Thomas Carlyle Quote

Old age is not a matter for sorrow. It is matter for thanks if we have left our work done behind us.

Thomas Carlyle

Old age is not a matter for sorrow. It is matter for thanks if we have left our work done behind us.

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About Thomas Carlyle

Thomas Carlyle (4 December 1795 – 5 February 1881) was a Scottish essayist, historian and philosopher. Known as the Sage of Chelsea, he became "the undoubted head of English letters" in the 19th century.The son of a stonemason, Carlyle was born in Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, where he attended the village school, Annan Academy, and finally the University of Edinburgh. Graduating with distinction in 1813, he prepared to become a minister in the United Secession Church while working as a schoolmaster, first in Annan and then in Kirkcaldy, teaching mathematics. He eventually lost his religious faith, abandoned the ministry, and resigned from his post in 1818, briefly enrolling as a law student before working as a tutor. In 1819, during a bleak period of his life, Carlyle's discovery of German literature rekindled his belief in God and provided the catalyst for much of his early literary career as an essayist and translator. His first major work, a novel entitled Sartor Resartus (1831) inspired by his own experience, went largely unnoticed. After relocating to London, he wrote The French Revolution: A History (1837) and became prominent. Each of his subsequent works, from On Heroes, Hero-Worship, & the Heroic in History (1841) to History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great (1858–1865) and beyond, were read widely throughout Europe and North America.
Carlyle's works amount to thirty volumes, most of which are in the genres of history and the critical essay. His distinctive style, called Carlylese, is rich in vocabulary, humour and allusion; his writing has been described as proto-postmodern. His early essays and translations almost single-handedly introduced German Romanticism to the English-speaking world. His histories drew lessons from the past in order to impart wisdom on the present, using contrast to raise questions and provide answers. He championed the Captain of Industry and such figures as Oliver Cromwell and Frederick the Great, writing that "The History of the world is but the Biography of great men." He was a staunch critic of democracy, utilitarianism and laissez-faire, referring to economics as "the dismal science".Immensely influential, Carlyle has often been hailed as a prophet. He occupied a central position in Victorian intellectual life, shaping such areas of thought as Romanticism, transcendentalism and medievalism; political movements such as socialism, Irish rebellion and Southern secession; and artistic currents such as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, aestheticism and the Arts and Crafts movement. His reputation declined in the 20th century as some of his views became increasingly unfashionable, particularly his Germanophilia in the aftermaths of World War I and World War II especially, when he came to be perceived as a progenitor of fascism. Since the 1960s, the field of Carlyle Studies has served to improve his standing, with the publication of numerous monographs, academic journals, and critical editions of his work.