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Shaping BeliefCulture, Politics, and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Writing$
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Victoria Morgan and Clare Williams

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311369

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315688

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Feeling ‘Ghostlike’: Carlyle and his Exposure to the ‘Condition-of-England-Question’

Feeling ‘Ghostlike’: Carlyle and his Exposure to the ‘Condition-of-England-Question’

(p.171) 10. Feeling ‘Ghostlike’: Carlyle and his Exposure to the ‘Condition-of-England-Question’
Shaping Belief
Clare Williams
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines fractured social identities by focusing on Thomas Carlyle and his involvement in the ‘Condition–of–England–Question’, which addressed the condition of the working class and its implications for the rest of society. It argues that Carlyle, in tackling this question, underwent a serious crisis of social identity as social unrest and competing ideas of democracy presented a major challenge to his own cultural beliefs. It also looks at Carlyle's rhetoric of labour as well as his efforts to authenticate his own projected literary identity as social critic and validate his own mystified perspective on contemporary social relations.

Keywords:   Thomas Carlyle, Condition–of–England–Question, working class, social identity, social unrest, democracy, labour, social relations, cultural beliefs, literary identity

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