Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Carlyle's Essays

In Charlie Byrne's the other day I got for a mere €4 an odd volume of Thomas Carlyle's Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. What a wonderful character, one can imagine his wife Jane saying to him - "Tom you ought not to read that if it upsets you so much". Yes, fatwas would have gathered about his prophetic head like the rooks of even at Drumcliffe church. By the bye In 'Bell, Book and Candle' I got a selection of critical writings edited by Harold Bloom on Carlyle, Weymouth Sands by John Cowper Powys and The Nature of Metaphysical Thinking by Dorothy Emmet. That completes the voting of the metaphysical jury.

Speaking of Diderot and his approach to Marriage, T.C. writes
"True, O Denis! the rock crumbles away: all things are changing; man changes faster than most of them. That in the mean while, an Unchangeable lies under all this, and looks forth, solemn and benign, through the whole destiny and workings of man, is another truth; which no Mechanical Philosophe, in the dust of his logic-mill, can be expected to grind-out for himself. Man changes and will change: the question then arises, Is it wise in him to tumble forth, in headlong obedience to this love of change; is it so much as possible for him?"

There's no date of publication of this volume but the selection from the catalogue of Chapman and Hall's Publications shows the date December 1st. 1888. We are offered Untrodden Paths in Roumania by Mrs. Walker and Paddy at Home or Ireland and the Irish at the Present Time, as seen by a Frenchman (Baron E. de Mandat-Grancy) A surprising number of writers have military background, Majors, Colonels and Generals e.g. Tiger Shooting in the Doon and Ulmer, and Life in India.

Patrick Melvin who indited his name so boldly to the inside cover, had left uncut pages even in the essay on Diderot which he has marked with an x. What a pleasure it is to cut them as though one were releasing a noetic genie.

1 comment:

Cormac said...

Hi Ombhurbhuva,I keep thinking of that mountain pass, the prayer flag,the cold fingers,the village a days walk away.Could it be conjured from the mist that rises from the valley? It was the most generous prayer.