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Main page » Non-Fiction » Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle

Sartor Resartus by Thomas Carlyle


The work is, in part, a parody of Hegel, and of German Idealism more generally. Sartor Resartus was intended to be a new kind of book: simultaneously factual and fictional, serious and satirical, speculative and historical. It ironically commented on its own formal structure, while forcing the reader to confront the problem of where 'truth' is to be found. In this respect it develops techniques used much earlier in Tristram Shandy, to which it refers. The imaginary "Philosophy of Clothes" holds that meaning is to be derived from phenomena, continually shifting over history, as cultures reconstruct themselves in changing fashions, power-structures, and faith-systems. The book contains a very Fichtean conception of religious conversion: based not on the acceptance of God but on the absolute freedom of the will to reject evil, and to construct meaning. This has led some writers to see Sartor Resartus as an early Existentialist text.Sartor Resartus was initially considered bizarre and incomprehensible by some, but had a limited success in America, where it was admired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, influencing the development of New England Transcendentalism, and by Herman Melville, whose Moby-Dick was strongly influenced by Carlyle.

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Tags: Thomas, Resartus, Influence, Origin, Teufelsdrckhs