Sartor Resartus

ISBN: 0192836730
ISBN 13: 9780192836731
By: Thomas Carlyle Kerry McSweeney Peter Sabor

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About this book

'Sartor Resartus' ("The Tailor Retailored") is ostensibly an introduction to a strange history of clothing by the German Professor of Things in General, Diogenes Teufelsdrockh; its deeper concerns are social injustice, the right way of living in the world, and the large questions of faith and understanding. This is the first edition to present the novel as it originally appeared, with indications of the changes Carlyle made to later editions.

Reader's Thoughts


Absolutely dreadful, incomprehensible book that was the turning point in my master's degree. I decided not to do a ph.D after trying to read this dreck. I wanted a plot, dialogue, and real characters with a happy ending. The day I threw that book against the wall was the first day of the rest of my life :) A bit dramatic, but actually what really happened.


i have a sneaking suspicion that i shall forever be currently-reading this book.Update - suspicion confirmed. After the 4th attempt I think I've given up hope - it starts off well with some amazing language but nothing happens - and this is from someone who loves moby dick in which nothing happens for most of the book and someone who read gravity's rainbow in barely anything happens and it doesn't happen in incomprehensible ways - but then again, the only reason I read that was because I was in india by myself - perhaps I need similar seclusion to finally finish this one.


Thomas Carlyle’s one published fiction is this ragbag of satire, sarcasm and social commentary packaged as a spoof biography of the fictional German philosopher, Diogenes Teufelsdröckh. Sartor Resartus is clearly intended as social satire in the style of Jonathan Swift, using high-flown philosophical language to describe everyday items, in this case clothes. Happily, Carlyle keeps forgetting about the clothes, a clunky metaphor that produces such awful puns as “Clotha Virumque cano”.Of the three books, the first is a straight spoof of contemporary German philosophy, or more precisely how the philosophical writings of Kant and Fichte amongst others are translated into English. There are those dreadful German complex words that sound ludicrous in English. "Each is an implement," he says, "in its kind; a tag for hooking-together;” There is also the tendency of translators to include odd words and phrases in the original language. I have never understood why translators think that readers who cannot tell their ist from their est are likely to be enlightened by sprinkling the English with Dasein and différance. Carlyle underlines the point by deliberately mistranslating some of these terms. Does Teufelsdröckh mean, then, to give himself out as originator of that so notable Eigenthums-conservirende (“Owndom-conserving”) Gesellschaft and, if so, what, in the Devil’s name, is it? The second book is a spoof of contemporary German romantic literature that begins to sound painfully autobiographical. First we get the sentimental descriptions of motherhood and nature that could have come straight out of Goethe or Schiller. "Kind Nature, that art to all a bountiful mother; that visitest the poor man's hut with auroral radiance; and for thy Nursling hast provided a soft swathing of Love and infinite Hope, wherein he waxes and slumbers, danced-round (umgaukelt) by sweetest Dreams!” Our young “Gneschen” later complains bitterly about the dry manner in which classical languages were (and are) taught and the pointlessness of learning skills (in his case law) at university without the family connections required to be successful in that field. Poor Thomas, I mean Gneschen, has a miserable time earning a living. The last section drops most of the pretence of being a spoof biography. Although Teufelsdröckh is still the narrator, it is Carlyle ranting about the hypercritical way organised religion and governments treat the poor, and the awful conditions in which much of society is forced to live. Alas, poor devil! spectres are appointed to haunt him: one age he is hagridden, bewitched; the next, priestridden, befooled; in all ages bedevilled. – Sartor Resartus, Thomas Carlyle (circa 1831-34)


"The Tailor Retailored." This book is a gem. It is full of falsely attributed quotes, fabricated histories, inverted authorities, and patchworks of ideas all woven together to complete "Teufelsdrockh's "philosophy of clothes." This guy did it before Cathy Acker. Before Jorge Luis Borges. "Nay, farther art not thou too perhaps by this time made aware that all Symbols are properly Clothes; that all Forms whereby Spirit manifests itself to Sense, whether outwardly or in the imagination, are Clothes..."


A very complex read, but quite insightful once you get to the core of the message.


comic, mennippean 19th century novel that takes the form of an exegesis and biography of fictional philosopher Diogenes Teufelsdroeckh and his controversial discourse on clothes. DT's religious ramblings (The Everlasting Yea, etc.) remind me of the writing on Dr. Bronner's soap bottles, and the philosophizing on clothes-worship goes beyond dandyism and into total zaniness (legal rights for scarecrows, a gown that reigns on for years after its king has passed).

Robert Wechsler

Here's a book that is impossible for me to rate. And it is the reason I have not rated most of the books I read in my youth. I wrote my college thesis on this book, but when I came back to it in my 50s, I couldn't read it. Carlyle's baroque prose, which thrilled me so much at 21, drove me crazy at 51.I know that this is one of the great works of the English language, that it even helped create the modern English language (e.g., the word "environment" in its modern sense occurred first in this book), that this book helped lead to such disparate things as Christian Science (it was first published in book form by Emerson in New England) and Dickens. Its importance is undeniable, and its pleasures are myriad.And yet I can't read it anymore. Nor can I, for example, read early Pynchon anymore, or most Romantic poetry. On the other hand, I love Faulkner far more than I did when I was young. One changes.It is horrifying that this book has a 3.64 overall rating. Is it only a little better than average? Paradise Lost has a 3.75 rating, and I think it is the greatest work in the English language. Other languages would kill to have it. To hear it recited from memory, as I have, is an incomparable experience. So much for ratings.


Alright, so he's an old bastard. I know. He was generally wrong-headed and entirely conceited. He's also hilarious and witty. I would that all those who disagree with me could do so in such a pleasing fashion.


نسخة إلكترونية في 250 صفحةتوماس كارليل لم يسبق لي أن أطلع على كتابٍ له قبل هذا ، أما فلسفة الملابس فإن العنوان يُعتبر شيء غريب بادئًا وخيّل إليّ في البدء أنه حول الملابس وحسب ، كنت أظنه سيربط الملابس بالحالات النفسية التي تعتري المرء كما قد كتب أحد الأستاذة أن العقاد كان يقول " وحتى الملابس يضع فيها الإنسان شيء من نفسه " هذا فقط ما ظننته وحزرت قبل أن أغوص في هذا العالم المتلاطِم والتأملات السردية المنفسحة آمادًا ودهرًا كان كل فصل وجزء يأخذ بي كل مأخذ وإن الإنسان أتخذ الملابس في عصره الأول من أجل الزينة ! أنا لا أتأمل في الملابس العتيقة إلا بأنها خرقًا وأسمالًا ولكنه يقول : إن الملابس القديمة حريٌ بنا أن نتأملها أهي لو كان رئيس أو لورد يرتديها كنّا سنقيم له احتفاءً ؟ طبعًا لا ، إذًا فالملابس ليست أثوابًا وأنسجة بل هي رموز .. الفصل الذي تحدّث فيه عن الرموز كان رائعا جدا بالنسبةِ لي ، وقال أن الرموز منها ما له فضيلة عرضية كملابس الأعياد والأعلام الحربية وهكذا ومنها ما له فضيلة جوهرية وهم الأبطال والملهمين !ثم تحدّث كثيرا عن الزمان والمكان وكيف أنها تتحكّم في هذا الإنسان ولو نظرنا للأطفال لما وجدنا أنّهم يأسفون على شيءٍ لأنّ إحساسِهم بالزمان والمكان لم يبدأ بعد ،وكان يقول " سيلتهمني الوقت قبل الأوان " بين كل صفحة وأخرى يقف وينادي يا أيّها الإنسان ...، يا أيّها الإنسان / ثم إن الإنسان في هذا العالم الفسيح لم يكشف عن شيء من هذا الكون وهذه الطبيعة وحاله كسمكة صغيرة تعيّ ما حولها ولا تدرك مدى عمق المحيطات وتوسّعها وما تحوي وما تحتها ..، ثم وقف مع فئة " المتأنقين " في الفصل السادس من هذا الكتاب إن لم أُخطئ ، وقال عنهم " عبّاد النفس " وكيف أنّ الروايات الحديثة تحرّضهم على ما هم فيه وحينما تطرّق لإشعال الأرواح بعضها لبعضٍ ما دام في جوفها بذرةٌ حيّة ! كان إحساسه هنا عظيما ولا سيما وأنه لم يكن يدر بخلدهِ أن هناك من سيحنّ عليه بله يحبّه وأن هذا الأرواحِ إذا أحبّت بعضها فكأنّها سابحة في السماء وخاصّة لو كان الحبّ بين قطبين مختلفين " رجلٌ وامرأه " وكيف كان حبّه ثم كيف انتهى وأي فلسفة أتخذها بعد هذه الصدمة التي واجهها الكتاب بمجملة محيّر ، عالم كثّ غني ليت أن له ملخصًا كنّت ربما اتّسعتُ فيه إبحارًا ، هو يجيء لكل شيء حولنا من تأمّلهِ الروحاني ، والفقر والجوع والحياة والإنسان كلّها من هذا الشقّ يتأملها لا أدري حقيقةً هل خرجتُ منه بشيء أم لأ هذا السؤال الذي ألقيه الآن على نفسي ..ترجمة طه السباعي عظيمة بحق


Part of me hated this book (we only read book 1) and part of me loved Carlyle's use of philosophy and spiritual masks. This was high language in the 19th century and is surely high language almost 200 years later. Overall I somewhat enjoyed it only because of his deep comparisons for something so simple as that of clothes.

Andrew Schirmer

They simply don't make 'em like they used to...Sartor Resartus is one of Carlyle's supreme creations, to be sat alongside the towering achievement of his French Revolution. It's a sort of novel-cum-philosophical-treatise-cum-satire, a lumbering behemoth full of ideas and overheated prose. Did I mention that it's also rather funny. This is a great book to read drunk as, presumably, many in the 19th century did. From out of a cloud of pipe smoke comes Diogenes Teufelsdroeckh, a professor of "Allerley-Wissenschaft" (Things in General) at the University of Weissnichtwo (Who Knows Where) who has affected to form a "Philosophy of Clothes" (Kleider). The narrator has discovered this work, and presents key passages with digressions, as well the story of Professor Teufelsdroekh himself. As the work progresses, the elements constituting a Philosophy of Clothes are only gradually revealed until nearly the end of the book, when, in high satire, we encounter the dandiacal body: What Teufelsdroekh would call a 'Divine Idea of Cloth' is born with him; and this, like other such Ideas, will express itself outwardly, or wring his heart asunder with unutterable throes. But, like a generous, creative enthusiast, he fearlessly makes his Idea an Action; shows himself in peculiar guise to mankind; walks forth, a witness and living Martyr to the eternal worth of Clothes. We called him a Poet; is not his body the (stuffed) parchment-skin whereupon he writes, with cunning Huddersfield dyes, a Sonnet to his mistress' eyebrow? Say, rather, an Epos, and Clotha Virumque cano [ha! -ed], to the whole world, in Macaronic verses, which he that runs may read...Is it a skewering of a sort of materialism? I am not very well-read in philosophy, and therefore am perhaps unqualified to evaluate this work as it pertains to that discipline. It would be a pleasure to enroll in a seminar on Carlyle and German idealism and truly tease out all the references in this dense work. My opinions of this work, and undoubtedly those of other readers as well, are perhaps best summed up by Carlyle himself. It were a piece of vain flattery to pretend that this Work on Clothes entirely contents us; that it is not, like all works of genius, like the very Sun, which, though the highest published creation, or work of genius, has nevertheless black spots and troubled nebulosities amid its effulgence,--a mixture of insight, inspiration, with dulness, double-vision, and even utter blindness.


SARTOR RESARTUS. (1835). Thomas Carlyle. ***.I couldn’t finish it. I gave it three stars out of guilt because I know it is an important book, both in the career of Carlyle and in the progress and support of the Transcendental movement. It was highly praised by Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. It is typically included as an additional reading assignment in courses in literature and philosophy. I couldn’t finish it. What it is is a review of a book by an editor – presumably Carlyle – of a manuscript delivered to him in six separate bags. The title of the manuscript is Sartor Resartus. That means, in Latin, “The Tailor Patched.” It represents the thoughts and philosophy of its writer, Herr Diogenes TeufelsdrÖckh, who was a German professor of “Allerly Wissenschaft” or, “Things in General, in the University of Weissnichtwo (literally, ‘I know not where.’ The thesis of this work was that clothes and their history were a reflection of both the past and future of mankind. The tailor in this case was the great “Clothes Philosopher,” and the patching being done by Carlyle as his editor. Finding unknown manuscripts is pretty common these days, but it may well have been novel in Carlyle’s day – although I can think of earlier examples. As the editor, Carlyle never really presents the manuscript, but quotes extensively from it. He uses these quotes to both describe the work and to bolster his own philosophies. The author uses a variety of attributes for clothing. For example, Names. “The Name is the earliest garment you wrap around the earth-visiting ME; to which it thenceforth cleaves, more tenaciously (for there are Names that have lasted nigh thirty centuries) than the very skin.” Lots of the work is also a chance for Carlyle to make fun of the over-serious German philosophers of his day – even though much of his work involved the translation of several of the German classics. There is a lot here in this book, but you (at least I did) must be close to an encyclopedic reference work (like the internet) to give meaning to Carlyle’s turgid expositions. The style is so pedantic and superior that one cannot read this at any kind of normal speed. I found myself reading the same sentence several times before I finally got its meaning. I hate to admit it, but I’ve passed that stage in my life where I have to approach a book like that.


When I first began reading this book, I felt like it was grammatical insanity. The long, twisting and turning sentences that didn't seem to end just put me right to sleep. I mean, I actually left the book by my bedside and used it as a sleep aide. For this reason, I was glad to have found it. But then one day, years later, I found a bunch of photocopied pages from the text and not knowing they were Carlyle's I became very absorbed in them. It was strange because Carlyle's writing is pretty easy to ID. I think that a person has to be in a certain mood or mental orientation to read Carlyle. This is not a book that should be assigned because it easily becomes work. But if you just pick it up without any pressure and surrender yourself to the context that he creates, it can be thought-provoking and entertaining.

Matthew Dentice

Every so often, there comes along a book that seems to have been written specifically for you at this particular point in your life. For me, that book was Sartor Resartus, Thomas Carlyle's life of his fictional "philosopher of clothing," the eminent but highly eccentric Diogenes Teufelsdrockh, Professor of Things in General at the Rational University of Weissnichtwo, Germany. The novel begins as a hilarious and highly-entertaining satire but evolves into an extended meditation about finding the strength to believe in God despite the sorrows and hardships of life in an unbelieving world. Humorous and profound by turns - and often at the exact same time - Sartor Resartus is a very special little book and one I cannot praise highly enough.


If ever a book can be described as different is this, ostensibly a book about a book about fashion this is a satire on a type of book that was possibly around a lot at that time and is still recognisable today, when he writes about being unable to read books highly recommended by the pretentiarati you feel for him having likewise having attempted to read recent booker winners.Good for bragging rights towards those who think Hilary Mantel is Da Bomb.

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