See edition of her letters by T. Bliss (1950); biography by E. A. Drew (1928, repr. 1973); studies by L. Hanson (1952), and J. Markus (2000); studies of the Carlyle marriage by T. Holme (1965, repr. 2000), P. Rose (1983), and R. Ashton (2003).
Carlyle studied (1809-14) at the Univ. of Edinburgh, intending to enter the ministry, but left when his doubts became too strong. He taught mathematics before returning to Edinburgh in 1818 to study law. However, law gave way to reading in German literature. He was strongly influenced by Goethe and the transcendental philosophers and wrote several works interpreting German romantic thought, including a Life of Schiller (1825) and a translation (1824) of Goethe's Wilhelm Meister.
In 1826 he married Jane Baillie Welsh, an acidly witty, well-informed, generally disagreeable, but ambitious woman who did much to further his career. Their marriage, one of the most famous literary unions of the 19th cent. and one of the most unhappy, is meticulously documented in the more than 9,000 letters still extant that they wrote one another. The Carlyles moved to Jane's farm at Craigenputtock in 1828. There he wrote Sartor Resartus (published 1833-34 in Fraser's Magazine), in which he told his spiritual autobiography. He saw the material world as mere clothing for the spiritual one. The God of his beliefs was an immanent and friendly ruler of an orderly universe. In denying corporeal reality, Carlyle reflected his revulsion for the materialism of the age. In 1832 Ralph Waldo Emerson went to Craigenputtock and began a friendship with Carlyle that was continued in their famous correspondence.
In 1834 the Carlyles moved to London to be near necessary works of reference for the projected French Revolution. Finally completed in 1837 (the first volume had been accidentally burned in 1835), the book was received with great acclaim. Although it vividly recreates scenes of the Revolution, it is not a factual account but a poetic rendering of an event in history. Carlyle extended his view of the divinity of man, particularly in his portraits of the great leaders of the Revolution.
In subsequent works Carlyle attacked laissez-faire theory and parliamentary government and affirmed his belief in the necessity for strong, paternalistic government. He was convinced that society does change, but that it must do so intelligently, directed by its best men, its "heroes." His lectures, published as On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History (1841), express his view that the great men of the past have intuitively shaped destiny and have been the spiritual leaders of the world.
Carlyle's other works expanded his ideas—Chartism (1840); Past and Present (1843), contrasting the disorder of modern society with the feudal order of 12th-century England; Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches (1845); Latter-Day Pamphlets (1850); Life of John Sterling (1851); and a massive biography of a hero-king, Frederick the Great, on which he spent the years 1852-65. In 1866 his wife died, and the loss saddened the rest of his life.
One of the most important social critics of his day, Carlyle influenced many men of the younger generation, among them Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin. His style, one of the most tortuous yet effective in English literature, was a compound of biblical phrases, colloquialisms, Teutonic twists, and his own coinings, arranged in unexpected sequences.
See his Reminiscences (1881) and numerous collections of his letters and his wife's; biographies by J. A. Froude (4 vol., 1882-84, repr. 1971) and D. A. Wilson (6 vol., 1923-34, repr. 1971; Vol. VI finished by D. W. MacArthur); studies by E. Neff (1932, repr. 1968), E. Bentley (1944), J. Symons (1952, repr. 1970), G. B. Tennyson (1966), and A. J. LaValley (1968); studies of the Carlyle marriage by T. Holme (1965, repr. 2000), P. Rose (1983), and R. Ashton (2003).
Carlyle is located approximately 50 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, and is home to Illinois' largest man-made lake, Carlyle Lake, and to the General Dean Suspension Bridge, a suspension bridge that is the only one of its kind in Illinois and crosses the Kaskaskia River.
There were 1,370 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 21.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,660, and the median income for a family was $48,056. Males had a median income of $35,977 versus $22,463 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,744. About 5.4% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.