Thomas Carlyle (1795 - 1881) was a writer and historian and was the leading literary lion of the 1840s - 50s. Today, Carlyle is not a well known figure, but at the time, he was an immensely influential social commentator and historian. He helped shape the way the Victorians thought about themselves.
" We have passed an evening with Carlyle; he is one of the most interesting men I could imagine, one of the great sights in England to my mind. I am a Carlyle adorer!"
His ideas were also much discussed in the United States and across the English speaking world.
Carlyle was brought up in a Calvinist household by his parents, who hoped he would go on to be a minister. However he soon became disenchanted with organised religion, instead putting his trust in work.