Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Beinecke Digital Collections

Thomas Carlyle

Photo by [[Elliott & Fry]], {{circa}}1860s Thomas Carlyle (4 December 17955 February 1881) was a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, translator, historian, mathematician, and teacher. Considered one of the most important social commentators of his time, he presented many lectures during his lifetime with certain acclaim in the Victorian era. One of those conferences resulted in his famous work ''On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History'' where he argued that the key role in history lies in the actions of the "Great Man", claiming that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men".

A respected historian, his 1837 book ''The French Revolution: A History'' was the inspiration for Charles Dickens' 1859 novel ''A Tale of Two Cities'', and remains popular today. Carlyle's 1836 ''Sartor Resartus'' is a notable philosophical novel.

A great polemicist, Carlyle coined the term "the dismal science" for economics, in his essay "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question", which remains controversial. He also wrote articles for the ''Edinburgh Encyclopædia''. Once a Christian, Carlyle lost his faith while attending the University of Edinburgh, later adopting a form of deism.

In mathematics, he is known for the Carlyle circle, a method used in quadratic equations and for developing ruler-and-compass constructions of regular polygons.
Showing 1 - 16 of 26 for search: 'Carlyle, Thomas 1795-1881', query time: 0.36s
View: List list Grid grid


Expand Your Search

Search our local catalog, finding aids, and more.

Need assistance?

Ask a librarian.