1824- 1825

The Collected Letters, Volume 3


TC TO GEORGE BOYD; 8 January 1824; DOI: 10.1215/lt-18240108-TC-GBO-01; CL 3:7-8.


Kinnaird House, 8th Jany, 1824—

Dear Sir,

I came down to Edinr, about six week ago partly, that I might consult you [about] the printing of this Wilhelm Meister; I found you absent, and got but a lame account of the matter from your representatives; to-day I have heard that you were returned, and I address you again on the subject.

I am to be in Edinr about the last day of this month; after which I am to have two months' leave of absence for the purpose of accomplishing my engagement with you. That done I go to London and Cornwall and France and the Lord knows whither. Thus you see how it stands: On the very first day of February I shall be ready to begin (having already near a volume before hand); and the whole undertaking must be finished before the first of April. I hope it will be easily in your power to manage all this. The arrangements about paper and type and so forth I leave entirely in your own hands; believing that they will be well attended to, and that Goethe in his English coat may not disgrace the furnishers.

As I went farther into the work I conceived better hopes of its success. Blackwood in a criticism of some work two months ago said: “We are glad to see Messrs Oliver and Boyd announce a forthcoming translation of Meister. This is beginning at the right place”—or words to that effect, the reading of which (much as I despise Blackwood) rather did me good.1 We shall furnish Goethe with a preface; put him into standard English;—in clear sharp types and good paper; and then send him forth to seek his fortune, fearlessly as others do.

I shall be glad to hear from you on this subject, if you have any alteration to propose. If I hear nothing, I shall consider it as settled in this manner.

I remain, / Dear Sir, / Your's faithfully, /

Thomas Carlyle—