Skip Nav

Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold's Essays

❶Why not wait at least until it is used in the service of error?

Poetic achievement

1. Matthew Arnold: Benchmarks
Matthew Arnold Poetry: British Analysis

His contemporaries must have had a different view. Illustration means giving examples. Comparisons and contrasts are used to make things clearer, show the positive side of something or to find a general principle.

A definition is the explanation of vague and ambiguous words. A formal definition puts the term in a general class and then differentiates it from the other members of that class. An extended definition is used to explain an uncommon term which is new or abstract.

A Differentiation is showing what is not part of the definition. A division is the separation into groups, and a classification is the placement of units into these groups. A causal analysis consist of necessary, contributory and sufficient causes. There are different kinds of distinctions possible to differentiate between certain types of essays. On the level of topic, the author can use the a narration, description, exposition or argumentation.

On the level of style, there are more or less formal essays to distinguish. Der Englische Essay, Darmstadt, In this view Culture and Anarchy clearly is an argumentation. He thought that the writer had to be able to unfold his thoughts without constrains. Form, topic and stylistic devices were kept open. So they have hardly a structure, are rhetorical and associative. Therefore, the tone was kept rational and Bacon underlined his educatedness or cited other authorities to be accepted as an advisor.

The rational tone was achieved by the use of definitions and a dialectical logic. The stylistic devices used were comparisons, parables and metaphors. They served for illustration. The aim of the formal essay is the transmission of lessons. There was an increasing readership, achieved by the cheapness of periodicals and there was a growth in reading public because of elementary education and the overall growth of the middle-class.

Mace-Tessler adds, that the periodical essay is considered as one aspect in the development of journalism. Freiburg describes it as a mixed form of informal and formal essay. The essays where published in magazines and journals. Topics were taken from everyday life in the newly established middle class.

They were read silently at the breakfast table, or aloud at the coffee-house. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is one example. The focus of the periodical essay lied less on what was said, than on how it was said. The periodical essay had to have a certain predictability because the journal or magazine had to be sold.

This variety had to follow some predictable patterns. Drescher states, like suggested by Mace-Tessler, that the style of the periodical essay was foremost coined by the magazine which published it. The additive, linear, discursive and integral structure.

The additive structure is characterised by the fact that the parts of the text are not interrelated. In the linear structure, each part of the essay relates directly to the other, as well as to the topic, but there is no interrelation between the texts. The discursive structure has a progressive arrangement of the single texts. The episodes have a causal relation, each text leads to the other and each unit references to the topic. In an integral structure, the parts of the particular essay develop their own structure, and the sense-level stays directly connected to the topic.

Mace-Tessler distinguishes rhetorical, simple, unified, associated, unrelated and incomplete essays in his analysis of the periodicals The Tatler and The Spectator.

Culture and Anarchy was written as a rhetorical essay, published first in the periodical Cornhill Magazine over a period of almost a year. The Introduction was written at last and the particular chapters argument on a different basis of information because they were written in different periods.

According to Altick17 , all but the first part, Sweetness and Light, were written as reaction to the critiques. The structure of the whole text must be called linear, in the terminology of Drescher.

As seen above, Arnold was publishing from different perspectives. He sometimes even used a foreigners point of view to criticize his countrymen. Campbell suggests to read his criticism more like fiction. Because periodical essays were read aloud in the coffee houses authors often made use of rhetorical elements. Thus it must have been known by Matthew Arnold. Excess is not interesting. It was illegal in Britain, but how often does such a case happen? This rhetorical method of Arnold attempts to humiliate the opponent.

This is also acknowledged by Collini, who states: 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. 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. 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".

Assessing the importance of Arnold's prose work in , Stefan Collini stated, "for reasons to do with our own cultural preoccupations as much as with the merits of his writing, the best of his prose has a claim on us today that cannot be matched by his poetry. George Watson follows George Saintsbury in dividing Arnold's career as a prose writer into three phases: More recent writers, such as Collini, have shown a greater interest in his social writing, [21] while over the years a significant second tier of criticism has focused on Arnold's religious writing.

Selections from the Prose Work of Matthew Arnold [24]. Arnold's work as a literary critic began with the "Preface to the Poems". In it, he attempted to explain his extreme act of self-censorship in excluding the dramatic poem "Empedocles on Etna". With 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.

George Watson described the preface, written by the thirty-one-year-old Arnold, as "oddly stiff and graceless when we think of the elegance of his later prose. Criticism began to take first place in Arnold's writing with his appointment in to the professorship of poetry at Oxford, which he held for two successive terms of five years.

In his lectures On Translating Homer were published, to be followed in 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. 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 somewhere between the historicist approach common to many critics at the time and the personal essay; he often moved quickly and easily from literary subjects to political and social issues.

His Essays in Criticism , , remains a significant influence on critics to this day, and his prefatory essay to that collection, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time", is one of the most influential essays written on the role of the critic in identifying and elevating literature — even while admitting, "The critical power is of lower rank than the creative.

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. 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 literary criticism to remain disinterested, and said that the appreciation should be of "the object as in itself it really is.

He was led on from literary criticism to a more general critique of the spirit of his age. Between and he wrote Culture and Anarchy , famous for the term he popularised for the middle class of the English Victorian era population: Culture and Anarchy is also famous for its popularisation of the phrase "sweetness and light," first coined by Jonathan Swift.

Arnold's "want of logic and thoroughness of thought" as noted by John M. Robertson in Modern Humanists was an aspect of the inconsistency of which Arnold was accused. Arnold must be added; the son's fundamental likeness to the father was early pointed out by Swinburne , and was later attested by Matthew Arnold's grandson, Mr. In , Arnold was credited with coining the phrase "New Journalism", a term that went on to define an entire genre of newspaper history, particularly Lord Northcliffe's turn-of-the-century press empire.

However, at the time, the target of Arnold's irritation was not Northcliffe , but the sensational journalism of Pall Mall Gazette editor, W. As an occasional contributor, he had formed a particular friendship with its first editor, Frederick Greenwood and a close acquaintance with its second, John Morley.

But he strongly disapproved of the muck-raking Stead , and declared that, under Stead, "the P. His religious views were unusual for his time. Scholars of Arnold's works disagree on the nature of Arnold's personal religious beliefs.

Under the influence of Baruch Spinoza and his father, Dr. Thomas Arnold, he rejected the supernatural elements in religion, even while retaining a fascination for church rituals. Arnold seems to belong to a middle ground that is more concerned with the poetry of religion and its virtues and values for society than with the existence of God. But the story is not true; it never really happened". He continues to express his concern with Biblical truth explaining that "The personages of the Christian heaven and their conversations are no more matter of fact than the personages of the Greek Olympus and their conversations.

However, he also wrote in the same book, "to pass from a Christianity relying on its miracles to a Christianity relying on its natural truth is a great change. It can only be brought about by those whose attachment to Christianity is such, that they cannot part with it, and yet cannot but deal with it sincerely. Despite his quarrels with the Nonconformists, Arnold never voted for the Tories and would describe himself as a Liberal throughout his life.

Harold Bloom writes that "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, unlike Tennyson, Browning, Hopkins, Swinburne and Rossetti, all of whom individualized their voices.

The writer John Cowper Powys , an admirer, wrote that, "with the possible exception of Merope , Matthew Arnold's poetry is arresting from cover to cover — [he] is the great amateur of English poetry [he] always has the air of an ironic and urbane scholar chatting freely, perhaps a little indiscreetly, with his not very respectful pupils. Partial list of works: CPW stands for Robert H.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the poet. For other uses, see Matthew Arnold disambiguation. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Navigation menu

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.