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CHARLES ELIOT NORTON
AS A MARK OF ADMIRATION
FOR HIS CHARACTER AS A MAN OF LETTERS
HIS DEFENSE OF CARLYLE'S MEMORY
Mein Vermächtniß, wie herrlich weit und breit !
AMERICA's part in Carlyle is not small. When he was still, in his own country and among his own people, a prophet without honor and sometimes almost without bread, he received from New England the three things he needed most, —- money, literary recognition, and a friend. not too much to say that the chance visit of an American proved to be the turning-point in Carlyle's career.
To Emerson's memorable voyage of discovery to Craigenputtoch in 1832, the beginnings of Carlyle's worldly prosperity and of his influence on this side of the Atlantic, are directly traceable. But for Emerson's generous admiration of them, Carlyle's earliest works would certainly not have been published in Boston before they had made head in London ; and but for the unselfishness and business talent of Concord's philosophical dreamer, the proceeds of the sales might never have reached the rightful owner in Cheyne Row. Not in vain did he "summon all the Yankee” in him, and "multiply and divide like a lion." But money and fame were as dust in the balance, weighed against the treasure of a true friendship. What value Carlyle set upon it is to be seen in almost every page of the Emerson correspondence. Again, in criticism no earlier praise is so just or so ample as Thoreau's. Carlyle's very insult to the Republic in the hour of its extremity, followed as it was at once by
his earnest desire for reparation, bound him closer to that new world he never saw. When the time came for him to set his house in order, he left to an American university as well as to his own Edinburgh, a token of affectionate regard, an appropriate peace-offering of his books. Since his death, an American man of letters has proved the truest friend of his reputation by putting in the way of every one who cares to make the trial, those personal documents which correct the inadvertent errors, and downright distortions of Carlyle's great biographer and 'literary executor. from an American city, sixty years ago, that the first edition of Sartor Resartus issued in book form; and it is not unfitting that from the same city should now come, this, the first attempt to deal systematically with the difficulties the book presents.
The aim of the present edition is threefold: to make a book which is admitted to be worthy of study, and has the name of being dark, easier of comprehension to the average undergraduate and general reader; to show clearly and in detail the relations between this spiritual autobiography and the actual life of Carlyle, which have hitherto been either vaguely stated or only suspected to exist; and to demonstrate the process by which the book grew. The first intention includes the other two, and is the most important of all. The study of the writings necessary for these two lesser purposes has brought about this desirable result, — the editor has been kept in the background, and the great man has himself furnished the commentary to his own text. Incidentally, the close scrutiny of Sartor has brought to light a number of curious errors, such as may befall even a man of genius, when he leans too hard upon the best of