Friday, February 5, 2010

Passing a Gift from Goethe to Scott

Thomas Carlyle died on February 5, 1881.  Carlyle, and his absorption in "great men, heroic leaders" was covered in an earlier post.  He sent at least two letters to Walter Scott.  On April 13, 1828, he notified Scott that he had received a letter from Goethe that contained the poet's thanks for a copy of Scott's Life of Napoleon, and two medals intended as a gift for Scott.  The medals contained images of Goethe himself.  Carlyle makes clear he would like to meet Scott, and offers to bring or send the medals to him.  Scott did not reply.

Carlyle's second letter, on May 23, 1828, references the earlier letter, and the fact that it had not been answered.  Goethe comments in an advertisement to "The Life of Napoleon":

"Walter Scott passed his childhood among the stirring scenes of the American War, and was a youth of 17 or 18 when the French Revolution broke out.  Now well advanced in the fifties, having all along been favorably placed for observation, he proposes to lay before us his views and recollections of the important events through which he has lived..."

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