Thackeray pp 33-39 | Cite as

Big, Fierce, Weeping, Hungry, but Not Strong

  • Thomas Carlyle


Sources given in the Notes, or after items. Carlyle (1795–1881) was acquainted with Thackeray from the early 1830s; soon they were both contributing to Fraser’s, and they both appear in Maclise’s 1835 drawing of the Fraserians. By 1840 they were on regular visiting terms. Thackeray, in that year, wrote of him and his wife Jane, ‘pleasanter more high-minded people I don’t know’ (LPP, i, 413). In 1841 Carlyle, referring to Thackeray’s wife’s insanity, remarked, ‘he is very clever, with pen and pencil; an honest man, in no inconsiderable distress! He seems as if he had no better place, of all the great places he once knew, than our poor house to take shelter in!’ — Charles Richard Sanders, ‘The Carlyles and Thackeray’, in Nineteenth-Century Literary Perspectives, ed. Clyde de L. Ryals (Durham, N. C., 1974) p. 172. At this period Thackeray, like many of his generation, was considerably influenced by Carlyle. Later they grew more distant, socially and in outlook, and Thackeray was much annoyed by Carlyle’s ‘blind fiddler’ charge (see below) in 1846. ‘Gurlyle’ — his hate-nickname for him — ‘is immensely grand and savage now’, he wrote in 1848, and a recent essay of his ‘seems like insanity almost [in its] contempt for all mankind, and the way in wh he shirks from all argument when called upon to préciser his own remedies for the state of things’ (LPP, ii, 366).


Poor House Time Review Great Place Recent Essay Literary Ability 
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  1. 10.
    T. Wemyss Reid, Richard Monckton Milnes (1890) 11, 113.Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    Moncure D. Conway, Autobiography, Memories and Experiences (1905) 11, 4.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Review of J. A. Froude’s Carlyle’s Life in London in Fortnightly Review n.s., xxxvi (1884) 605. Dickens is referred to as ‘Schnüspel’ in Past and Present (1843) Bk II, ch. 3.Google Scholar
  4. 15.
    Charles Gavan Duffy, Conversations with Carlyle (1892) pp. 76–7. Carlyle, it is piquant to notice, regarded both of these great novelists as having a chief ‘faculty’ or ‘skill’ for something other than literature.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    Francis Espinasse, Literary Recollections and Sketches (1893) pp. 215–16.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1983

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  • Thomas Carlyle

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