Skip Nav

Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold Poetry: British Analysis

❶It exhibits frankly, and without detriment to its national character, a decided French influence.

Navigate Guide

1. Matthew Arnold: Benchmarks
follow poets.org
Popular Topics

The lower class he dismissed as an ineffectual, inchoate mass. Arnold argued that as the middle class gradually assumed control of English politics, they must be transformed from their unpolished state into a sensitive, sophisticated, intellectual community.

The alternative, he contended, would be a dissolution of England's moral and cultural standards. Arnold also endorsed the eventual creation of a classless society in which every individual would subscribe to highly refined ideals based on the culture of ancient Greece. Although Arnold strove to imitate classical Greek and Roman models in his poetry, critics agree that his work manifests Romantic subjectivism.

Many of his poems assume the form of a soliloquy or confession in which the narrator communicates feelings of melancholy or regret. However, Arnold's essentially Romantic sentiments are praised for the precisely wrought and measured manner in which they are expressed. Critical scholarship attests to Arnold's prescience in his prose writings, in forecasting the problems and possibilities that would arise with the transition from an aristocratic society to a democratic one.

Eliot's essay of the same name, critic Terence Hawkes notes that both writers consider criticism a seminal tool in helping society objectively examine its failures and successes. Hawkes relates that the role of criticism as described by Arnold and his contemporaries is often haunted by the notion that it is secondary to the actual happening.

Instead, says Hawkes, Arnold himself viewed criticism as a necessary and complementary act to the primary text or idea it was examining, often serving to illustrate uncanny and noteworthy aspects not inherent in the original text or incident. Recent scholarship on Arnold has acknowledged that Arnold's writing reflects the tensions of modern literature, particularly his remarks on aesthetic judgment, and his attempts to formulate a theory of the role of criticism in culture.

His integration of social criticism and literary analysis, says Stefan Collini, is acknowledged as his most significant and lasting achievement. An Essay towards a Better Apprehension of the Bible essay Civilization in the United States: First and Last Impressions of America essay The Works of Matthew Arnold 15 vols. A Casebook, edited by Thelma S. Fisher, Garland Publishing, , pp.

Matthew Arnold was pleased with his version of the Tristram and Iseult legend. He was especially proud of having gotten to the story before Richard Wagner popularized it, and The conventions and consolatory purposes of elegy put enormous pressure on poetic language to say the utmost that can be said about life, death, and the hereafter.

Indeed, elegy tempts the poet to say more than can be justly said, excuses the flattering fictions and the consoling lie. Similarly, love poetry involves sets of conventions that may tempt the poet to excess, to flattery, seductive When Arnold collected the best of his articles for Essays in Criticism , he wrote an introductory essay that in its general theory sought to explain his own recent criticism and to work out new answers to the old questions.

Both sides, naturally, have a The collected prose works of Matthew Arnold occupy eleven fat volumes; the complete poetry, even when fleshed out with notes, variants, and appendices, fits easily into one volume in any of the several modern editions in which it has appeared.

Although his duties were later confined to a smaller area, Arnold knew the society of provincial England better than most of the metropolitan authors and politicians of the day. In , he published Poems: Second Series appeared; also a selection, it included the new poem, Balder Dead. Arnold was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in , and he was the first in this position to deliver his lectures in English rather than in Latin.

On Translating Homer and the initial thoughts that Arnold would transform into Culture and Anarchy were among the fruits of the Oxford lectures. In , he conducted the first of three trips to the continent at the behest of parliament to study European educational practices.

He self-published The Popular Education of France , the introduction to which was later published under the title Democracy In , Arnold published Essays in Criticism: Second Series would not appear until November , shortly after his untimely death. In , he published Thyrsis , his elegy to Clough who had died in Culture and Anarchy , Arnold's major work in social criticism and one of the few pieces of his prose work currently in print was published in Literature and Dogma , Arnold's major work in religious criticism appeared in Arnold died suddenly in of heart failure whilst running to meet a tram that would have taken him to the Liverpool Landing Stage to see his daughter, who was visiting from the United States where she had moved after marrying an American.

Arnold died in June Russell in Portraits of the Seventies , is "a man of the world entirely free from worldliness and a man of letters without the faintest trace of pedantry ". 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. Warren's description of him. In an letter to his mother, he wrote:.

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 poetical sentiment than Tennyson and less intellectual vigour and abundance than Browning; yet because I have perhaps more 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.

Stefan Collini regards this as "an exceptionally frank, but not unjust, self-assessment. Arnold's poetry continues to have scholarly attention lavished upon it, in part because it seems to furnish such striking evidence for several central aspects of the intellectual history of the nineteenth century, especially the corrosion of 'Faith' by 'Doubt'.

No poet, presumably, would wish to be summoned by later ages merely as an historical witness, but the sheer intellectual grasp of Arnold's verse renders it peculiarly liable to this treatment. Harold Bloom echoes Arnold's self-characterization in his introduction as series editor to the Modern Critical Views volume on Arnold: Whatever his achievement as a critic of literature, society, or religion, his work as a poet may not merit the reputation it has continued to hold in the twentieth century.

Arnold is, at his best, a very good but highly derivative poet As with Tennyson, Hopkins, and Rossetti, Arnold's dominant precursor was Keats , but this is an unhappy puzzle, since Arnold unlike the others professed not to admire Keats greatly, while writing his own elegiac poems in a diction, meter, imagistic procedure, that are embarrassingly close to Keats.

Sir Edmund Chambers noted, however, that "in a comparison between the best works of Matthew Arnold and that of his six greatest contemporaries He has a primary school named after him in Liverpool, where he died, and secondary schools named after him in Oxford and Staines.

His literary career — leaving out the two prize poems — had begun in with the publication of The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems by A. It contained what is perhaps Arnold's most purely poetical poem, "The Forsaken Merman. In he published 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.

His poem, " Dover Beach ," depicted a nightmarish world from which the old religious verities have receded. 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, a little ironically, as a "Wordsworthian. It has also been quoted or alluded to in a variety of other contexts see Dover Beach.

Some consider Arnold to be the bridge between Romanticism and Modernism. His use of symbolic landscapes was typical of the Romantic era, while his sceptical 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. 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.

He said poetry should serve a greater purpose instead of becoming a mere medium of gaining pleasure and appreciating beauty. According to him the best poetry is criticism of life , abiding laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty. By poetic truth he meant repersentation of life in true way. By poetic beauty he meant manner and style of poetry. He said poet should be a man with enormous experience. His intellect should be highly devloped by means of enormous reading and deep critical thinking.

If the application of ideas is powerful the poetry will become great. Many critics disagreed Arnold ,T.

Matthew Arnold's Essays

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Matthew arrnold one of foremost critic of 19th century is often regarded as father of modern english criticism. Arnold’s work as literary critic started with “Preface to poems ” in It is a kind of manifesto of his critical creed. It reflects classicism as well his views on grand poetic style [ ].

Privacy FAQs

Arnold was the eldest son of Thomas Arnold, an influential educator who served as headmaster of Rugby School for a number of years. Arnold himself attended Rugby from to , and it was.

About Our Ads

Matthew Arnold’s prose writings, mainly, were the work of his middle and later years. 12 They deal with, practically, the entire fabric of English civilisation and culture in his day; and they are all directed by one clear and consistent critical purpose. Mr. Arnold's Essays in Criticism come to American readers with a reputation already made,—the reputation of a charming style, a great deal of excellent feeling, and an almost equal amount of questionable reasoning. It is for us either to confirm the verdict passed in the author's own country, or to judge his work afresh.

Cookie Info

In Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold describes an evening he spent with his lover. The picturesque sights and sounds around him remind him of the pathetic state of man. Although remembered now for his elegantly argued critical essays, Matthew Arnold, born in Laleham, Middlesex, on December 24, , began his career as a poet, winning early recognition as a student at the Rugby School where his father, Thomas Arnold, had earned national acclaim as a strict and innovative headmaster.