Thomas Carlyle’s writings are being reappraised again, this time by scholars working on the emergence of the historical profession in nineteenth-century Britain. Their studies have tended to place Carlyle in a narrative in which he figures as a residual man of letters who produced ‘artistic’ historiography which came to be denigrated by a later generation of ‘scientific’ professionals. This is an undeniable context for Carlyle’s writings, and one which will inform this chapter, which includes an analysis of Carlyle’s historical biography, Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches. An exclusive consideration of the ‘art’/ ‘science’ debate in nineteenth-century historiography disregards another context, pointed to by Geoffrey Hartman. In his book Criticism in the Wilderness, Hartman (1980) suggests that Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus ‘is a genuine precursor of the philosophical critics [Benjamin, Bloom, Foucault, Derrida] of today’. For Hartman, there is an air of philosophical terrorism about Carlyle’s rhetoric which makes its ‘artfulness’ difficult to assimilate to the nineteenth-century English literary criticism o f ‘belles lettres’, a tradition in which Terry Eagleton was content to place Carlyle in his book The Function o f Criticism (see Introduction).1 This chapter will provide grounds for arguing that Carlyle’s writings were complex and oppositional rhetorical acts in relation to the emergence of both ‘literature’ and ‘history’ as disciplines.