London: Chapman and Hall, 1869. Item #02801
The Many Writings of
A Many-Sided Genius
CARLYLE, Thomas. Thomas Carlyle's Collected Works. [With] Translations From the German by Thomas Carlyle. Uniform with His Collected Works. London: Chapman and Hall, 1869-1874.
Library Edition. Thirty-four octavo volumes (8 1/8 x 5 1/4 in; 207 x 133 mm). Engraved frontispieces and plates.
Uniformly bound by Morrell ca. 1930 in three-quarter crushed brown levant morocco over brown cloth ruled in gilt. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively gilt lettered and tooled in compartments. Two volumes professionally repaired at top of spines. A near fine set.
The Library edition, originally issued in 30 volumes 1869-71, with three additional volumes (translations from the German) added in 1871 and also a thirty-fourth volume as General Index .
The most lavish edition published within Carlyle's lifetime, the Library Edition sold for 6 to 9 shillings per volume (or £15 the set).
"In literature [Carlyle] was the pioneer who explored and made known the work of modern Germany. His literary judgments were penetrating, and (when he had a congenial subject) just; and on men like Voltaire, Burns, and Johnson he gave verdicts that approached finality. At a historian he is in the highest rank. Bating certain unimportant errors of detail, he illumined the past with astonishing insight and made his personages actual and his scenes dramatic. His style is an extraordinary farrago, leaping not flowing, coining strange words and performing extravagant evolutions; yet cumulatively it impresses as a great style, suffused with humor, irony, and passion; impossible to imitate, utterly personal, burning, and convincing.
"'Carlyle's genius,' wrote Hector Macpherson, 'was many-sided. He touched and ennobled the national life at all points. He lifted a whole generation of young men out of the stagnating atmosphere of materialism and dead orthodoxy into the region of the ideal. With the Master of Balliol, we believe that 'no English writer has done more to elevate and purify our ideas of life and to make us conscious that the things of the spirit are real, and that in the last resort there is no other reality'" (British Authors of the Nineteenth Century, pp. 115-118).
The London bindery of W. T. Morrell was established c. 1861 as successor to the firm begun by Francis Bedford, who, in turn, had assumed control of the esteemed bindery of Charles Lewis. Sarah T. Prideaux, in "Modern Bookbindings," states that Morrell had a very large business that supplied "all the booksellers with bindings designed by his men," bindings that were "remarkable for their variety and merit."