Selected Poems by Matthew Arnold
(Penguin Classics)

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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".

About Matthew Arnold

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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.
Published March 1, 1995 by Penguin Classics. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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