This biography of Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was published in the first series of English Men of Letters in 1892. The author, John Nichol (1833-94), who also wrote on Byron for the series, was an author, poet and critic who was for many years professor of English literature at the University of Glasgow, and who moved in the same intellectual circles as Carlyle, though as he states in his prefatory note, he knew him only slightly. Nichol acknowledges his indebtedness in this work to J. A. Froude, Carlyle's friend, disciple and biographer, but his portrait of the 'master spirit of his time' does not attempt to gloss over the notorious difficulties of Carlyle's personality. Several chapters are devoted to the reception of his works, their influence and the likelihood of their continuing importance: Nichol concludes that Carlyle was 'in truth, a prophet, and he has left his gospels'.
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