The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Past and Present

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PAST AND PRESENT, a work by Thomas Carlyle, published in England in April 1843 and in May in the United States. It was written in seven weeks, as a respite from the harassing labor of writing ‘Cromwell.’ In 1842, the Camden Society had published the ‘Chronicles of the Abbey of Saint Edmund's Bury,’ written by Joceline de Brakelonde, at the close of the 12th century. This account of a mediæval monastery had taken Carlyle's fancy; and in ‘Past and Present’ he contrasts the England of his own day with the England of Joceline de Brakelonde.