The Victorian Author Thomas Carlyle was in his day a meteoric voice but his popularity and reputation declined significantly due in part to his link to fascism. In the politically polarized era of the Second World War, academics and propagandists dubbed him a fascist or Nazi in both defamation and approval. Fascist scholars pressed Carlyle into service as a progenitor and prophet of their respective totalitarian regimes. Adolf Hitler, in his final days, assuaged his fears of his imminent fall with readings from Carlyle's History of Frederick the Great. This fascist connection to the once esteemed “Sage of Chelsea” marks the apogee of his defamation. The following thesis sets Carlyle's decline in its historical context and demonstrates the presentist view scholars persistently take as they approach their subject. It further compares and contrasts the various fascist regimes, their distinct tenets, and their variegated ideologies that become evident in their interpretation and mobilization of the deceased Victorian's works.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
McCollum, Jonathon C., "Thomas Carlyle, Fascism, and Frederick: From Victorian Prophet to Fascist Ideologue" (2007). Theses and Dissertations. 1439.
Thomas Carlyle, Adolf Hitler, Nazism, Fascism