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Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Scottish satirist, essayist, historian and social commentator, of Calvinist upbringing and morals (although he lost his actual faith while still a young man).

In the novel Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Thomas Duff Shawnessy claims to have been the illegitimate son of the poet by one Eliza Shawnessy. Philip José Farmer points out there various improbabilities inherent in this story, in his biographical work Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, and it is therefore unlikely that Carlyle was the ancestor of, for example, Kilgore Trout.

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