Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Thomas Carlyle Letters, 1820-1854, n.d.

Thomas Carlyle Letters, 1820-1854, n.d.


0.25 linear feet.

Catalog Number:M43

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Agency History / Biographical Note:
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Scottish-born British essayist and historian educated at the University of Edinburgh. As a young man he worked as a teacher and schoolmaster (1814-19), studied law and tutored privately (1819-24), but was unsatisfied with the work and turned to writing. In 1834 he moved to London where he established himself as one of the foremost authors and men of letters of his day.

German language and literature always held a special place in Carlyle's heart; he published an English translation of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship in 1824. This and other early writings for the London Magazine and the Edinburgh Review were the beginnings of his literary career. Other works included Sartor Resartus (1836), The French Revolution (1837), On Heroes and Hero-Worship (1841), Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches (1845), Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850) and History of Friedrich the Second, Called Frederick the Great (1858-65).

Carlyle married Jane Welsh in 1826 and, though theirs was a stormy and difficult marriage, he never fully recovered from her death in 1866. He published Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle in 1883.

Scope and Content:
The collection consists almost entirely of letters (1820-1854) from Carlyle to his friend, William Graham (b.1770), a Scottish shipping merchant and, later, gentleman sheep farmer; together with typescripts of Graham's letters to Carlyle. Many of these letters have been published in the Letters of Thomas Carlyle to William Graham (1950). Information on Carlyle's works is available in the papers of Isaac Dyer. Dyer was his first bibliographer.

Cite as: Thomas Carlyle Letters, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

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