The Critical Response to Thomas Carlyle's Major Works

The Critical Response to Thomas Carlyle's Major Works

The Critical Response to Thomas Carlyle's Major Works

The Critical Response to Thomas Carlyle's Major Works


Born in 1795, Thomas Carlyle was a preeminent figure in Victorian letters. Carlyle was widely reviewed, discussed, praised and criticized during his lifetime, because of his controversial ideas as well as his masterful biographies, histories and extended essays, all forms deemed more canonical in the nineteenth century. Although opinion about him and assessments of his work have fluctuated greatly in the years since his death in 1881, interest in his writings has seldom waned. This volume presents some of the most inaccessible and some of the best critical opinion dealing with four of Carlyle's major works that are arguably most representative of his thought. These include Sartor Resartus (1833-34), The French Revolution (1837), On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History (1841), and Past and Present (1843). Through reviews and essays, this reference work summarizes the critical reception of Carlyle's writings from their initial appearance to the present day.


Critical Responses in Arts and Letters is designed to present a documentary history of highlights in critical reception to the body of work of writers and artists and to individual works that are generally considered to be of major importance. The focus of each volume in this series is basically historical. The introductions to each volume are themselves brief histories of the critical response an author, artist, or individual work has received. This response is then further illustrated by reprinting a strong representation of the major critical reviews and articles that collectively have produced the author's, artist's or work's critical reputation.

The scope of Critical Responses in Arts and Letters knows no chronological or geographical boundaries. Volumes under preparation include studies of individuals from around the world and in both contemporary and historical periods.

Each volume is the work of an individual editor, who surveys the enitre body of criticism on a single author, artist, or work. The editor then selects the best material to depict the critical response received by an author or artist over his/her entire career. Documents produced by the author or the artist may also be included when the editor finds that they are necessary to a full understanding of the materials at hand. In circumstances where previous, isolated volumes of criticism on a particular individual or work exist, the editor carefully selects material that better reflects the nature and directions of the critical response over time.

In addition to the introduction and the documentary section, the editor of each volume is free to solicit new essays on areas that may not have been adequately dealt with in previous criticism. For volumes on living writers and artists, new interviews may be included, again at the discretion of the volume's editor. The volumes also provide a supplementary bibliography and are fully indexed.

While each volume in Critical Responses in Arts and Letters is unique, it is also hoped that in combination they form a useful, documentary history of the critical response to the arts, and one that can be easily and profitably employed by students and scholars.

Cameron Northouse . . .

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