Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy birthday, Thomas Carlyle

It is the birthday of Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle (1795), who is best known for his three-volume work, The French Revolution: A History (1837), a sweeping history of the revolution from 1789 to 1795. It is considered to be one of the most authoritative accounts of the earliest part of the revolution. Carlyle wrote it because his friend, British philosopher John Stuart Mill, was too busy. Mill had a contract to produce the book but was immersed in other projects so he suggested that Carlyle write it. Carlyle actually wrote the first volume of the book twice. He had sent his only manuscript to Mill but Mill's maid mistakenly burned it. So, Carlyle rewrote it, producing a book that he said came "direct and flamingly from the heart."

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