[Chapter 3, note 47, of the author's Carlyle and the Search for Authority, which the Ohio State University Press published in 1991. It appears in the Victorian web with the kind permission of the author, who of course retains copyright. not in print version indicates a link to material not in the original print version. GPL]

Carlyle's use of mock epic has been previously noted by LaValley (139, 146, 159) and J. Rosenberg (64-66). Both Rosenberg and LaValley provide an important corrective to those who do not take the mock-epic element into account in their discussions of Carlyle's use of epic form, but I think Rosenberg is mistaken when he argues that Carlyle is "boast[ing]" that "speech is more useful than song" (52-53). As the theme of speech in The French Revolution makes clear, Carlyle "speaks" only because singing has become impossible (see also LaValley, 147). Cumming, in turn, by deemphasizing epic devices and concentrating on Carlyle's reshaping ofepic, provides a corrective to Rosenberg and LaValley.


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Last modified 26 October 2001