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The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Vol. I   By: (1795-1881)

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1834 1872


"To my friend I write a letter, and from him I receive a letter. It is a spiritual gift, worthy of him to give, and of me to receive." Emerson

"What the writer did actually mean, the thing he then thought of, the thing he then was." Carlyle


The trust of editing the following Correspondence, committed to me several years since by the writers, has been of easy fulfilment. The whole Correspondence, so far as it is known to exist, is here printed, with the exception of a few notes of introduction, and one or two essentially duplicate letters. I cannot but hope that some of the letters now missing may hereafter come to light.

In printing, a dash has been substituted here and there for a proper name, and some passages, mostly relating to details of business transactions, have been omitted. These omissions are distinctly designated. The punctuation and orthography of the original letters have been in the main exactly followed. I have thought best to print much concerning dealings with publishers, as illustrative of the material conditions of literature during the middle of the century, as well as of the relations of the two friends. The notes in the two volumes are mine.

My best thanks and those of the readers of this Correspondence are due to Mr. Moncure D. Conway, for his energetic and successful effort to recover some of Emerson's early letters which had fallen into strange hands. Charles Eliot Norton

Cambridge, Massachusetts January 29, 1883


The hope that some of the letters missing from it when this correspondence was first published might come to light, has been fulfilled by the recovery of thirteen letters of Carlyle, and of four of Emerson. Besides these, the rough drafts of one or two of Emerson's letters, of which the copies sent have gone astray, have been found. Comparatively few gaps in the Correspondence remain to be filled.

The letters and drafts of letters now first printed are those numbered as follows:

Vol. I. XXXVI. Carlyle XLI. Emerson XLII. Carlyle XLVI. " XLVII. " LXVIII. "

Vol. II. C. Emerson CIV. Carlyle CV. " CVI. " CVII. " CVIII. " CIX. " CXII. " CXVI. " CXLIX. Emerson CLII. " CLXV. " CLXXXVI. "

Emerson's letter of 1 May, 1859 (CLXIV.), of which only fragments were printed in the former edition, is now printed complete, and the extract from his Diary accompanying it appears in the form in which it seems to have been sent to Carlyle.


December 31, 1884


Introduction. Emerson's early recognition of Carlyle's genius. His visit at Craigenputtock, in 1833. Extracts concerning it from letter of Carlyle, from letter of Emerson, and from English Traits.

I. Emerson. Boston, 14 May, 1834. First acquaintance with Carlyle's writings. Visit to Craigenputtock. Sartor Resartus, its contents, its diction. Gift of Webster's Speeches and Sampson Reed's Growth of the Mind.

II. Carlyle. Chelsea, 12 August, 1834. Significance of Emerson's gift and visit. Sampson Reed. Webster. Teufelsdrockh, its sorry reception. Removal to London. Article on the Diamond Necklace. Preparation for book on the French Revolution. Death of Coleridge.

III. Emerson. Concord, 20 November, 1834. Death of his brother Edward. Consolation in Carlyle's friendship. Pleasure in receiving stitched copy of Teufelsdrockh. Goethe. Swedenborgianism. Of himself. Hope of Carlyle's coming to America. Gift of various publications.

IV. Carlyle. Chelsea, 3 February, 1835. Acknowledgments and inquiries. Sympathy for death of Edward Emerson... Continue reading book >>

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