“In every phenomenon, the beginning remains always the most notable moment. Everywhere in life, the true question is not what we gain, but what we do.” – Thomas Carlyle
Carlyle, born this day in 1795, was a Scottish philosopher, teacher and journalist whose work was influential on a generation of Victorian era writers, including Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was mesmerized by the concept of how it was the heroes in our world who shaped people’s hopes and aspirations and created the basis for great writing – or writer’s moments, if you will. Primarily an essayist for several major newspapers, he also wrote a dozen books, the most famous being On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History.
Beyond his writing he was a champion for the establishment of great libraries. Often frustrated with the lack of good books in society, he was instrumental in founding the London Library and making books available to a broader reading public.
“In books,” he wrote, “lies the soul of the whole Past Time; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.”
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