Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



Today when millions of Chinese people are shouting, "Long Live Chairman Mao” and waving their red books with flaming, uncontrollable enthusiasm, one wonders whether the worship is genuine, and whether this is the kind of worship which Carlyle means. However, the main emphasis of this thesis is on Carlyle's concept of heroism. Carlyle was greatly obsessed with the heroic ideal. After he was disappointed with the lack of modern heroes in America, he longed for a heroic nation to admire. Thus Carlyle, after a long pilgrimage became the good friend of Germany and the worshiper of German great men. He liked Germany, considering it a "deep-thinking" country as compared to the practical English society. In return Goethe gave him a flattering approval, saying: "he is, indeed, a moral force of great significance." Carlyle was drawn to Goethe for he was extremely enchanted with Goethe's doctrine of Entsagen, the idea of self-renunciation. It may be that Carlyle interprets Goethe after his own Puritan fashion, for the ideas of renunciation, silence, reverence, work and duty which Goethe emphasizes so consistently are equally common to the Puritans. But Goethe was the person who provided Carlyle with the beginning of a positive state of mind, from which a new path of action and world view would have to be slowly and gradually constructed. Carlyle was so drawn to Goethe that he wrote to Emerson: “On the whole, I suspect you yet know only Goethe the Heathen (Ethnic); but you will know Goethe the Christian by and by, and like that one far better." In "The Everlasting Yea" of Sartor Resartus Teufelsdrackh's sudden regaining of "Selbsttoldtung" or “Annihilation of Self" obviously symbolizes Carlyle's important conversion from the Byronic despair to Goethe's doctrine of Entsagen. Only later did he shift from a Goethean heroism to the social and revolutionary heroism which Mao appears to exemplify.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Carlyle, Thomas, 1795-1881 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Mao, Zedong, 1893-1976.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University