The British essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle was just another chronic melancholic, easily irritable thinker who failed to locate any profound meaning in life.
His best known work is The French Revolution, but his philosophical parody Sartor Resartus is more typical of his writing, and it provoked a violent riot when it was published in 1833. Relatively autobiographical, Carlyle represented himself as a bitter and savage fatalist.
The story describes the experience of Diogenes Teufeldrockh, who confessed that after a lifetime of sorrow and failures, he realized that this “poor, miserable, hampered despicable Actual” is all there is. The rational and divine core from which we developed our deepest convictions is not only dead but rancid and putrid.