The Collected Letters, Volume 2


TC TO JOHN TAYLOR; 21 November 1823; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18231121-TC-JTA-01; CL 2:475-476.


Kinnaird House, Dunkeld, 21st Novr 1823—

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to have kept you waiting for this worthless article. “Part. I.” owing to the total silence maintained on all hands respecting it, and to my own unfeigned disgust with the performance, had entirely gone out of my head: I was busied with other things, and had forgotten the existence of Schiller, when your letter recalled his “Life” to my recollection. I then threw aside as many other occupations as I could, and resumed the task: sickness and dulness and many interruptions have detained me at it till this day. Part III. I intend to finish, before taking any other business in hand: it is meant to be about as long as this.

I have or had a considerable series of such Lives in view—Alfieri, Voltaire, Rousseau &c—which might be arranged under heads, according to the psychological qualities of the men, the nature of their pursuits, or even their national characters—to give the undertaking that sort of unity and system, which one likes to see in such things. For the present, all this must be postponed. I have a translation from Goethe to print in Feby; and one of these days, I am to be the subject of a solemn conclave of Physicians. Should I in any tolerable degree recover, I have thoughts of seeing London in Summer; when I hope to meet with you, and talk of these and many other matters.

I am, / Dear Sir, / Most truly Your's, /

Thomas Carlyle.