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"had the power to develop in himself the essentials of what is good and beautiful," he met Robert Burns, - literally on his own ground, — and looked into his face with the level, searching, yet sympathetic glance of a reader of men.
THE WRITINGS OF CARLYLE
SINCE the Essay on Burns not only lights the way to a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of the poems of Burns, but also may serve as a natural introduction to the subsequent writings of Carlyle, it remains to speak briefly of the latter. The outward events of Carlyle's life from now on were comparatively few and unimportant. In the spring of 1834 he left Craigenputtock for London, where he settled at No. 5 Cheyne (pronounced Chainey) Row in the suburb of Chelsea, two miles west of the city on the north bank of the Thames. This was to be his home for nearly half a century, or until the day of his death, February 5, 1881; here he resided continuously with the exception of annual visits to his old home in Scotland, and a few short trips to Ireland, France, and Germany. In the work done here during the next thirty years is to be found his truest biography, the sincere reflection
of his life. Before leaving Craigenputtock, however, he had written what is perhaps still the most famous of his works-Sartor Resartus- which was "mythically autobiographical."
The following rough classification of Carlyle's most mportant writings may serve as a guide to further reading. They may be divided into four groups. To the first group belong the translations from the German (1823-1826). To the second belong the biographies and the biographical and critical essays, including the Life of Schiller (1824), Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches (1840-1845), Heroes and Hero Worship (1841), the Life of John Sterling (1850), and most of the Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, among which of special value are the essays on Burns (1828), Voltaire (1829), Goethe's Works (1832), Boswell's Life of Johnson (1832), and Diderot (1833). In a third group might be placed the historical and ethical writings, the essay on Signs of the Times (1829), Sartor Resartus (1831), the essay on Characteristics (1831), the French Revolution (1843– 1847), the essay on Chartism (1839), Past and Present (1843), Latter Day Pamphlets (1850), and the History of Frederick the Great (1851-1865). Sartor Resartus, the essay on Characteristics, and Past and Present will be found to be the best introduction to Carlyle's political and ethical ideas.
THE TEXT OF THE ESSAY ON BURNS
The way in which the manuscript of the Essay on Burns was received by the editor of the Edinburgh Review is an illustration of the rather too well worn dictum that the contemporary critic is not always the best judge of a creation of genius. Jeffrey thought the article long and diffuse. Though he admitted that "it contained much beauty and fitness of diction,” he insisted that it must be cut down to perhaps half its dimensions. Consequently when the proof-sheets finally reached the author himself, a good deal of the Essay was missing. Carlyle found "the first part cut all into shreds the body of a quadruped with the head of a bird, a man shortened by cutting out his thighs and fixing the knee-caps on the hips." He refused to let it appear "in such a horrid shape." Replacing the most important passages, he returned the sheets with an intimation that the article might be withheld altogether, but should not be mutilated. Fortunately for the readers of the Review, Jeffrey acquiesced and caused the article to be printed in very nearly its original form.1
1 The following passages do not appear in the form the article finally took in the Edinburgh Review: pp. 28-31, "Of this last excellence,... I'll nae mair trouble them nor thee, O";
In 1839 Carlyle's most important articles were col lected and republished in four volumes, entitled Criti cal and Miscellaneous Essays. Among these was the Essay on Burns. The revisions made by Carlyle in preparing the Essay for republication are of exceptional interest. They afford glimpses into his literary workshop, and permit us to see how he handled his tools, not those, to be sure, which are used. in blocking out and executing the main body of the work, but those of finer edge and temper which serve to bring out the more subtle shades of meaning or to point a keener emphasis. A list of some of the revised passages, printed side by side with the origi nal versions, is given below. After the student has read the Essay, and has seen into its larger organic structure, and has learned to keep step with the swing and onward movement of the style, it will pay him to turn his attention back to some of these finer points of workmanship. Just why was this particular change made by Carlyle? In just what way was this sentence improved as to its clearness, strength, coherence, or eternal fitness? In order to answer such questions as these, it will be found necessary in nearly
Baited with many a
pp. 38-39, "But has it not been said,