Matthew Arnold is not only a significant poet, but also a critic of the Victorian age. It is partly because a prose-writer's intelligence shapes his finest poetry that he is set "somewhat apart". Believing that poetry should be "a criticism of life", in his poetry Arnold often explores personal responses to the society he critizes in his prose. The characteristic notes, in major poems such as "Dover Beach" or "Thyrsis", are meditative and elegiac, informed by doubt and by the conflict between necessity and desire. For this edition, Timothy Peltason has selected poems written mostly by the time Arnold has reached his mid-thirties, but also including the three elegies for family pets that Arnold wrote near the end of his life. The volume also prints the full texts of the long poems, "Empedocles on Etna", "Sohrab and Rustum" and "Tristram and Iseult".
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Published March 1, 1995
by Penguin Classics.
Literature & Fiction.