[Chapter 6, note 12, of the author's Carlyle and the Search for Authority, which the Ohio State University Press published in 1991. It appears in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright. indicates a link to material not in the original print version. GPL]

Carlyle strongly identifies with, yet vehemently rejects, both positions. His narrative of Irving-the "uncommon man" who arrives in London to great acclaim, holds audiences captive with "Rhadmanthine expositions of duty and ideal," but then has his "Prophecy" rejected as heresy-closely parallels his own career (232, 283, 278; see 254, 288ff.). Although he does not identify as closely with Jeffrey, he cannot help discovering affinities with the man he classes as the greatest literary critic of his time and a "Scotch Voltaire" (340, 341; see Skabarnicki, "Annandale Evangelist," 27-28). The latter suggests an indirect link as well, since there are numerous affinities between Carlyle and the Voltaire of Frederich the Great who, like Carlyle, is a solitary Ishmael (3: 187, 4:409, 5:237 et al.), considers giving up literature when condemned for his heterodoxy (4:453), writes on Mohammed, and becomes dyspeptic (5:333).


Contents last modified 26 October 2001