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14 January 2011


Sarah AB

He sounds most congenial - speaking as someone who finds both Carlyle and much 'theoretical' writing pretty scary.


I'm going straight to Abebooks to buy Gross's book. That analysis of Carlyle is wonderful and twice as readable as anything by Carlyle himself. Have you ever been to Carlyle's house in Chelsea? I enjoyed visiting it a lot, partly because the National Trust types who run it are almost as odd as the Carlyles themselves were.


I haven't read any Carlyle - I've read "about" him, which is bad but takes up less time. I only visit the houses of writers whose works I know well eg Johnson's house, which is excellent. However, I imagine Carlyle's house would be interesting as you could see how middle class intellectuals lived in Victorian times.

Walter Scott's house in Abbotsford is amazing as it looks like a Gothic villa from the suburbs of Edinburgh, the sort of place that belongs to a banker or merchant, banged down in fine countryside and stuffed full of objects he collected - including a Maori club.

Andrew Coates

It is indeed a wonderful book: stands on my bookshelf.

At home I only have the First edition, but read the second in the library.

Gissing and Grub Street, there's so much in there.

Sorry to hear about the death.

organic cheeseboard

the core of his ideas about theory is hard to argue with but I would take issue with this:

The belittling of the belle lettrist, the person who writes as he pleases, is a bottom a demand for ideological conformity.

I'm sure many theory types do that, but some of the most imp[ortant theorists seem to be jut as easily categorizable as belle lettrists - Susan Sontag, Edward Said, Terry Eagleton, Jacqueline Rose...


Have you read Scott - I think that is very admirable and unusual these days. If you have, is he enjoyable?

Brigada Flores Magon

A sad loss and you have honoured him well in this post. Was it William Morris who said that Carlyle should have had someone standing by him constantly to punch his head every so often? The Chelsea house is OK but the birthplace in Ecclefechan is the real thing. And Jeannie was and is a better writer--there's a fine selection from her letters entitled, sadly rather too aptly, 'I Too Am Here.'

Brigada Flores Magon

PS Sad anorak stuff but I must be one of the few people [apart from the late Dr Goebbels] to have read all six volumes of 'The Life of Frederick the Great'. Why did I do that?

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