Sartor Resartus: the life and opinions of Herr Teufelsdrocke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 238 pages of information about Sartor Resartus.
way, was giving one of those inimitable “Extra-Harangues;” and, as it chanced, On the Proposal for a Cast-metal King:  gradually a light kindled in our Professor’s eyes and face, a beaming, mantling, loveliest light; through those murky features, a radiant ever-young Apollo looked; and he burst forth like the neighing of all Tattersall’s,—­tears streaming down his cheeks, pipe held aloft, foot clutched into the air,—­loud, long-continuing, uncontrollable; a laugh not of the face and diaphragm only, but of the whole man from head to heel.  The present Editor, who laughed indeed, yet with measure, began to fear all was not right:  however, Teufelsdrockh, composed himself, and sank into his old stillness; on his inscrutable countenance there was, if anything, a slight look of shame; and Richter himself could not rouse him again.  Readers who have any tincture of Psychology know how much is to be inferred from this; and that no man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad.  How much lies in Laughter:  the cipher-key, wherewith we decipher the whole man!  Some men wear an everlasting barren simper; in the smile of others lies a cold glitter as of ice:  the fewest are able to laugh, what can be called laughing, but only sniff and titter and snigger from the throat outwards; or at best, produce some whiffling husky cachinnation, as if they were laughing through wool:  of none such comes good.  The man who cannot laugh is not only fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; but his whole life is already a treason and a stratagem.

Considered as an Author, Herr Teufelsdrockh has one scarcely pardonable fault, doubtless his worst:  an almost total want of arrangement.  In this remarkable Volume, it is true, his adherence to the mere course of Time produces, through the Narrative portions, a certain show of outward method; but of true logical method and sequence there is too little.  Apart from its multifarious sections and subdivisions, the Work naturally falls into two Parts; a Historical-Descriptive, and a Philosophical-Speculative:  but falls, unhappily, by no firm line of demarcation; in that labyrinthic combination, each Part overlaps, and indents, and indeed runs quite through the other.  Many sections are of a debatable rubric, or even quite nondescript and unnamable; whereby the Book not only loses in accessibility, but too often distresses us like some mad banquet, wherein all courses had been confounded, and fish and flesh, soup and solid, oyster-sauce, lettuces, Rhine-wine and French mustard, were hurled into one huge tureen or trough, and the hungry Public invited to help itself.  To bring what order we can out of this Chaos shall be part of our endeavor.

CHAPTER V. THE WORLD IN CLOTHES.

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Sartor Resartus: the life and opinions of Herr Teufelsdrocke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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