The Real and its Ideal

The Real and its Ideal

Edmund J. Sullivan


Sartor Resartus, p. 307

This illustration, which repeats Sullivan's juxtaposition of the ancient and modern Adams and Eves, brilliantly captures Carlyle's satirical and serious points about clothing as symbol, social reality, distortion, truth, and lie.

The frank realism of the nude woman and the fact that her proximity to her dress makes her appear naked (and not "nude" or artistically distanced) makes this a late-Victorian or early-modern illustration that would not have been acceptable to Carlyle's contemporaries.

Scanned image and text by George P. Landow

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