You are what you read

“What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.”

That’s a great quotation. But it takes on a different meaning when accompanied by the life of the one who wrote it.

Thomas Carlyle (December 4, 1795 – February 5, 1881) was a Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian, whose work was hugely influential during the Victorian era. Coming from a strictly Calvinist family, Carlyle was expected by his parents to become a preacher. However, while at the University of Edinburgh he lost his Christian faith. Nevertheless Calvinist values remained with him throughout his life. This combination of a religious temperament with loss of faith in traditional Christianity made Carlyle’s work appealing to many Victorians who were grappling with scientific and political changes that threatened the traditional social order.”