The Collected Letters, Volume 28


TC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 21 February 1853; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18530221-TC-JN-01; CL 28: 48-49


Chelsea, 21 feby, 1853—

Dear Neuberg,

On Saturday night late, the Parcels Company brought me a little soft Packet, containing certain printed unfolded sheets, and the Note here inclosed. The sheets, on being folded, turn out to be the worthy Dahlmann's Catalogue of Works on German History;1 evidently not a bad work of its kind, tho' on my particular department it does not seem to go very deep, or take the matter up very tightly. I will have it bound, and keep it, as of value intrinsic and extrinsic. It is due, I perceive, to the kindness of your friend Abel;2 whom, please, thank on my behalf.— If Dahlmann had told more distinctly his experience of the worth, and in many case of the total want of worth, of the Books he mentions, his Catalogue wd have been much usefuller.

There is something very sad to me in these Professorial Bearbeitungen [treatments] of German History old and new, as the tone and manner of them (for they are mostly all in one tone and manner) gets familiar to me. So academical, learned, and yet so totally in-human, void of any interest but a pedantic one. Why thresh the straw anew in every new generation? There is nothing to be had of it but dust and hard work!— — I regret exceedingly these people cannot be got to compose luculent Indexes of all sorts (whh they cd do so eminently well, if well commanded,—irrefragable Lists of Churfürste, Stifte, Schlächte [Electors, Foundations, Battles], Persons and Events, all illuminated and accessible,—with that important “if‘”!), above all things, to compose one good German Biographical Dictionary not of “Gelehrten” and Redenden, but of Siegreich-Wirksamen and Schweigenden3—— Oh Heavens, what is the use of wishing! Mit der Dummheit [with stupidity] &c.4— Yours ever truly

T. Carlyle