Years of research inform a definitive study of Victorian poet Matthew Arnold, the author of "Dover Beach," chronicling the life and work of the masterful writer, devoted family man, and impassioned critic of Victorian materialism.
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E.M. Forster once wrote that, "Matthew Arnold is of all the Victorians most to my taste: a great poet, a civilised citizen, and a prophet who has managed to project himself into our present troubles, so that when we read him now he seems to be in the room." Forster's words still ring true today, as any recent reader of Culture and Anarchy could attest. A spirited proponent of free and deep thinking and an inveterate opponent of the trite, the commonplace, and the closed-mindedness that he saw in his Victorian England, Arnold was a culture molder, a spinner of thoughts and critical essays, who held a mirror up to an England that would have rather looked away. He was also an activist for free and compulsory education, a poet, and professor, and he shows us how low our contemporary pundits rank among the pantheon of social commentators.
Drawing from the Letters of Matthew Arnold as well as a lode of new research, Nicholas Murray's A Life of Matthew Arnold attempts to bring Arnold into fuller view. A poet himself, Murray has a familiar grasp on Arnold's artistic sensibility. One can't help but think, however, that the title points out an inability to capture Arnold's multidimensionality. The lifelong public servant is not so easily squared with the character Murray has sketched. Nevertheless, this is a superb account of Arnold and one that does much to bring an overlooked but supremely relevant literary figure back into our midst.Review:
. . . A Life of Matthew Arnold, by Nicholas Murray . . . gives us the finest picture yet of Arnold as a playful and poised ironist, against-the-grain social critic, mocker of the knowing and the smug. Even more important, he gives us Arnold as a quick-fingered unraveler of deep-woven cultural patterns, as deft as any of today's politicized deconstructionists--and much funnier. . . . Mr. Murray's biography gives us new access to this spirit and to Arnold's lifelong attempt to move us to other spheres, to teach us, even through his melancholy poetry, that sweetness and light are not sterile elitist attitudes but tools for confronting cheap contentment, heedlessness and bigotry. -- The New York Times Book Review, James R. Kincaid
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312151691
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312151691
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110312151691
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