The Collected Letters, Volume 10


TC TO JOHANN H. KÜNZEL ; 12 June 1838; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18380612-TC-JHK-01; CL 10: 92-93


[ca. 12 June 1838]

Dear Sir.

I believe we reckon it a very questionable thing in this country to publish anything about our lives. But I cannot think [of] altogether refusing such a request as yours.1 The Notes of that piece of paper are correct, and if an article is to be written on the subject, it had better be correct than otherwise. I do not augur well of the new translation of Faust: indeed if I mistake not, the very first word is an error.2 Besides have we not eight translations of Faust already?3 And it is the most insignificant work I think (except Werter) that bears the great Goethe's name.4

Believe me / truly yours / T. Carlyle. 5

[TC's autobiographical note]

Born 4th December 1795 in the village of Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland; of Peasant parents in tolerable circumstances, and distinguished, both of them, for faculty and worth. Educated at Edinburgh University, with a view first to the church, but quitted that; then to the Law, but quitted that also: quitted several things; came at last to Literature. Had learned German (a very rare language in England then) about 1820, from a comrade who had been to Göttingen. Published &c &c. Thanks Goethe and certain other Germans always for much. Has nearly quitted all study of German these seven years, and altogether quitted all Verbreitung [dissemination] of it, or speech about it,—seeing tha[t] go on fast enough without him. Has written two Books: Sartor Resartus; and The French Revolution;—which two let any one that wants to know him see.6