The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle: Volume 33: August 1857–June 1858

An issue of: The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle
Journal Issue Volume 33, Number 1 Number: 33 Published: 2005 An issue of The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle
The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle offer a window onto the lives of two of the Victorian world’s most accomplished, perceptive, and unusual inhabitants. Scottish writer and historian Thomas Carlyle and his wife, Jane Welsh Carlyle, attracted to them a circle of foreign exiles, radicals, feminists, revolutionaries, and major and minor writers from across Europe and the United States. The collection is regarded as one of the finest and most comprehensive literary archives of the nineteenth century.

At the opening of volume 33, which covers letters written between August 1857 and June 1858, Jane Welsh Carlyle is in Scotland visiting relatives and Thomas Carlyle is at home in Chelsea, working daily under an awning in the backyard and struggling with the proofs of the first two volumes of History of Frederick the Great as well as with research for future volumes. Thomas was disturbed both by the Panic of 1857 and by news of the Indian Mutiny and the behavior of British troops in that part of the empire. He was fiercely critical of the politicians and civil servants who trumpeted the merits of “progress,” “democracy,” and “civilization” while governing India with often brutal and repressive policies. Meanwhile, Jane was reading an early work by a new writer named George Eliot, to whom she wrote a fan letter that began “Dear Sir,” unaware that Eliot was in fact Mary Ann Evans, whom they had entertained in their home. In May, Thomas observed a gang of navvies, or day laborers, with picks and shovels, digging a foundation and uncovering ancient, gigantic bones. At the suggestion of paleontologist Richard Owen, the bones of the extinct Pliocene mammals-including a whale-were sold to a dealer to be ground into powder. During the same month, the separation of Charles Dickens and his wife, the former Catherine Hogarth, was the subject of many a conversation.

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Table of Contents Back to Top

1. Letters–August 1857–June 1858

2. Introduction

3. Chronology

4. Letters to the Carlyles

5. Biographical Notes

6. Key to References

7. Acknowledgments

Additional InformationBack to Top
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