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From the publisher
This extraordinary work is at one and the same time an account of a personal spiritual crisis and a hilarious spoof on academic learning, early Victorian values and materialism. In Sartor Resartus ('the tailor retailored') a fictitious editor retells the theories of an equally fictitious German professor who has come to the conclusion that human institutions and morals are only clothes to shield us from nothingness, clothes that can be changed as the whims of the age or fashion dictate.
This radically deconstructive vision reveals the very highest symbols of belief for what they are - merely symbols. How to believe in anything after such an insight is a question even more acute today than it was in Carlyle's time, when he first asked it in this masterpiece of invention, parody and profound laughter.
This Canongate Classics edition incorporates illustrations by Edmund Sullivan, reproduced as they appeared in the 1898 edition of the text. Also included is the notable Emerson preface to the original American edition and an incisive, specially commissioned introduction from Alasdair Gray.