Carlyle T.-On Heroes Heroworship-the Heroic in History

Thomas Carlyle’s On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History remains one of the best repositories in English of the development in late Romanticism called heroic vitalism. The book, a series of six lectures that Carlyle delivered to London audiences in 1840, represents not so much soundly based ideas about the making of history as it does Carlyle’s view of how the world would be if powerful and inspired people were to have the power he thought they deserved.

The book thus became England’s contribution to the nineteenth century cult of the “great man,” a dream that was most seductively attractive to intellectuals forced to put their ideas in the marketplace with all the other merchants, but closed off from the real power that was being exercised in the newly industrialized world by economic entrepreneurs.