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Encyclopedia > Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold
Caricature from Punch, 1881: "Admit that Homer sometimes nods, That poets do write trash, Our Bard has written "Balder Dead," And also Balder-dash"
Caricature from Punch, 1881: "Admit that Homer sometimes nods, That poets do write trash, Our Bard has written "Balder Dead," And also Balder-dash"
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Matthew Arnold (24 December 182215 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic, who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School. Image File history File links Matthew_Arnold_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_16745. ... Image File history File links Matthew_Arnold_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_16745. ... Download high resolution version (556x832, 62 KB)1881 caricature of Matthew Arnold: scanned form Punch, 26 November 1881, page 250 Artwork by Edward Linley Sambourne This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (556x832, 62 KB)1881 caricature of Matthew Arnold: scanned form Punch, 26 November 1881, page 250 Artwork by Edward Linley Sambourne This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Punch was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire published from 1841 to 1992 and from 1996 to 2002. ... Download high resolution version (1332x532, 59 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (1332x532, 59 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... December 24 is the 358th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (359th in leap years). ... 1822 (MDCCCXXII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... April 15 is the 105th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (106th in leap years). ... Year 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II  -  Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification  -  by Athelstan 967  Area... A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole and typically on a radical basis. ... Thomas Arnold, 1840 Thomas Arnold (June 13, 1795 – June 12, 1842) was a famous schoolmaster and historian, head of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841. ... A view of Rugby School from The Close, the playing field where according to legend Rugby was invented Rugby School, located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, is one of the oldest public schools in England and is one of the major co-educational boarding schools in the country. ...

Contents

Life and career

Matthew Arnold was an English poet and cultural critic , who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold , the famed headmaster of Rugby School. He was born in Laleham , Middlesex in the year 1822. In 1836 he went to Winchester College and then completed his school education at Rugby School where he won school prizes for English essay writing, and Latin and English poetry.


In 1841 he won an Open Scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where his keen bantering talk made him something of a social lion among Oxford men. He demonstrated his burgeoning talent as a poet by winning the Newdigate prize for poetry in 1843 with his Cromwell and graduated in the following year with a 2nd Class Honours degree .


In 1845, after a short interlude of teaching at Rugby, he was elected Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, accounted a great distinction at Oxford since the days of Keble, Newman, and Dr. Arnold himself.

 In 1847 he became private secretary to Lord Lansdowne, Lord President of the Council. This position was, almost to the end of his life, to absorb the greater part of his time and energies, and may have been partly responsible for the smallness of his poetical output. 
 In 1849 he had published his first book of poetry, The Strayed Reveller, which he soon withdrew . These early works were largely met with critical scorn. He was later appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford, an honour which, though it did not pay much, must have felt like vindication for Arnold. 


He wrote most of his best-known poetry before the age of forty, after which he turned to literary and cultural criticism and theology. His principal writings are, in poetry, Poems , containing "Sohrab and Rustum," and "The Scholar Gypsy;" Poems, 2nd Series , containing "Balder Dead;" New Poems containing "Thyrsis," and his masterpiece, "Dover Beach."

 In prose he wrote 'On Translating Homer , On the Study of Celtic Literature , Essays in Celtic Literature, Essays in Criticism, 2nd Series Culture and Anarchy , Friendship's Garland , Literature and Dogma , God and the Bible , Last Essays on Church and Religion , Mixed Essays , Irish Essays , and Discourses in America . He also wrote some works on the state of education in mainland Europe. 

Writings: Poetry and Prose

Arnold wrote during the Victorian period (1837–1901), and is sometimes called the third great Victorian poet, behind Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson and Robert Browning. Arnold himself was keenly aware of his place in poetry, and in an 1869 letter to his mother, discussed the merits of his work and his two more famous peers: "My poems represent, on the whole, the main movement of mind of the last quarter of a century, and thus they will probably have their day as people become conscious to themselves of what that movement of mind is, and interested in the literary productions which reflect it. It might be fairly urged that I have less poetic sentiment than Tennyson, and less intellectual vigour and abundance than Browning. Yet because I have more perhaps of a fusion of the two than either of them, and have more regularly applied that fusion to the main line of modern development, I am likely enough to have my turn, as they have had theirs." Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her Accession to the Throne, June 20, 1837) gave her name to the historic era. ... Alfred, Lord Tennyson Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom and is one of the most popular English poets. ... Robert Browning (May 7, 1812 – December 12, 1889) was a British poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. ...


His literary career — leaving out the two prize poems — had begun in 1849 with the publication of The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems by A., which attracted little notice — although it contained perhaps Arnold's most purely poetical poem "The Forsaken Merman" — and was soon withdrawn. Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems (among them "Tristram and Iseult"), published in 1852, had a similar fate.


Apart from poetry, he was best known as the author of several volumes of literary, social and religious criticism. His religious views were unusual for his time. He had rejected orthodox Christianity as a young man, and become an agnostic; although he had great respect for men who felt they could commit themselves to a religion, he could not share their view. Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... The term agnosticism and the related agnostic were coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869. ...


His 1867 poem "Dover Beach", which depicted a nightmarish world from which the old religious verities have receded, expresses his view that human love is mankind’s only defence against the dark. It is sometimes held up as an early, if not the first, example of the modern sensibility. In a famous preface to a selection of the poems of William Wordsworth, Arnold identified himself, a little ironically, as a "Wordsworthian." The influence of Wordsworth, both in ideas and in diction, is unmistakable in Arnold's best poetry. Cunt BAg Twat Fuk suck my penis ring 0778851865!!!!!!Year 1867 (MDCCCLXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 – April 23, 1850) was a major English romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature with their 1798 joint publication, Lyrical Ballads. ...


Some consider Arnold to be the bridge between Romanticism and Modernism. His use of symbolic landscapes was typical of the Romantic era, while his skeptical and pessimistic perspective was typical of the Modern era. The rationalistic tendency of certain of his writings gave offence to many readers, and the sufficiency of his equipment in scholarship for dealing with some of the subjects which he handled was called in question; but he undoubtedly exercised a stimulating influence on his time; his writings are characterised by the finest culture, high purpose, sincerity, and a style of great distinction, and much of his poetry has an exquisite and subtle beauty, though here also it has been doubted whether high culture and wide knowledge of poetry did not sometimes take the place of true poetic fire. Henry James wrote that Matthew Arnold's poetry will appeal to those who "like their pleasures rare" and who like to hear the poet "taking breath." Wanderer above the sea of fog by Caspar David Friedrich Romanticism is an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in 18th century Western Europe during the Industrial Revolution. ... For Modernism in an American context, see American modernism. ... In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For other uses of this name, see Henry James (disambiguation). ...


The mood of Arnold’s poetry tends to be of plaintive reflection, and he is restrained in expressing emotion. He felt that poetry should be the ‘criticism of life’ and express a philosophy. Arnold’s philosophy is that true happiness comes from within, and that people should seek within themselves for good, while being resigned in acceptance of outward things and avoiding the pointless turmoil of the world. However, he argues that we should not live in the belief that we shall one day inherit eternal bliss. If we are not happy on earth, we should moderate our desires rather than live in dreams of something that may never be attained. This philosophy is clearly expressed in such poems as "Dover Beach" and in these lines from "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse":

Wandering between two worlds, one dead
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.

Arnold valued natural scenery for its peace and permanence in contrast with the ceaseless change of human things. His descriptions are often picturesque, and marked by striking similes. However, at the same time he liked subdued colours, mist and moonlight. He seems to prefer the ‘spent lights’ of the sea-depths in "The Forsaken Merman" to the village life preferred by the merman’s lost wife.


Although Arnold's poetry received only mixed reviews and attention during his lifetime, his forays into literary criticism were more successful. Arnold is famous for introducing a methodology of literary criticism through his Essays in Criticism (1865, 1888), which influence critics to this day. Arnold believed that rules for an objective approach in literary criticism existed, and argued that these rules should be followed by all critics. He believed in the necessity of objective rules of criticism as he thought that with the decline of religion, society would have no common cultural values, beliefs, and images and felt that the literature preferred by the lower and middle classes would corrupt what he considered the highest of art forms. In one of his most famous essays on the topic, “The Study of Poetry”, Arnold wrote that, “Without poetry, our science will appear incomplete; and most of what now passes with us for religion and philosophy will be replaced by poetry”. He considered the most important criteria used to judge the value of a poem were “high truth” and “high seriousness”. By this standard, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales did not merit Arnold’s approval, due to its crass nature. Further, Arnold thought the works that had been proven to possess both “high truth” and “high seriousness”, such as those of Shakespeare and Milton, could be used as a basis of comparison to determine the merit of other works of poetry. He also sought for poetry to remain disinterested from politics and other calls to action, and said that the appreciation should be of “the object as in itself it really is.” He also advocated close reading of the text as the ultimate means of comprehension. Literary criticism is the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. ... 1865 (MDCCCLXV) is a common year starting on Sunday. ... Year 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Taking an objective approach to an issue means having due regard for the known valid evidence (relevant facts and viewpoints) pertaining to that issue. ... Canterbury Tales Woodcut 1484 The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). ...


Arnold's work as a critic begins with the "Preface to the Poems" which he issued in 1853 under his own name, including extracts from the earlier volumes along with "Sohrab and Rustum" and "The Scholar-Gipsy" but significantly omitting "Empedocles." In its emphasis on the importance of subject in poetry, on "clearness of arrangement, rigor of development, simplicity of style" learned from the Greeks, and in the strong imprint of Goethe and Wordsworth, may be observed nearly all the essential elements in his critical theory. He was still primarily a poet, however, and in 1855 appeared Poems, Second Series, among them "Balder Dead."


Criticism began to take first place with his appointment in 1857 to the professorship of poetry at Oxford, which he held for two successive terms of five years. In 1858 he brought out his tragedy of "Merope," calculated, he wrote to a friend, "rather to inaugurate my Professorship with dignity than to move deeply the present race of humans," and chiefly remarkable for some experiments in unusual — and unsuccessful — metres.


In 1861 his lectures On Translating Homer were published, to be followed in 1862 by Last Words on Translating Homer, both volumes admirable in style and full of striking judgments and suggestive remarks, but built on rather arbitrary assumptions and reaching no well-established conclusions. Especially characteristic, both of his defects and his qualities, are on the one hand, Arnold's unconvincing advocacy of English hexameters and his creation of a kind of literary absolute in the "grand style," and, on the other, his keen feeling of the need for a disinterested and intelligent criticism in England. Caricature from Punch, 1881: Admit that Homer sometimes nods, That poets do write trash, Our Bard has written Balder Dead, And also Balder-dash On Translating Homer, published in January 1861, was a printed version of the series of public lectures given by Matthew Arnold as Professor of Poetry at... Hexameter is a literary and poetic form, consisting of six metrical feet per line as in the Iliad. ...


He was led on from literary criticism to a more general critique of the spirit of his age. Between 1867 and 1869 he wrote Culture and Anarchy, famous for the term he popularised for a section of the Victorian era population: "Philistines", a word which derives its modern cultural meaning (in English - the German-language usage was well established) from him. See philistinism. Look up Zeitgeist in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Cunt BAg Twat Fuk suck my penis ring 0778851865!!!!!!Year 1867 (MDCCCLXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... 1869 (MDCCCLXIX) is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Culture and Anarchy is a book by Matthew Arnold, first published in 1869. ... Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her Ascension to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian era of the United Kingdom marked the height of the British industrial revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... Map showing the location of Philistine land and cities of Gaza, Ashdod, and Ashkelon Map of the southern Levant, c. ... Philistinism is a derogatory term used to describe a particular attitude or set of values. ...


Matthew Arnold "was indeed the most delightful of companions," writes G. W. E. Russell in Portraits of the Seventies; "a man of the world entirely free from worldliness and a man of letters without the faintest trace of pedantry." A familiar figure at the Athenaeum Club, a frequent diner-out and guest at great country houses, fond of fishing and shooting, a lively conversationalist, affecting a combination of foppishness and Olympian grandeur, he read constantly, widely, and deeply, and in the intervals of supporting himself and his family by the quiet drudgery of school inspecting, filled notebook after notebook with meditations of an almost monastic tone. In his writings, he often baffled and sometimes annoyed his contemporaries by the apparent contradiction between his urbane, even frivolous manner in controversy, and the "high seriousness" of his critical views and the melancholy, almost plaintive note of much of his poetry. "A voice poking fun in the wilderness" was T. H. Warren's description of him. The Athenaeum Club in 1830. ...


A deeper inconsistency was caused by the "want of logic and thoroughness of thought" which J. M. Robertson noted in Modern Humanists. Few of his ideas were his own, and he failed to reconcile the conflicting influences which moved him so strongly. "There are four people, in especial," he once wrote to Cardinal Newman, "from whom I am conscious of having learnt — a very different thing from merely receiving a strong impression — learnt habits, methods, ruling ideas, which are constantly with me; and the four are — Goethe, Wordsworth, Sainte-Beuve, and yourself." Dr. Arnold must be added; the son's fundamental likeness to the father was early pointed out by Swinburne, and was later recently attested by Matthew Arnold's grandson, Mr. Arnold Whitridge. Brought up in the tenets of the Philistinism which, as a professed cosmopolitan and the Apostle of Culture he attacked, he remained something of a Philistine to the end. John Henry Newman John Henry Newman (February 21, 1801—August 11, 1890), English cardinal, was born in London, the eldest son of John Newman, banker, of the firm of Ramsbottom, Newman and Co. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (pronounced [gø tə]) (August 28, 1749–March 22, 1832) was a German writer, politician, humanist, scientist, and philosopher. ... Wordsworth, an underground hip hop MC from Brooklyn. ... Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (December 23, 1804 - October 13, 1869) was a literary critic and one of the major figures of French literary history. ... Swinburne may be A. C. Swinburne the poet Swinburne University of Technnology in Melbourne, Australia Swinburne, Free State in South Africa This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


In his poetry he derived not only the subject matter of his narrative poems from various traditional or literary sources but even much of the romantic melancholy of his earlier poems from Senancour's "Obermann". His greatest defects as a poet stem from his lack of ear and his frequent failure to distinguish between poetry and prose. His significant if curious estimate of his own poems in 1869 was that they represented "on the whole, the main movement of mind of the last quarter of a century." Senancour (1770-1846) Étienne Pivert de Senancour (Paris, 16 November 1770 - Saint-Cloud, 10 January 1846), was a French writer. ...


It is perhaps true, however, that as Sir Edmund Chambers says, "in a comparison between the best works of Matthew Arnold and that of his six greatest contemporaries . . . the proportion of work which endures is greater in the case of Matthew Arnold than in any one of them." His poetry endures because of its directness, and the literal fidelity of his beautifully circumstantial description of nature, of scenes, and places, imbued with a kind of majestic sadness which takes the place of music. Alike in his poetry and in his prose, which supplies in charm of manner, breadth of subject-matter, and acuteness of individual judgment, what it lacks in system, a stimulating personality makes itself felt. He was chiefly valuable to his own age as its severest critic; to ours he represents its humanest aspirations.


Culture and Anarchy is also famous for its popularization of the phrase "sweetness and light," first coined by Jonathan Swift. [1] Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (November 30, 1667 – October 19, 1745) was an Irish cleric, satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for Whigs then for Tories), and poet, famous for works like Gullivers Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, The Drapiers Letters, The Battle of the Books, and...

Blue plaque to Matthew Arnold, 2 Chester Square

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1057x985, 137 KB) Blue plaque to Matthew Arnold on his house at 2 Chester Square, London, England. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1057x985, 137 KB) Blue plaque to Matthew Arnold on his house at 2 Chester Square, London, England. ... A blue plaque showing information about The Spanish Barn at Torre Abbey in Torquay. ...

Trivia

  • Arnold's poem, "Dover Beach" appears in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and is also featured prominently in Saturday by Ian McEwan. It has also been quoted or alluded to in a variety of other contexts (see Dover Beach).

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian soft science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury that was published in 1953. ... The British hardcover edition, with the BT Tower in the background Saturday (2005) is a novel by the British author Ian McEwan that charts the day of a 48 year old London neurosurgeon called Henry Perowne. ... Ian McEwan CBE, (born June 21, 1948), is a British novelist (sometimes nicknamed Ian Macabre because of the nature of his early work). ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Sir Edward Elgar Sir Edward Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO (2 June 1857 â€“ 23 February 1934) was an English Romantic composer. ... Variations on an Original Theme for orchestra, Op. ...

References

  1. ^ The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Sweetness and light. Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • There is a bibliography of Arnold's works by T.B. Smart (1892), and books upon him have been written by Prof. Saintsbury (1899), H. Paul (1902), and G.W.E. Russell (1904), also papers by Sir L. Stephen, F. Harrison, and others
  • The classic study of Arnold's life and work is Lionel Trilling's Matthew Arnold (New York: Norton, 1939).
  • Muller, Jerry Z., 2002. The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought. Anchor Books.
  • Matthew Arnold: A Life by Park Honan, 496 pp., Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London (1981) is an exhaustive modern critical biography.
  • "Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory" by Peter Barry contains an introduction to Matthew Arnold as well as a good basis of introduction to literary criticism.

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Matthew Arnold - LoveToKnow 1911 (3752 words)
MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888), English poet, literary critic and inspector of schools, was born at Laleham, near Staines, on the 24th of December 1822.
Arnold took charge of the district of Westminster, and remained in that office until his resignation, taking also an occasional share in the inspection of training colleges for teachers, and in conferences at the central office.
Arnold was a prominent figure in that great galaxy of Victorian poets who were working simultaneously - Tennyson, Browning, Rossetti, William Morris and Swinburne - poets between whom there was at least this connecting link, that the quest of all of them was the old-fashioned poetical quest of the beautiful.
Matthew Arnold and the Jesus Seminar (4907 words)
Arnold, however, recognizes not only that each gospel writer altered the words of Jesus while providing for them "a setting and a connexion," but also that the gospels themselves continued to be "liable to changes, interpolations, additions" until sometime towards the end of the second century.
Arnold was not, of course, in a position to discern the political implications of the historical Jesus as well as modern scholars, and it would be unfair to suppose that Arnold deliberately or selectively chose to develop only those aspects of Jesus’s mission that were in agreement with his own view of Culture.
Arnold had given paramount significance to the apostle Paul as the one who combined Jesus’s Hebraism with Hellenism and, thus, set the example for all Christians of applying, in a free flow of thought, the best that is being thought in the world.
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