A short note on Thomas Carlyle’s work “Sartor Resartus”

Sartor Resartus is Thomas Carlyle’s original work, written in 1833 and 1834. The work is deeply personal and could be viewed as an allegorical autobiography, despite its Germanic method and inspiration. Actually, the work was written with the German Romantic School of thought in mind. It is still very much Germanic in both its content and approach. The Germanic expression “sartor resartus” means “the tailor re-patched.” There are two parts to the work. The Germanic title refers to a discussion of clothing philosophy in the first section. The second section is about a fictional German professor named Teufelsdrockh, whose philosophical speculations the first section is based on.

The work is based on one’s own life, as previously stated. The hero is Teufelsdrockh, a fictional German professor who has composed a philosophical treatise on clothes, their history, and their influence. Carlyle wrote the German professor’s speech, and the book is a record of his own spiritual journeys and moral visions. Naturally, the allegorical aspect of Jonathan Swift’s A Tale of a Tub may have been a source of inspiration for Carlyle. However, the author’s use of cloth, a common material, to express the highly speculative Germanic transcendentalism doctrine is considered original. The clothes, which are used as veils and disguises, are cleverly allegorised to show the deeper truth about how people think and act. The act of covering what is real, true within, which is man’s heart, is referred to as “cloak.”

Sartor Resartus is a serious treatise that marks Carlyle’s depth of thought, range of vision, and force of passion. The interplay of rich imagination and intense irony adds to its vigorous, poetic prose style. Indeed, in its rare blend of imagination and irony, sincerity and impulsiveness, spiritualism and symbolism, Sartor Resartus remains a unique prose work in English literature.

Also read: Fredric Jameson(1934-); Biography and famous works