On This Day

Thomas Carlyle

Historian and Essayist Thomas Carlyle

Profession: Historian and Essayist

Nationality:
Scotland
Scottish

Why Famous: Thomas Carlyle was a pivotal thinker in nineteenth century Britain. An early notable work is the novel "Sartor Resartus" (1836), which was followed by his historical work "The French Revolution: A History" which made his reputation.

Carlyle became the center of a circle of intellectuals in London that included Stuart Thomas Mill, Charles Dickens, and George Eliot. A notable social commentator he conducted a series of lectures on hero worship resulting in the influential book "On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History" (1841).

Carlyle turned his liberal followers against him with his later essays "Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question" (1853), and "Shooting Niagara: and After??" (1867). Carlyle was supported throughout his career by his wife Jane who had her own intellectual circle and after her death he published very rarely.

Born: December 4, 1795
Birthplace: Ecclefechan, Scotland
Star Sign: Sagittarius

Died: February 5, 1881 (aged 85)

Married Life

  • 1826-10-17 Historian Thomas Carlyle (30) weds Jane Welsh (25)

Historical Events

  • 1835-03-06 Volume One of Thomas Carlyle's famous work "The French Revolution: A History" is accidentally burnt by a maid using it as fire starter before its publication. Carlyle re-writes it.
  • 1840-05-05 Thomas Carlyle begins his famous lecture series "The Hero as Divinity", later collected in his book "On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History"

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