Jane Welsh Carlyle

Jane Welsh Carlyle (14 January 1801 – 21 April 1866, née Jane Baillie Welsh in Haddington Scotland) was the wife of essayist Thomas Carlyle and has been cited as the reason for his fame and fortune. She was most notable as a letter-writer. In 1973, G.B. Tennyson described her as

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She had been introduced to Carlyle by her tutor Edward Irving, with whom she came to have a mutual romantic (although not sexually intimate) attraction.

The couple married in 1826, but the marriage was at times unhappy. Their voluminous correspondence has been published, and the letters show that the couple had an affection for one another that was marred by frequent quarrels. Samuel Butler once wrote: "It was very good of God to let Carlyle and Mrs Carlyle marry one another, and so make only two people miserable and not four". Carlyle's biographer James Anthony Froude published (posthumously) his opinion that the marriage remained unconsummated.[1]

Historian Paul Johnson notes in Creators that she not only irked her husband but made prickly comments about others as well. Of fellow woman writer George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Carlyle said "She looks Propriety personified. Oh, so slow!"

Works

The Scottish philosopher David George Ritchie, a friend of the Carlyle family, published a volume of her letters in 1889 under the title The Early Letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle. Thomas published his highly self-critical "Reminiscences of Jane Welsh Carlyle" out of guilt after he read her diary posthumously.

References

  • Uglow, Nathan. "Jane Welsh Carlyle". The Literary Encyclopedia. Ed. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott and Janet Todd.

External links


  • The letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle and Thomas Carlyle
  • Thomas & Jane Carlyle's Craigenputtock
  • the UK National Archives
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