conscious that the things of the spirit are real, and that in the last resort there is no other reality.
Hector Carsewell Macpherson (Thomas Carlyle Famous Scots Series)
But there is another possible attitude towards the records of the past, and I have never been able to understand why it has not been more often adopted. To put it in its curtest form, my proposal is this: That we should not read historians, but history. Let us read the actual text of the times. Let us, for a year, or a month, or a fortnight, refuse to read anything about Oliver Cromwell except what was written while he was alive. There is plenty of material; from my own memory (which is all I have to rely on in the place where I write) I could mention offhand many long and famous efforts of English literature that cover the period. Clarendon’s History, Evelyn’s Diary, the Life of Colonel Hutchinson. Above all let us read all Cromwell’s own letters and speeches, as Carlyle published them. But before we read them let us carefully paste pieces of stamp-paper over every sentence written by Carlyle. Let us blot out in every memoir every critical note and every modern paragraph. For a time let us cease altogether to read the living men on their dead topics. Let us read only the dead men on their living topics.
G.K. Chesterton (Lunacy and Letters)
[Tolstoy] denounced [many historians'] lamentable tendency to simplify. The experts stumble onto a battlefield, into a parliament or public square, and demand, "Where is he? Where is he?" "Where is who?" "The hero, of course! The leader, the creator, the great man!" And having found him, they promptly ignore all his peers and troops and advisors. They close their eyes and abstract their Napoleon from the mud and the smoke and the masses on either side, and marvel at how such a figure could possibly have prevailed in so many battles and commanded the destiny of an entire continent. "There was an eye to see in this man," wrote Thomas Carlyle about Napoleon in 1840, "a soul to dare and do. He rose naturally to be the King. All men saw that he was such." But Tolstoy saw differently. "Kings are the slaves of history," he declared. "The unconscious swarmlike life of mankind uses every moment of a king's life as an instrument for its purposes." Kings and commanders and presidents did not interest Tolstoy. History, his history, looks elsewhere: it is the study of infinitely incremental, imperceptible change from one state of being (peace) to another (war). The experts claimed that the decisions of exceptional men could explain all of history's great events. For the novelist, this belief was evidence of their failure to grasp the reality of an incremental change brought about by the multitude's infinitely small actions.
Daniel Tammet (Thinking In Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math)
Much of this pattern of thought finds its echo in the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – who were young enough to be Carlyle’s sons. The ‘brotherhood’ began in 1848 at 83 Gower Street, when a group of art students vowed ‘to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues’. Of the original seven, three members of the PRB – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, aged twenty, John Everett Millais, aged nineteen, and William Holman Hunt, aged twenty-one – went on to be famous artists. Other painters whom we think of as ‘Pre-Raphaelite’ – such as Ford Madox Brown himself – never in fact joined the Brotherhood, which was never a very tightly knit guild, and which dissolved with the years. One sees the way in which these
A.N. Wilson (The Victorians)