Wonder, Metaphor and Fact

  • Michael Timko


The unique character of the Carlylean-Novalian image reflected in the mountain passage cited above becomes even clearer when one remembers Carlyle’s sense of wonder, a word he uses often implicitly and explicitly. He had written not only of mighty glimpses into the ‘spiritual Universe’ and the possibility of ‘supernatural (really natural) influences’; he had also talked of every living man being a ‘living mystery: he walks between two Eternities and two Infinitudes’. Perhaps Carlyle’s attitude is summed up best by his statement: ‘Wonderful Universe! Were our eyes but opened, what a “secret” were it that we daily see and handle, without heed!’ (2NB, p. 142). Carlyle’s sense of wonder and his constant use of the word ‘miracle’ are connected, of course, with his emphasis on the ‘Spiritual Force’ behind the laws of Nature, and these concepts also reflect his attitude towards art. His ideas and his way of expressing them metaphorically are linked.


Mountain Passage Metaphorical Thought Dung Heap Natural Imagery Divine Idea 
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Copyright information

© Michael Timko 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Timko
    • 1
  1. 1.City University of New YorkUSA

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