Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Dying to KnowScientific Epistemology and Narrative in Victorian England$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

George Levine

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226475363

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226475387.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Carlyle, Descartes, and Objectivity

Carlyle, Descartes, and Objectivity

Lessen Thy Denominator

(p.66) 3 Carlyle, Descartes, and Objectivity
Dying to Know

George Levine

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the story that Thomas Carlyle tells in Sartor Resartus. It suggests the degree to which fear and hatred of the body dominates Victorian thought. Sartor Resartus is a gesture at demonstrating what might be called an adequate “method” of knowing—but it is cast in part as biography and enwound with the ethical and the material. In the nineteenth century, Carlyle's strange book overtly enacts the way the ethical and the epistemological are sanctioned by the same values. His demanding and unresponsive body became his enemy, especially in sex and in defecation. The significance of the body in his engagement with himself and resistance to Enlightenment rationalism makes his ultimate choice of career seem inevitable. Carlyle was too much a man of the body to succumb to the pure disembodiment toward which Selbstödtung pointed.

Keywords:   Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, knowing, Enlightenment rationalism, Victorian thought, body

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.