Sartor Resartus; The Life and Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh
London: Saunders and Otley, 1838. First London trade edition. Hardcover. Octavo (8 x 5"). XII, 310, pp (Publisher's advertisement). Original half cloth over paper covered boards, with printed title label on spine.
"Sartor Resartus" is Thomas Carlyle's most enduring and influential work. Originally published in serial form in "Fraser's Magazine" in 1833-1834, it was discovered by the American Transcendentalists.* Sponsored by Ralph Waldo Emerson, it was first printed as a book in Boston in 1836 and immediately became the inspiration for the Transcendental movement. The first London trade edition was published in 1838 (our copy). By the 1840s, largely on the strength of "Sartor Resartus," Carlyle became one of the leading literary figures in Britain.
The work is a fictional autobiography of a German philosopher called Diogenes Teufelsdröckh. Its deeper concerns are social injustice, the right way of living in the world, and the large questions of faith and understanding.
Spine sunned and partly frayed along edges. Moderate rubbing to covers. Front hinge starting. Previous owner's name in ink at upper margin of title page. Sporadic foxing throughout. Clear water-staining at lower margin of a few pages (not affecting lettering). Binding in overall fair, interior in good to very good condition. f to vg. Item #41508
* Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume, the transcendentalists operated with the sense that a new era was at hand. They were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and urged that each person find, in Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” (O, 3). Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing. By the 1840s they, along with other transcendentalists, were engaged in the social experiments of Brook Farm, Fruitlands, and Walden; and, by the 1850s in an increasingly urgent critique of American slavery.