August 1843-March 1844

The Collected Letters, Volume 17


TC TO JOHN CHAPMAN ; 21 March 1844; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18440321-TC-JCH-01; CL 17: 314-315


5. Cheyne Row, Chelsea 21 March, 1844—


I have to thank you very kindly for your little volume on Human Nature;1 in which I trace with satisfaction the features of an earnest and piously meditative mind. My acknowledgements should have been earlier returned, but that many engagements have, as is too often the case, occupied all my hours.

What can be done for the Dial I do not well see. If it do perish, we may take this as a consolation, that Emerson has not thereby perished, nay perhaps is freer than ever thereby,—and that except him there was not often much in the Dial that seemed fated to a long life.2

German Literature too has been much a stranger to me for the last dozen years; and indeed, until it shew quite new phases, I think must continue so. With the ancient school, all gone now except Tieck, German Literature seems to have ended,—to have sunk down as low as other Literatures, and to mean henceforth almost nothing. Considerable good might probably be done by forwarding right (instead of wrong) Translations, or at least Extracts, Biographies &c of the chief men that did make for Germany a Literature properly so called: but of this also, I suppose, in the actual state of Authorship and Bookselling there is as good as no chance; this also, like so many other equally and more important things, must for the present go its blind course, whither it can.

Wishing you good insight and faithful purpose in such a confused element (which two are indeed but one wish, in all manner of ‘elements’ and circumstances), and promising you real success in some proportion thereto,

I remain, with many thanks / Yours truly

T. Carlyle