Cover image for The letters of Matthew Arnold
Title:
The letters of Matthew Arnold
Author:
Arnold, Matthew, 1822-1888.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Correspondence
Physical Description:
6 volumes : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
v. 1. 1829-1859 -- v. 2. 1860-1865 -- v. 3. 1866-1870 -- v. 4. 1871-1878 -- v. 5. 1879-1884 -- v. 6. 1885-1888.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780813916514

9780813917061

9780813917658

9780813919997

9780813920283
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
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PR4023 .A44 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
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PR4023 .A44 1996 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
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Summary

Summary

The University Press of Virginia edition of The Letters of Matthew Arnold, edited by Cecil Y. Lang, represents the most comprehensive and assiduously annotated collection of Arnold's correspondence available. When complete in six volumes, this edition will include close to four thousand letters, nearly five times the number in G.W.E. Russell's two-volume compilation of 1895. The letters, at once meaty and delightful, appear with a consecutiveness rare in such editions, and they contain a great deal of new information, both personal (sometimes intimate) and professional. Two new diaries are included, a handful of letters to Matthew Arnold, and many of his own that will appear in their entirety here for the first time. Renowned as a poet and critic, Arnold will be celebrated now as a letter writer. Nowhere else is Arnold's appreciation of life and literature so extravagantly evident as in his correspondence. His letters amplify the dark vision of his own verse, as well as the moral background of his criticism. As Cecil Lang writes, the letters "may well be the finest portrait of an age and of a person, representing the main movements of mind and of events of nearly half a century and at the same time revealing the intimate life of the participant-observer, in any collection of letters in the nineteenth century, possibly in existence."

Volume 1 begins with an account of the Arnold children by their father, headmaster of Rugby School. The letters show Arnold as a precocious schoolboy, doted on and remonstrated by his extended family; as a foppish Oxonian; as a young man enjoying the pleasures of Paris and working at a perfect and undemanding job; then as a new husband in an imperfect, too-demanding job; as Professor of Poetry at Oxford; and finally as an emergent European critic. As Cecil Lang writes in his engaging and spacious introduction, "Arnold learned to live with a boring, demanding, underpaid, unrewarding occupation largely because--questing intellectual, husband and father, school inspector, clubbable man-about-town and cosmopolite-about-Europe and America, hunter, fisherman, skater, voracious reader--he lived to learn."


Summary

The University Press of Virginia edition of The Letters of Matthew Arnold, edited by Cecil Y. Lang, represents the most comprehensive and assiduously annotated collection of Arnold's correspondence available. When complete in six volumes, this edition will include close to four thousand letters, nearly five times the number in G.W.E. Russell's two-volume compilation of 1895. The letters, at once meaty and delightful, appear with a consecutiveness rare in such editions, and they contain a great deal of new information, both personal (sometimes intimate) and professional. Two new diaries are included, a handful of letters to Matthew Arnold, and many of his own that will appear in their entirety here for the first time. Renowned as a poet and critic, Arnold will be celebrated now as a letter writer. Nowhere else is Arnold's appreciation of life and literature so extravagantly evident as in his correspondence. His letters amplify the dark vision of his own verse, as well as the moral background of his criticism. As Cecil Lang writes, the letters "may well be the finest portrait of an age and of a person, representing the main movements of mind and of events of nearly half a century and at the same time revealing the intimate life of the participant-observer, in any collection of letters in the nineteenth century, possibly in existence."

Volume 2 covers the years of Arnold's emergence as a critic. During this period, he consolidated his reputation with Essays in Criticism, notably the influential article, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time." In 1865, in Europe on an official school study, he records his impressions with his usual keen observations of nature within and nature without. His letters to friends (old and new, at home and abroad), to politicians and theologians continue to display an unhurried, unfailing intellect. Writing to his mother and other members of his family, he exhibits a warm, witty, and always observant devotion to his wife, Flu, and young son, Tom, who often accompany him on his travels in England.


Summary

The University Press of Virginia edition of The Letters of Matthew Arnold, edited by Cecil Y. Lang, represents the most comprehensive and assiduously annotated collection of Arnold's correspondence available. When complete in six volumes, this edition will include close to four thousand letters, nearly five times the number in G.W.E. Russell's two-volume compilation of 1895. The letters, at once meaty and delightful, appear with a consecutiveness rare in such editions, and they contain a great deal of new information, both personal (sometimes intimate) and professional. Two new diaries are included, a handful of letters to Matthew Arnold, and many of his own that will appear in their entirety here for the first time. Renowned as a poet and critic, Arnold will be celebrated now as a letter writer. Nowhere else is Arnold's appreciation of life and literature so extravagantly evident as in his correspondence. His letters amplify the dark vision of his own verse, as well as the moral background of his criticism. As Cecil Lang writes, the letters "may well be the finest portrait of an age and of a person, representing the main movements of mind and of events of nearly half a century and at the same time revealing the intimate life of the participant-observer, in any collection of letters in the nineteenth century, possibly in existence."

The letters in this volume show Arnold, now midway in his professional career, publishing his first volume of poems in a decade and emerging as a critic--simultaneously--of society, of education, of religion, and, as always, of politics. In 1867 he published New Poems, containing several of his best-known and most beloved works, "Dover Beach," "Thyrsis," "Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse" and many others, including the first reprint since 1852 of "Empedocles on Etna," and in 1869 Culture and Anarchy, of which the germ is visible in a remarkable letter to his mother in 1867, as well as the influential reports on continental schools, and the seminal St. Paul and Protestantism.

The marvelous letters to his mother and other family members continue unabated; two of his sons die, their deaths recorded in wrenching accents; his essays, possibly by design, draw flak from all directions, which Arnold evades (any poet to any critic) as adroitly or disarmingly as usual; for two years he takes into his home an Italian prince; and he is awarded an honorary Oxford degree. He remains in every way both Establishment and anti-Establishment, both courteous, as has been said, and something better than courteous: honest.


Author Notes

Matthew Arnold, a noted poet, critic, and philosopher, was born in England on December 24, 1822 and educated at Oxford University. In 1851, he was appointed inspector of schools, a position he held until 1880. Arnold also served as a professor of poetry at Oxford, during which time he delivered many lectures that ultimately became essays.

Arnold is considered a quintessential proponent of Victorian ideals. He argued for higher standards in literature and education and extolled classic virtues of manners, impersonality and unanimity. After writing several works of poetry, Arnold turned to criticism, authoring such works as On Translating Homer, Culture and Anarchy, and Essays in Criticism. In these and other works, he criticized the populace, especially the middle class, whom he branded as "philistines" for their degrading values. He greatly influenced both British and American criticism.

In later life, he turned to religion. In works such as Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible, he explains his conservative philosophy and attempts to interpret the Bible as literature. Arnold died from heart failure on April 15, 1888 in Liverpool, England. (Bowker Author Biography)


Matthew Arnold, a noted poet, critic, and philosopher, was born in England on December 24, 1822 and educated at Oxford University. In 1851, he was appointed inspector of schools, a position he held until 1880. Arnold also served as a professor of poetry at Oxford, during which time he delivered many lectures that ultimately became essays.

Arnold is considered a quintessential proponent of Victorian ideals. He argued for higher standards in literature and education and extolled classic virtues of manners, impersonality and unanimity. After writing several works of poetry, Arnold turned to criticism, authoring such works as On Translating Homer, Culture and Anarchy, and Essays in Criticism. In these and other works, he criticized the populace, especially the middle class, whom he branded as "philistines" for their degrading values. He greatly influenced both British and American criticism.

In later life, he turned to religion. In works such as Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible, he explains his conservative philosophy and attempts to interpret the Bible as literature. Arnold died from heart failure on April 15, 1888 in Liverpool, England. (Bowker Author Biography)


Matthew Arnold, a noted poet, critic, and philosopher, was born in England on December 24, 1822 and educated at Oxford University. In 1851, he was appointed inspector of schools, a position he held until 1880. Arnold also served as a professor of poetry at Oxford, during which time he delivered many lectures that ultimately became essays.

Arnold is considered a quintessential proponent of Victorian ideals. He argued for higher standards in literature and education and extolled classic virtues of manners, impersonality and unanimity. After writing several works of poetry, Arnold turned to criticism, authoring such works as On Translating Homer, Culture and Anarchy, and Essays in Criticism. In these and other works, he criticized the populace, especially the middle class, whom he branded as "philistines" for their degrading values. He greatly influenced both British and American criticism.

In later life, he turned to religion. In works such as Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible, he explains his conservative philosophy and attempts to interpret the Bible as literature. Arnold died from heart failure on April 15, 1888 in Liverpool, England. (Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Library Journal Review

In the words of editor Lang, Arnold was possessed of a "voracious appetite for meeting and talking with everybody in the known world." By the age of 37, when these letters end, he had corresponded across three continents with such luminaries as the Tennysons and Wordsworths and Coleridges, Saint-Beuve, Mérimée and Michelet, Gladstone, Harriett Martineau, Sand, Renan, and Froude. Arnold exhibited the same virtues in private as in public: a sunny disposition, a desire to be used, a consuming passion for the letters, and constant efforts to improve mind and character. A letter to his mother, dated May 16, 1855, demonstrates Arnold's ineradicable sense of fairness: he praises the controversial bluestocking Martineau for her independence of mind, though he could agree with her on nothing. The standard of editing in this first volume is uniformly high; Lang, an Arnold scholar, offers lively and informative comments. For academic collections.‘David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Lang (Univ. of Virginia) was designated by A. Dwight Culler "the prince of editors among Victorians." Lang built that reputation in part on his fine editions of Swinburne's letters and of Tennyson's, and now he offers the first volume of what will be the definitive critical edition of all the known letters of Matthew Arnold. When the six volumes are complete the edition will include almost 4,000 letters (approximately five times the number in the two-volume Letters of Matthew Arnold 1848-1888, compiled by G.W.E. Russell, 1895). Many of the letters appear in their entirety in print for the first time. In his 60-page introduction, Lang discusses previous editions of Arnold's letters and acclaims the letters as "perhaps the finest portrait of an age and of a person, representing the main movements of mind and of events of nearly half a century and at the same time revealing the actual intimate life of the participant-observer, in any collection of English letters in the nineteenth century, possibly in existence." Volume 1 includes both letters and diaries written by Arnold and some letters written to/about him. Detailed notes and appendixes. This scholarly achievement merits applause. Highly recommended. L. M. Tenbusch emeritus, Immaculata College


Choice Review

Readers of this second volume of Arnold's letters may want to review the valuable introduction to the first (CH, Jan'97) of the projected six-volume set before beginning this one. The boy and young man of volume 1 (1829-59) is now a reader's delight--one moment son, another brother, father, friend, poet, school inspector, England's most famous living critic--"all things to all men." Lang suggests that Arnold's own words about his poetry, mutatis mutandis, well describe the letters of this second volume: "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." In contrast to some of his contemporaries, Arnold loved living and loved letter-writing, and his letters show it. His enthusiasm is so contagious that rare will be the reader who can put down this volume of letters (accompanied by occasional replies). Even the footnotes are enlightening and enjoyable, with touches of scholarly humor. This lively re-creation of Victorian England will leave readers wondering who in the 21st century will be able to reread what we are e-mailing now. Includes a chronology and a 20-page index. All academic collections. L. M. Tenbusch; emerita, Immaculata College


Excerpts

Excerpts

CHAPTER ONE Thomas Arnold to Susan Delafield(1) Rugby November 25, 1829 My dearest Aunt I do not know when I have written a Letter addressed to yourself, and as I am now in School with the Boys writing Exercises, and have thus a little Time on my Hands to spare, I think I cannot do better than write to you, although we sent a Letter to Laleham so recently.--You must not therefore be alarmed, or think that any Thing is the Matter, when my Epistle makes its' Appearance; for the Children's Coughs are still so slight that we cannot tell whether it is the hooping Cough or no, and both Mary and I continue very well.--I think it may interest you to hear my Report of all the Fry in Order.--K you have seen very lately, and therefore you will know her better than any of them:--her Love for Laleham is unabated:--it was only this Morning when Matt was drawing a Church after his Fashion with a high Steeple, and I told him that I thought Churches with Towers were prettier, that K cried out that she thought so too, because Laleham Church had a Tower.--She gets on with her Latin Grammar, and knows the New Testament remarkably well;--and she is at once the merriest and one of the most obedient & tender hearted of all the Fry;--this Morning when she saw the Snow she wanted immediately to go out and play in it, and she was delighted when I brought them in a great Snowball to eat and to throw into the Fire.--Crab is also getting on with his Grammar, and I think with all his Work.--He is less active than K or Prawn, but I do not think that one of them has a stronger Understanding, nor more self Command: and I have dearly loved to see the Struggles which he has had with himself, and how much he has got the better of the Faults that are most natural to him.--They have made Lists of all their Possessions, and these I call over sometimes, to see if all their Things are safe;--and when any Thing is missing I take some other Thing away as a Pledge, and do not give it back till the lost Article is found.--And on the other Hand, I promised to give each Child a Shilling, if all their Things proved safe. I called over on Sunday, & one of poor Matt's Things being missing, he had no Shilling and I took a Pledge: but when I called over Tom's Things, & something was missing there, Matt sprung down from his Dinner to look for it, & had the Pleasure of finding it for Tom to save his Shilling.--Afterwards his own lost Article was found, & I gave him his Shilling;--but after a moment he gave it back to me saying, "Papa, there was another of my Things missing, which has not been yet found, so I ought not to have the Shilling."--You will believe that I was not sorry when Miss Rutland produced it almost immediately afterwards, and Crab could have his Shilling.--Prawn is as fond of the geographical Cards as I [use]d to be, and will stay for Hours trying to find out the Places.(2)--He seems now quite well and strong,--and so good a Boy both to Miss Rutland and to us that it is delightful to see him. He is very curious in whatever he reads to be able to understand every Thing thoroughly.--Small Wild Cat is still as [paper torn: 1 or 2 wds missing: ? much a cor]morant and as improved in Temper and Conduct a [paper torn: ? s when] I saw you in the Holydays.--Didu is fonder than [paper torn: ? ever of] his Mamma and me; but he too is become [paper torn: ? less calm] in the Nursery than he was, and with us [paper torn: ? more so]. He is very quick with his Letters and his [paper torn: ? learning] Things by Heart;--but I do not want any of [paper torn: ? them pushed] forward, and I have yet begged that the Hours of their Lessons may be diminished to two Hours and a half a Day--for I think that mine with you in former Times used not to exceed an Hour, and I am afraid of their little Brains being over exerted.--As to dear little Widu, he shows some Violence, but he has been whipt, and he does not seem to like the Operation, for he is quiet in an Instant whenever he sees me look angry at him.--He is very fond of me, and delights to be in my Hole, that is, my little dressing Room. And thus I have given you a long Letter all about Fry,-but you are so affectionate to Fry's Papa that I think you will like to hear about them. I wish you were given to write Letters,--but you never were fond of it, and it is now too late to begin.--With our dearest Love to Susy and the Bucklands,(3) believe me my dearest Aunt Ever your most dutiful & affectionate Nephew, T. Arnold. MS. National Archives of Canada. (1.) Thomas Arnold (1795-1842: DNB), the famous headmaster of Rugby School and father of Matthew Arnold, was the son of William Arnold (1745-1801) and Martha Delafield (1750-Apr. 1829) and the nephew of Susan Delafield (d. 1834), to whom this letter is addressed. The best sources of information about them all are Whitridge, Wymer, and Honan. Thomas Arnold married Mary Penrose (1791-1873) on Aug. 11, 1820. They had eleven children, of whom nine survived; the six born before this letter, a sort of Bestiary, are named in it (the seventh was born exactly nine months later). The children, referred to collectively as the "Fry" (later "Dogs"), all had nicknames (see below p. 18 and Honan, pp. 427-28): Jane Martha (1821-99), "K" Matthew (1822-88), "Crab" Thomas (1823-1900), "Prawn" Mary (1825-88), "Small Wild Cat" (later "Bacco") Edward Penrose (1826-78), "Didu" William Delafield (1828-59), "Widu" For the record, the three children not yet born were: Susanna Elizabeth Lydia (1830-1911), "Babbat Apbook" Frances Bunsen Trevenen Whately (1833-1923), "Bonze" Walter Thomas (1835-93), "Quid" or "Cows" In Dec. 1827, Thomas Arnold had been "appointed Headmaster of Rugby at a salary of [pounds sterling] 113 6s 8d a year, plus 2 [pounds sterling] a head extra for every boy living within ten miles of the town, and a `handsome house and spacious apartments for the reception of 50 pupils'" (Wymer, p. 86). He took up his duties as headmaster in Aug. 1828. 2. Miss Rutland, the governess, taught the children by the same method that Susan Delafield had taught their father--"how to identify the counties of England with the aid of geography cards" (Wymer, p. 16). 3. His sister Susanna Arnold, afflicted with paralysis since 1811, died in 1832 (Wymer, pp. 44-45, 133). Another sister, Frances Arnold (1790-1863), married the Rev. John Buckland (1785-1859) in 1816, and with him Thomas Arnold joined forces in establishing a school at Laleham, Middlesex, a village on the Thames near Staines. Mary Penrose Arnold and Thomas Arnold to Matthew Arnold Rugby Wednesday, August 24, [1831] My dearest Matt You will not I hope forget that you were to write to us on Friday, the day you will receive this. It is the day of your own choice, and after what we have said to you I shall be sorry and disappointed, if you do not manage to send us longer letters than you did. If you can tell us that you get on well you will make us very happy, but if not, still we had rather you wrote plainly and openly to us, for you are our own dear child, and we like to know all about you. You may think with pleasure that you pleased us while you were at home with us, and you may also be very sure that you please us now, every time you overcome idleness or try not to be selfish or tell the truth from your heart when you are tempted to do otherwise. Rugby looks very different now from when you were at home, for our three hundred Boys are nearly all arrived, and the whole place is as busy as it can well be. Mr Price has 40 Boys, and I have just been over his house, and his bedrooms you may tell your Aunt Buckland look quite comfortable now, they are so improved by the beds being altered as she advised. There are now eighty Boys at Mr Price's and Mr Ansteys, so that I see a great many making all haste to school when I get up in a morning, for you know my bed room looks out on the school field. We have a new Master come to help M: Pons in teaching French and German and Italian, but he cannot speak English himself, and he must learn it as fast as he can.(1) Copyright (c) 1996 Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.