One of the most vital and pregnant books in our modern literature, "Sartor Resartus" is also, in structure and form, one of the most daringly original. It defies exact classification. It is not a philosophic treatise. It is not an autobiography. It is not a romance. Yet in a sense it is all these combined. Its underlying purpose is to expound in broad outline certain ideas which lay at the root of Carlyle's whole reading of life. But he does not elect to set these forth in regular methodic fashion, after the manner of one writing a systematic essay. He presents his philosophy in dramatic form and in a picturesque human setting. He invents a certain Herr Diogenes Teufelsdrockh, an erudite German professor of "Allerley-Wissenschaft," or Things in General, in the University of Weissnichtwo, of whose colossal work, "Die Kleider, Ihr Werden und Wirken" (On Clothes: Their Origin and Influence), he represents himself as being only the student and interpreter. With infinite humour he explains how this prodigious volume came into his hands; how he was struck with amazement by its encyclopaedic learning, and the depth and suggestiveness of its thought; and how he determined that it was his special mission to introduce its ideas to the British public.
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