Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold

The Critical Legacy

Laurence W. Mazzeno

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Examines the critical reputation of one of the great literary critics.
From the publication of The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems in 1849, Matthew Arnold has been a figure of controversy who sparked decidedly strong and divergent opinions -- both about the quality of his artistry and about the ideas he espoused. Not surprisingly, a chronological reading of books and articles focusing on Arnold's writings reveals a century-long civil war among literary scholars. Focusing on studies judged to be most influential in shaping critical opinion of Arnold's poetry and prose, Matthew Arnold: The Critical Legacy explores the interplay between individual critics and Arnold's works, and between one critic and another as they respond to Arnold's writings and the critical commentary. There emerges an appreciation for the key questions that have captured the attention of Arnold's critics for over a hundred years: Was Arnold a first-rate poet, or does he rank below the greatest figures of his century, notably Tennyson and Browning?

Table of Contents

The Reputation of the Sage: 1849-1925
Arnold among the New Critics: 1925-1949
Arnold's Reputation at Mid-Century: 1950-1959
A New Wave of Arnoldians: 1960-1969
A New Wave of Arnoldians II: 1970-1979
Fin-de Siècle Criticism of Arnold: 1990-1999
The Critical Reputation of Arnold's Religious Writings
The Critical Legacy


Mazzeno offers pellucid, informative, and witty accounts of Arnold's critics. ... [He] demonstrates that Arnold's writings are a cultural and interpretive ''barometer.'' VICTORIAN STUDIES

Author Bio

Laurence Mazzeno retired as president of Alvernia College, Pennsylvania.

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