Simon Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1966. In Arnold's interpretation, he does this in response to a loss of joy and purpose in life. Nevertheless if we are urgently pressed to give some critical account of them, we may safely, perhaps, venture on laying down, not indeed how and why the characters arise, but where and in what they arise. To trace the labour, the attempts, the weaknesses, the failures of a genuine classic, to acquaint oneself with his time and his life and his historical relationships, is mere literary dilettantism unless it has that clear sense and deeper enjoyment for its end. A gap was being developed and Arnold believed poetry could fill that gap.
It happens in three ways- the real estimate, the historic estimate, and the personal estimate. Charlatanism is for confusing the difference between excellent and inferior, sound and unsound or only half sound, true and untrue or only half true. Once the critic has lodged the touchstones in his mind in order to detect the possession of high poetic quality he will have the tact of finding it in other poetry that he compares to the touchstones. But a whole poem of that quality Burns cannot make; the rest, in the Farewell to Nancy, is verbiage. Science, I say, will appear incomplete without it. In the twelfth century the bloom of this romance-poetry was earlier and stronger in England, at the court of our Anglo-Norman kings, than in France itself.
Though Arnold often paints the city in a negative light, he is also clearly tied to Oxford the way many of us are tied to our homes, as these lines indicate. Arnold continues to remark that Chaucer is a perpetual fountain of good sense. It is this chiefly which gives to our spirits what they can rest upon; and with the increasing demands of our modern ages upon poetry, this virtue of giving us what we can rest upon will be more and more highly esteemed. The poem features a speaker addressing his beloved, describing the beautiful view of the waves and the sounds of the seashore. They are far better recognised by being felt in the verse of the master, than by being perused in the prose of the critic. In this tender mood he reads pieces like the Holy Fair or Halloween.
Matthew Arnold's Touchstone Method of Criticism was really a comparative system of criticism. At moments he touches it in a profound and passionate melancholy, as in those four immortal lines taken by Byron as a motto for The Bride of Abydos, but which have in them a depth of poetic quality such as resides in no verse of Byrons own Had we never loved sae kindly, Had we never loved sae blindly, Never met, or never parted, We had neer been broken-hearted. This is not to say that his love for Lucy was not genuine, or something caught on the rebound; it was rather that Arnold had revised his expectations. Arnold believes that the art of poetry is capable of high destinies. Do you ask me whether the poetry of these men has either the matter or the inseparable manner of such an adequate poetic criticism; whether it has the accent of Absent thee from felicity awhile or of And what is else not to be overcome or of O martyr souded in virginitee! He married in 1851 and began to work as Inspector of Schools.
Vitet is not satisfied with seeing in it a document of some poetic value, and of very high historic and linguistic value; he sees in it a grand and beautiful work, a monument of epic genius. Their report hardly enters the general ear; probably they do not always impose even on the literary men who adopt them. His preferred reading is revealing. However we may account for its absence, something is wanting, then, to the poetry of Chaucer, which poetry must have before it can be placed in the glorious class of the best. His poetry transcends and effaces, easily and without effort, all the romance-poetry of Catholic Christendom; it transcends and effaces all the English poetry contemporary with it, it transcends and effaces all the English poetry subsequent to it down to the age of Elizabeth. Biography Matthew Arnold was born on December 24, 1822 in Laleham, Middlesex, England. Then Arnold moves on to speak about Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth but does not pass any judgement on their poetry.
For in poetry the distinction between excellent and inferior, sound and unsound or only half-sound, true and untrue or only half-true, is of paramount importance. His intellect should be highly developed by means of enormous reading and deep critical thinking. So, it is important that readers should learn to choose the best. They give a bit of insight into the vital role that Oxford played in Arnold's life; he spent his student years studying there, and much of his adult life teaching there. The doctrine of the lastquoted lines coincides almost exactly with what was the aim and end, Xenophon tells us, of all the teaching of Socrates.
The strongest part of our religion today is its unconscious poetry. But in spite of the disturbing pressures of personal partiality, of national partiality, let us try to reach a real estimate of the poetry of Burns. It was a moment that could have brought them great serenity, some freedom from life's limitations. No doubt a poets criticism of life may have such truth and power that it triumphs over its world and delights us. Nash New York: Teachers College Press, 1965.
As regards literary production, the task of the eighteenth century in England was not the poetic interpretation of the world; its task was to create a plain, clear, straightforward, efficient prose. Arnolds ideal poets are Homer and Sophocles in the ancient world, Dante and Milton, and among moderns, Goethe and Wordsworth. There was little evidence at this time of a similar influence on Matthew Arnold. Adhering to this principle, we might end up dealing with only a small part of the total poetry. He speaks of 'A longing like despair' born of a feeling that once 'we were parts of a single continent. The idea of tracing historic origins and historical relationships cannot be absent from a compilation like the present. This is also true for critics who tend to revert to the historic and personal estimate instead of an unbiased real estimate.