Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Arnold, Matthew. (1822 - 1888).

L i f e

- son of Dr Thomas Arnold (1795 – 1842): a clergyman, headmaster of the Rugby School, and the godfather of Victorian earnestness

- preoccupied with creating a system of education for the middle classes

- an anti-Victorian figure x but: characteristically Victorian in his assumption the puritan middle classes can be changed

W o r k

- concern: how to live a full life in a modern industrial society?

P o e t r y :

- concern: his loneliness as a lover, longing for a serenity not to be found, and despair in a universe with humanity’s role seeming incongruous

- dissatisfied with his poems (“Empedocles on Etna”), attempted to meet his own requirements x but: failed (“Balder Dead”) and abandoned poetry

“The Scholar Gypsy”:

- a joyful celebration of the freedoms of a student’s escape from routine


- an elegiac monody on the dead Arthur Hugh Clough (1819 – 61, poet)

P r o s e :

- concern: to formulate ‘ideals’ to ‘heal’ a sick society

- culture = an open-minded intelligence to view life in all its aspects, the social, political, and religious, and to cure the ills of a sick society

Essays in Criticism (1865, 1888):

- a 2-volume collection of literary critical essays

- argues for the virtues of a plain style and for ‘high seriousness’: the poet as a serious thinker offering a guidance for his readers

“The Study of Poetry”:

- criticizes the uncultured England x praises the European cultural heritage

“The Function of Criticism at the Present Time”:

- literature and literary criticism serve to produce a cultured society

Culture and Anarchy (1869) and Friendship’s Garland (1871):

- provocative socially critical tracts

- criticizes the ‘Philistine’ bourgeoise for their dullness and ignorance

- uses cajolery, irony, satire, quotations from the newspapers, and memorable catchwords (‘sweetness and light’)

Literature and Dogma (1873):

- a religious critical tract

- the Church should serve to produce a civilized society


(Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)

  • Author

    Matthew Arnold. (1822 - 1888). British.
  • Work

    Critic. Poet. Author of Culture and Anarchy (1869).
  • Genres

    Mid-Victorian prose (non-fiction) and poetry.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967. 

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


"And we are here as on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, / Where ignorant armies clash by night."

From "Dover Beech" (1867).


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