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Friday, December 4, 2020

'The Soul of Past Time'

“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 in Scotland on this date in 1795, was a 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 that the heroes in our world often shaped people’s hopes and aspirations and created the basis for great writing, 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 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," Carlyle wrote.  "The greatest university of all is a collection of books.”




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