Arrears blogging: November 17 -- Make It Big

As a critic, I'm a little too timid. That's what comes from being a dilettante -- no confidence. I could be talked out of anything. But this was not Carlyle's problem. He felt that sick people were losers:
We say not that; but we do say, that ill-health, of body or of mind, is defeat, is battle (in a good or in a bad cause) with bad success; that health alone is victory. Let all men, if they can manage it, contrive to be healthy! He who in what cause soever sinks into pain and disease, let him take thought of it; let him know well that it is not good he has arrived at yet, but surely evil,
Did I say "losers"? I meant "evildoers." And note that Carlyle took pains to include bodily sickness in here. This is the last reading I have to do, and in retrospect I think it might have gone better if I had laid on the "sick people are evil" type of pronounciamentos a little thicker. (This despite the fact that Carlyle had praised Scott's childhood polio as making him fit for indoor work.)

The other thing I note with a smile (here I go, smiling again, when I should be thundering) the passage begins with Carlyle talking about how awesome the Scots are:
...a certain spiritual manhood, ready for all work that man can do, endures there. It may take many forms: the form of hard-fisted money-getting industry, as in the vulgar Scotchman, in the vulgar New Englander; but as compact developed force and alertness of faculty, it is still there; it may utter itself one day as the colossal Scepticism of a Hume (beneficent this too though painful, wrestling Titan-like through doubt and inquiry towards new belief); and again, some better day, it may utter itself as the inspired Melody of a Burns...
And then, at the end, there's an aside which seems characteristically Scotch:
[T}he thing men call fame, what is it? A gaudy emblazonry, not good for much,—except, indeed, as it too may turn to money.
Which I take to mean that one of the foremost social critics of the Victorian era thinks it's okay for famous people to do commercials. That is thinking big.