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Thomas Carlyle – Biography

Thomas Carlyle, known for his work, Sartor Retarus was a historian and a writer. His specialized in writing essays on The French Revolution.

Early Life of Thomas Carlyle

Carlyle was born in Galloway, Scotland on December 4, 1795.  His father, James Carlyle was initially a mason and then went on to become a small-scale farmer.

Thomas Carlyle Biography
A portrait of Thomas Carlyle

James has Calvinist connections and his philosophies inspired many of his son’s later works. Thomas Carlyle was one of nine brothers and sisters. He was completely devoted to his mother and his family was always a priority.

Thomas Carlyle Education

Carlyle always showed a proficiency in writing throughout his schooling days. In 1809, he joined the University of Edinburgh with the decision that he would pursue ministry.

However, he changed his major to Mathematics and teaching and then went on to pursue writing which he stuck to for the rest of his life.

Thomas Carlyle’s Career as a Writer

During his schooling, Carlyle particularly studied the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and in the 1820s, Carlyle even went on to translate Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.

Thomas Carlyle Heroes and Hero Worship

Carlyle’s style of writing helped him rise to popularity. He was a prominent figure in the Victorian Literary Society. Some of his novels were On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History and Past and Present. He also wrote about Oliver Cromwell and Frederick the Great.

Thomas Carlyle Biography
Oliver Cromwell

It was known that the subject of Carlyle’s novels depended on his moods. During his later years of his career as a writer, Carlyle often wrote violently racist writings thus alienating many of his friends who belonged to the noble society.

Sartor Retarus

Carlyle wrote the biography of Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, a German Philosopher. This biography was in the form of a novel. It came out in the form of a series between 1833 and 1834 in Fraser’s magazine. This novel was a satire and a spiritual journey for Carlyle.

Thomas Carlyle Works

In the biography, Carlyle critiques the German philosopher’s work and reviews it from the point of view of an English writer. Teufelsdröckh is seen as the protagonist of the novel and is also considered a fictional character and a literary device where Carlyle put across his points.

French Revolution

Another book which helped Carlyle rise to fame was the French Revolution. It was an account of the French Revolution with drama and stories of numerous people.

Thomas Carlyle Biography

The draft of this novel supposedly caught fire while the author’s friend, John Stuart Mill was taking care of it.

Personal Life

Carlyle married Jane Welsh in 1826. Welsh was a fellow literally figure. They decided to get married after a very lengthy courtship. The couple remained to gather until Carlyle’s death after forty years.

After the wedding, the couple initially lived in Scotland. However, the demands of both their careers made them move to London. in 1834. They were known to host numerous parties for their friends and co-workers. Carlyle died on February 5, 1881, in England and was buried in Scotland.