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Thomas Carlyle

hero greatly influenced worship

Carlyle, Thomas (1795–1881), Scottish essayist and historian. His writings greatly influenced literature and political and religious thought in mid-19th-century Britain. Carlyle was much influenced by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose Wilhelm Meister he translated (1824). In 1826 he married Jane Welsh, who greatly helped his literary career. At her farm near Dumfries he wrote Sartor Resartus (The Tailor Retailored, 1833–34). Moving to London (1834), he wrote his famous French Revolution (1837), which won him immediate recognition. Carlyle believed that progress was due to “heroes” in history. He scorned the idea of democratic equality, exaggerated the importance of individual great men (On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, 1841), and failed to realize the dangers inherent in hero-worship. His capacity for throwing new light on familiar subjects was shown by Cromwell's Letters and Speeches (1845), which many regard as his historical masterpiece, and Frederick the Great (1858–65), his largest work.

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