Context: After having reviewed the Collected Works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (in 1828), Carlyle was moved by the death of the great German on March 22, 1832, to take a further look, in one of his longest essays, at the man and his writing. He begins with thoughts on the greatness of great men. Among the other eulogies of Goethe, he is determined to "set down what he partially has seen into." To explain his interest in someone not of his own land or language, the essayist quotes Herr Teufelsdröckh, the central figure of his earlier Sartor Resartus:
"Deny it as he will," says Teufelsdröckh, "man reverently loves man, and daily by action evidences his belief in the divineness of man. What a more than regal mystery encircles the poorest of living souls for us! . . . Of a truth, men are mystically united; a mystic bond of brotherhood makes all men one."