Thomas Carlyle.

Sartor resartus; and, On heroes, hero-worship and the heroic in history online

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forgotten; and that the foreign dress and aspect of the Work are quite
superficial, and cover a genuine Saxon heart. We believe, no book has
been published for many years, written in a more sincere style of
idiomatic English, or which discovers an equal mastery over all the
riches of the language. The Author makes ample amends for the
occasional eccentricity of his genius, not only by frequent bursts of
pure splendour, but by the wit and sense which never fail him.

"But what will chiefly commend the Book to the discerning reader is
the manifest design of the work, which is, a Criticism upon the Spirit
of the Age, - we had almost said, of the hour, - in which we live;
exhibiting in the most just and novel light the present aspects of
Religion, Politics, Literature, Arts, and Social Life. Under all his
gaiety the Writer has an earnest meaning, and discovers an insight
into the manifold wants and tendencies of human nature, which is very
rare among our popular authors. The philanthropy and the purity of
moral sentiment, which inspire the work, will find their way to the
heart of every lover of virtue." - _Preface to Sartor Resartus_:
_Boston_, 1836, 1837.


LONDON, _30th June 1838_.



CHAP. I. _Preliminary_

No Philosophy of Clothes yet, notwithstanding all our Science.
Strangely forgotten that Man is by nature a _naked_ animal.
The English mind all-too practically absorbed for any such
inquiry. Not so, deep-thinking Germany. Advantage of
Speculation having free course. Editor receives from Professor
Teufelsdröckh his new Work on Clothes (p. 1).

CHAP. II. _Editorial Difficulties_

How to make known Teufelsdröckh and his Book to English
readers; especially _such_ a book? Editor receives from the
Hofrath Heuschrecke a letter promising Biographic Documents.
Negotiations with Oliver Yorke. _Sartor Resartus_ conceived.
Editor's assurances and advice to his British reader (p. 5).

CHAP. III. _Reminiscences_

Teufelsdröckh at Weissnichtwo. Professor of Things in General
at the University there: Outward aspect and character;
memorable coffee-house utterances; domicile and watch-tower:
Sights thence of City-life by day and by night; with
reflections thereon. Old 'Liza and her ways. Character of
Hofrath Heuschrecke, and his relation to Teufelsdröckh (p. 9).

CHAP. IV. _Characteristics_

Teufelsdröckh and his Work on Clothes: Strange freedom of
speech: transcendentalism; force of insight and expression;
multifarious learning: Style poetic, uncouth:
Comprehensiveness of his humour and moral feeling. How the
Editor once saw him laugh. Different kinds of Laughter and
their significance (p. 20).

CHAP. V. _The World in Clothes_

Futile cause-and-effect Philosophies. Teufelsdröckh's Orbis
Vestitus. Clothes first invented for the sake of Ornament.
Picture of our progenitor, the Aboriginal Savage. Wonders of
growth and progress in mankind's history. Man defined as a
Tool-using Animal (p. 25).

CHAP. VI. _Aprons_

Divers Aprons in the world with divers uses. The Military and
Police Establishment Society's working Apron. The Episcopal
Apron with its corner tucked in. The Laystall. Journalists now
our only Kings and Clergy (p. 31).

CHAP. VII. _Miscellaneous-Historical_

How Men and Fashions come and go. German Costume in the
fifteenth century. By what strange chances do we live in
History! The costume of Bolivar's Cavalry (p. 34).

CHAP. VIII. _The World out of Clothes_

Teufelsdröckh's Theorem, "Society founded upon Cloth"; his
Method, Intuition quickened by Experience. - The mysterious
question, Who am I? Philosophic systems, all at fault: A
deeper meditation has always taught, here and there an
individual, that all visible things are appearances only; but
also emblems and revelations of God. Teufelsdröckh first
comes upon the question of Clothes: Baseness to which Clothing
may bring us (p. 37).

CHAP. IX. _Adamatism_

The universal utility of Clothes, and their higher mystic
virtue, illustrated. Conception of Mankind stripped naked; and
immediate consequent dissolution of civilised Society (p. 43).

CHAP. X. _Pure Reason_

A Naked World possible, nay actually exists, under the clothed
one. Man, in the eye of Pure Reason, a visible God's Presence.
The beginning of all wisdom, to look fixedly on Clothes till
they become transparent. Wonder, the basis of Worship:
Perennial in man. Modern Sciolists who cannot wonder:
Teufelsdröckh's contempt for, and advice to them (p. 47).

CHAP. XI. _Prospective_

Nature not an Aggregate, but a Whole. All visible things are
emblems, Clothes; and exist for a time only. The grand scope
of the Philosophy of Clothes. - Biographic Documents arrive.
Letter from Heuschrecke on the importance of Biography.
Heterogeneous character of the documents: Editor sorely
perplexed; but desperately grapples with his work (p. 52).


CHAP. I. _Genesis_

Old Andreas Futteral and Gretchen his wife: their quiet home.
Advent of a mysterious stranger, who deposits with them a
young infant, the future Herr Diogenes Teufelsdröckh.
After-yearnings of the youth for his unknown Father. Sovereign
power of Names and Naming. Diogenes a flourishing Infant (p.

CHAP. II. _Idyllic_

Happy Childhood! Entepfuhl: Sights, hearings and experiences
of the boy Teufelsdröckh; their manifold teaching. Education;
what it can do, what cannot. Obedience our universal duty and
destiny. Gneschen sees the good Gretchen pray (p. 68).

CHAP. III. _Pedagogy_

Teufelsdröckh's School. His Education. How the ever-flowing
Kuhbach speaks of Time and Eternity. The Hinterschlag
Gymnasium; rude Boys; and pedant Professors. The need of true
Teachers, and their due recognition. Father Andreas dies: and
Teufelsdröckh learns the secret of his birth: His reflections
thereon. The Nameless University. Statistics of Imposture much
wanted. Bitter fruits of Rationalism: Teufelsdröckh's
religious difficulties. The young Englishman Herr Towgood.
Modern Friendship (p. 76).

CHAP. IV. _Getting under Way_

The grand thaumaturgic Art of Thought. Difficulty in fitting
Capability to Opportunity, or of getting underway. The
advantage of Hunger and Bread-Studies. Teufelsdröckh has to
enact the stern mono-drama of _No object and no rest_.
Sufferings as Auscultator. Given up as a man of genius,
Zähdarm House. Intolerable presumption of young men. Irony
and its consequences. Teufelsdröckh's Epitaph on Count
Zähdarm (p. 90).

CHAP. V. _Romance_

Teufelsdröckh gives up his Profession. The heavenly mystery
of Love. Teufelsdröckh's feeling of worship towards women.
First and only love. Blumine. Happy hearts and free tongues.
The infinite nature of Fantasy. Love's joyful progress; sudden
dissolution; and final catastrophe (p. 101).

CHAP. VI. _Sorrows of Teufelsdröckh_

Teufelsdröckh's demeanour thereupon. Turns pilgrim. A last
wistful look on native Entepfuhl: Sunset amongst primitive
Mountains. Basilisk-glance of the Barouche-and-four. Thoughts
on View-hunting. Wanderings and Sorrowings (p. 112).

CHAP. VII. _The Everlasting No_

Loss of Hope, and of Belief. Profit-and-Loss Philosophy,
Teufelsdröckh in his darkness and despair still clings to
Truth and follows Duty. Inexpressible pains and fears of
Unbelief. Fever-crisis: Protest against the Everlasting No:
Baphometic Fire-baptism (p. 121).

CHAP. VIII. _Centre of Indifference_

Teufelsdröckh turns now outwardly to the _Not-me_; and finds
wholesomer food. Ancient Cities: Mystery of their origin and
growth: Invisible inheritances and possessions. Power and
virtue of a true Book. Wagram Battlefield: War. Great Scenes
beheld by the Pilgrim: Great Events, and Great Men. Napoleon,
a divine missionary, preaching _La carrière ouverte aux
talens_. Teufelsdröckh at the North Cape: Modern means of
self-defence. Gunpowder and duelling. The Pilgrim, despising
his miseries, reaches the Centre of Indifference (p. 128).

CHAP. IX. _The Everlasting Yea_

Temptations in the Wilderness: Victory over the Tempter.
Annihilation of Self. Belief in God, and love to Man. The
origin of Evil, a problem ever requiring to be solved anew:
Teufelsdröckh's solution. Love of Happiness a vain whim: A
Higher in man than Love of Happiness. The Everlasting Yea.
Worship of Sorrow. Voltaire: his task now finished. Conviction
worthless, impossible, without Conduct. The true Ideal, the
Actual: Up and work! (p. 138).

CHAP. X. _Pause_

Conversion; a spiritual attainment peculiar to the modern Era.
Teufelsdröckh accepts Authorship as his divine calling. The
scope of the command _Thou shalt not steal_. - Editor begins to
suspect the authenticity of the Biographical documents; and
abandons them for the great Clothes volume. Result of the
preceding ten Chapters: Insight into the character of
Teufelsdröckh: His fundamental beliefs, and how he was forced
to seek and find them (p. 149).


CHAP. I. _Incident in Modern History_

Story of George Fox the Quaker; and his perennial suit of
Leather. A man God-possessed, witnessing for spiritual freedom
and manhood (p. 156).

CHAP. II. _Church-Clothes_

Church-Clothes defined; the Forms under which the Religious
principle is temporarily embodied. Outward Religion originates
by Society: Society becomes possible by Religion. The
condition of Church-Clothes in our time (p. 161).

CHAP. III. _Symbols_

The benignant efficacies of Silence and Secrecy. Symbols;
revelations of the Infinite in the Finite: Man everywhere
encompassed by them; lives and works by them. Theory of
Motive-millwrights, a false account of human nature. Symbols
of an extrinsic value; as Banners, Standards: Of intrinsic
value; as Works of Art, Lives and Deaths of Heroic men.
Religious Symbols; Christianity. Symbols hallowed by Time; but
finally defaced and desecrated. Many superannuated Symbols in
our time, needing removal (p. 163).

CHAP. IV. _Helotage_

Heuschrecke's Malthusian Tract, and Teufelsdröckh's marginal
notes thereon. The true workman, for daily bread, or spiritual
bread, to be honoured; and no other. The real privation of the
Poor not poverty or toil, but ignorance. Over-population: With
a world like ours and wide as ours, can there be too many men?
Emigration (p. 170).

CHAP. V. _The Phoenix_

Teufelsdröckh considers Society as _dead_; its soul
(Religion) gone, its body (existing Institutions) going.
Utilitarianism, needing little farther preaching, is now in
full activity of Destruction. - Teufelsdröckh would yield to
the Inevitable, accounting that the best: Assurance of a
fairer Living Society, arising, Phoenix-like, out of the ruins
of the old dead one. Before that Phoenix death-birth is
accomplished, long time, struggle, and suffering must
intervene (p. 174).

CHAP. VI. _Old Clothes_

Courtesy due from all men to all men: The Body of Man a
Revelation in the Flesh. Teufelsdröckh's respect for Old
Clothes, as the 'Ghosts of Life.' Walk in Monmouth Street, and
meditations there (p. 179).

CHAP. VII. _Organic Filaments_

Destruction and Creation ever proceed together; and organic
filaments of the Future are even now spinning. Wonderful
connection of each man with all men; and of each generation
with all generations, before and after: Mankind is One.
Sequence and progress of all human work, whether of creation
or destruction, from age to age. - Titles, hitherto derived
from Fighting, must give way to others. Kings will remain and
their title. Political Freedom, not to be attained by any
mechanical contrivance. Hero-worship, perennial amongst men;
the cornerstone of polities in the Future. Organic filaments
of the New Religion: Newspapers and Literature. Let the
faithful soul take courage! (p. 183).

CHAP. VIII. _Natural Supernaturalism_

Deep significance of Miracles. Littleness of human Science:
Divine incomprehensibility of Nature. Custom blinds us to the
miraculousness of daily-recurring miracles; so do Names. Space
and Time, appearances only; forms of human Thought: A glimpse
of Immortality. How Space hides from us the wondrousness of
our commonest powers; and Time, the divinely miraculous course
of human history (p. 191).

CHAP. IX. _Circumspective_

Recapitulation. Editor congratulates the few British readers
who have accompanied Teufelsdröckh through all his
speculations. The true use of the _Sartor Resartus_, to
exhibit the Wonder of daily life and common things; and to
show that all Forms are but Clothes, and temporary. Practical
inferences enough will follow (p. 201).

CHAP. X. _The Dandiacal Body_

The Dandy defined. The Dandiacal Sect a new modification of
the primeval superstition Self-worship: How to be
distinguished. Their Sacred Books (Fashionable Novels)
unreadable. Dandyism's Articles of Faith. - Brotherhood of
Poor-Slaves: vowed to perpetual Poverty; worshippers of Earth;
distinguished by peculiar costume and diet. Picture of a
Poor-Slave Household; and of a Dandiacal. Teufelsdröckh fears
these two Sects may spread, till they part all England between
them, and then frightfully collide (p. 204).

CHAP. XI. _Tailors_

Injustice done to Tailors, actual and metaphorical. Their rights
and great services will one day be duly recognised (p. 216).

CHAP. XII. _Farewell_

Teufelsdröckh's strange manner of speech, but resolute,
truthful character: His purpose seemingly to proselytise, to
unite the wakeful earnest in these dark times. Letter from
Hofrath Heuschrecke announcing that Teufelsdröckh has
disappeared from Weissnichtwo. Editor guesses he will appear
again, Friendly Farewell (p. 219).




[_Tuesday, 5th May 1840_]

We have undertaken to discourse here for a little on Great Men, their
manner of appearance in our world's business, how they have shaped
themselves in the world's history, what ideas men formed of them, what
work they did; - on Heroes, namely, and on their reception and
performance; what I call Hero-worship and the Heroic in human affairs.
Too evidently this is a large topic; deserving quite other treatment
than we can expect to give it at present. A large topic; indeed, an
illimitable one; wide as Universal History itself. For, as I take it,
Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this
world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here.
They were the leaders of men, these great ones; the modellers,
patterns, and in a wide sense creators, of whatsoever the general mass
of men contrived to do or to attain; all things that we see standing
accomplished in the world are properly the outer material result, the
practical realisation and embodiment, of Thoughts that dwelt in the
Great Men sent into the world: the soul of the whole world's history,
it may justly be considered, were the history of these. Too clearly it
is a topic we shall do no justice to in this place!

One comfort is, that Great Men, taken up in any way, are profitable
company. We cannot look, however imperfectly, upon a great man,
without gaining something by him. He is the living light-fountain,
which it is good and pleasant to be near. The light which enlightens,
which has enlightened the darkness of the world; and this not as a
kindled lamp only, but rather as a natural luminary shining by the
gift of Heaven; a flowing light-fountain, as I say, of native original
insight, of manhood and heroic nobleness; - in whose radiance all souls
feel that it is well with them. On any terms whatsoever, you will not
grudge to wander in such neighbourhood for a while. These Six classes
of Heroes, chosen out of widely-distant countries and epochs, and in
mere external figure differing altogether, ought, if we look
faithfully at them, to illustrate several things for us. Could we see
_them_ well, we should get some glimpses into the very marrow of the
world's history. How happy, could I but, in any measure, in such times
as these, make manifest to you the meanings of Heroism; the divine
relation (for I may well call it such) which in all times unites a
Great Man to other men; and thus, as it were, not exhaust my subject,
but so much as break ground on it! At all events, I must make the

It is well said, in every sense, that a man's religion is the chief
fact with regard to him. A man's, or a nation of men's. By religion I
do not mean here the church-creed which he professes, the articles of
faith which he will sign and, in words or otherwise, assert; not this
wholly, in many cases not this at all. We see men of all kinds of
professed creeds attain to almost all degrees of worth or
worthlessness under each or any of them. This is not what I call
religion, this profession and assertion; which is often only a
profession and assertion from the outworks of the man, from the mere
argumentative region of him, if even so deep as that. But the thing a
man does practically believe (and this is often enough _without_
asserting it even to himself, much less to others); the thing a man
does practically lay to heart, and know for certain, concerning his
vital relations to this mysterious Universe, and his duty and destiny
there, that is in all cases the primary thing for him, and creatively
determines all the rest. That is his _religion_; or it may be, his
mere scepticism and _no-religion_: the manner it is in which he feels
himself to be spiritually related to the Unseen World or No-World; and
I say, if you tell me what that is, you tell me to a very great extent
what the man is, what the kind of things he will do is. Of a man or of
a nation we inquire, therefore, first of all, What religion they had?
Was it Heathenism, - plurality of gods, mere sensuous representation of
this Mystery of Life, and for chief recognised element therein
Physical Force? Was it Christianism; faith in an Invisible, not as
real only, but as the only reality; Time, through every meanest moment
of it, resting on Eternity; Pagan empire of Force displaced by a
nobler supremacy, that of Holiness? Was it Scepticism, uncertainty and
inquiry whether there was an Unseen World, any Mystery of Life except
a mad one; - doubt as to all this, or perhaps unbelief and flat denial?
Answering of this question is giving us the soul of the history of the
man or nation. The thoughts they had were the parents of the actions
they did; their feelings were parents of their thoughts: it was the
unseen and spiritual in them that determined the outward and
actual; - their religion, as I say, was the great fact about them. In
these Discourses, limited as we are, it will be good to direct our
survey chiefly to that religious phasis of the matter. That once known
well, all is known. We have chosen as the first Hero in our series,
Odin the central figure of Scandinavian Paganism; an emblem to us of a
most extensive province of things. Let us look for a little at the
Hero as Divinity, the oldest primary form of Heroism.

Surely it seems a very strange-looking thing this Paganism; almost
inconceivable to us in these days. A bewildering, inextricable jungle
of delusions, confusions, falsehoods and absurdities, covering the
whole field of Life! A thing that fills us with astonishment, almost,
if it were possible, with incredulity, - for truly it is not easy to
understand that sane men could ever calmly, with their eyes open,
believe and live by such a set of doctrines. That men should have
worshipped their poor fellow-man as a God, and not him only, but
stocks and stones, and all manner of animate and inanimate objects;
and fashioned for themselves such a distracted chaos of hallucinations
by way of Theory of the Universe: all this looks like an incredible
fable. Nevertheless it is a clear fact that they did it. Such hideous
inextricable jungle of misworships, misbeliefs, men, made as we are,
did actually hold by, and live at home in. This is strange. Yes, we
may pause in sorrow and silence over the depths of darkness that are
in man; if we rejoice in the heights of purer vision he has attained
to. Such things were and are in man; in all men; in us too.

Some speculators have a short way of accounting for the Pagan
religion: mere quackery, priestcraft, and dupery, say they; no sane
man ever did believe it, - merely contrived to persuade other men, not
worthy of the name of sane, to believe it! It will be often our duty
to protest against this sort of hypothesis about men's doings and
history; and I here, on the very threshold, protest against it in
reference to Paganism, and to all other _isms_ by which man has ever
for a length of time striven to walk in this world. They have all had
a truth in them, or men would not have taken them up. Quackery and
dupery do abound; in religions, above all in the more advanced
decaying stages of religions, they have fearfully abounded: but
quackery was never the originating influence in such things; it was
not the health and life of such things, but their disease, the sure
precursor of their being about to die! Let us never forget this. It
seems to me a most mournful hypothesis, that of quackery giving birth
to any faith even in savage men. Quackery gives birth to nothing;
gives death to all things. We shall not see into the true heart of
anything, or if we look merely at the quackeries of it; if we do not
reject the quackeries altogether; as mere diseases, corruptions, with
which our and all men's sole duty is to have done with them, to sweep
them out of our thoughts as out of our practice. Man everywhere is the
born enemy of lies. I find Grand Lamaism itself to have a kind of
truth in it. Read the candid, clear-sighted, rather sceptical Mr
Turner's _Account of his Embassy_ to that country, and see. They have
their belief, these poor Thibet people, that Providence sends down
always an Incarnation of Himself into every generation. At bottom some
belief in a kind of Pope! At bottom still better, belief that there is
a _Greatest_ Man; that _he_ is discoverable; that, once discovered, we
ought to treat him with an obedience which knows no bounds! This is
the truth of Grand Lamaism; the 'discoverability' is the only error
here. The Thibet priests have methods of their own of discovering what
Man is Greatest, fit to be supreme over them. Bad methods: but are
they so much worse than our methods, - of understanding him to be
always the eldest born of a certain genealogy? Alas, it is a difficult
thing to find good methods for! - We shall begin to have a chance of
understanding Paganism, when we first admit that to its followers it
was, at one time, earnestly true. Let us consider it very certain that
men did believe in Paganism; men with open eyes, sound senses, men
made altogether like ourselves; that we, had we been there, should
have believed in it. Ask now, What Paganism could have been?

Another theory, somewhat more respectable, attributes such things to
Allegory. It was a play of poetic minds, say these theorists; a
shadowing-forth, in allegorical fable, in personification and visual
form, of what such poetic minds had known and felt of this Universe.
Which agrees, add they, with a primary law of human nature, still
everywhere observably at work, though in less important things, That
what a man feels intensely, he struggles to speak-out of him, to see
represented before him in visual shape, and as if with a kind of life
and historical reality in it. Now doubtless there is such a law, and
it is one of the deepest in human nature; neither need we doubt that
it did operate fundamentally in this business. The hypothesis which
ascribes Paganism wholly or mostly to this agency, I call a little
more respectable; but I cannot yet call it the true hypothesis. Think,

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleSartor resartus; and, On heroes, hero-worship and the heroic in history → online text (page 22 of 43)