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Matthew Arnold   By: (1845-1933)

Book cover

First Page:

MODERN ENGLISH WRITERS.

MATTHEW ARNOLD...... Professor SAINTSBURY.

R.L. STEVENSON...... L. COPE CORNFORD.

JOHN RUSKIN ....... Mrs MEYNELL.

ALFRED TENNYSON ..... ANDREW LANG.

THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY ... EDWARD CLODD.

THACKERAY ........ CHARLES WHIBLEY.

GEORGE ELIOT....... A.T. QUILLER COUCH.

BROWNING......... C.H. HERFORD.

FROUDE.......... JOHN OLIVER HOBBES.

DICKENS ......... W.E. HENLEY.

[Symbol: 3 asterisks] Other Volumes will be announced in due course .

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBURGH AND LONDON

MATTHEW ARNOLD

BY

GEORGE SAINTSBURY

PROFESSOR OF RHETORIC AND ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

THIRD IMPRESSION

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS EDINBURGH AND LONDON MCMII

PREFACE.

Mr. Matthew Arnold, like other good men of our times, disliked the idea of being made the subject of a regular biography; and the only official and authoritative sources of information as to the details of his life are the Letters published by his family, under the editorship of Mr G.W.E. Russell (2 vols., London, 1895)[1]. To these, therefore, it seems to be a duty to confine oneself, as far as such details are concerned, save as regards a very few additional facts which are public property. But very few more facts can really be wanted except by curiosity; for in the life of no recent person of distinction did things literary play so large a part as in Mr Arnold's: of no one could it be said with so much truth that, family affections and necessary avocations apart, he was totus in illis . And these things we have in abundance.[2] If the following pages seem to discuss them too minutely, it can only be pleaded that those to whom it seems so are hardly in sympathy with Matthew Arnold himself. And if the discussion seems to any one too often to take the form of a critical examination, let him remember Mr. Arnold's own words in comparing the treatment of Milton by Macaulay and by M. Scherer:

"Whoever comes to the Essay on Milton with the desire to get at the real truth about Milton, whether as a man or a poet, will feel that the essay in nowise helps him. A reader who only wants rhetoric, a reader who wants a panegyric on Milton, a panegyric on the Puritans, will find what he wants. A reader who wants criticism will be disappointed."

I have endeavoured, in dealing with the master of all English critics in the latter half of the nineteenth century, to "help the reader who wants criticism."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Mr Arthur Galton's Matthew Arnold (London, 1897) adds a few pleasant notes, chiefly about dachshunds.

[2] It is impossible, in dealing with them, to be too grateful to Mr. T. B. Smart's Bibliography of Matthew Arnold (London, 1892), a most craftsmanlike piece of work.

CONTENTS.

CHAP.

I. LIFE TILL MARRIAGE, AND WORK TILL THE PUBLICATION OF THE POEMS OF 1853

II. LIFE FROM 1851 62 SECOND SERIES OF POEMS MEROPE ON TRANSLATING HOMER

III. A FRENCH ETON ESSAYS IN CRITICISM CELTIC LITERATURE NEW POEMS LIFE FROM 1862 TO 1867

IV. IN THE WILDERNESS

V. THE LAST DECADE

VI. CONCLUSION

INDEX

MATTHEW ARNOLD.

CHAPTER I.

LIFE TILL MARRIAGE, AND WORK TILL THE PUBLICATION OF THE POEMS OF 1853.

Even those who are by no means greedy of details as to the biography of authors, may without inconsistency regret that Matthew Arnold's Letters do not begin till he was just five and twenty. And then they are not copious, telling us in particular next to nothing about his literary work (which is, later, their constant subject) till he was past thirty. We could spare schoolboy letters, which, though often interesting, are pretty identical, save when written by little prigs. But the letters of an undergraduate especially when the person is Matthew Arnold, and the University the Oxford of the years 1841 45 ought to be not a little symptomatic, not a little illuminative... Continue reading book >>




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