Matthew Arnold

9 September 2016

Matthew arrnold one of foremost critic of 19th century is often regarded as father of modern english criticism . Arnold’s work as literary critic started with “Preface to poems ” in 1853 . It is a kind of manifesto of his critical creed . It reflects classicism as well his views on grand poetic style . Arnold was classicist who loved art , literature and Hellenic culture . His most famous piece of literary criticism is in his essay ” The study of poetry “. In this workhe talks about poetry’s ” high destiny ” . He belives ” mankind will discover that we have to turn poetry to interpret life for us ,to console us ,to sustain us ” .

Arnold lived in a materialistic world where advancement of science has led society in a strange darkneess . Importace of religion was submerged . People were becoming fact seekers . A gap was being devloped and Arnold belived poetry could fill that gap . In his words “Our religion has materialized itself in the fact , and the fact is now failing it . But for poetry the idea is everything ,the rest is world of illusion , of devine illusion ” . Arnold wrote ” without poetry our science will appear incomplete ;and most of what now passes with religion and philosophy will be replaced by poetry .

Matthew Arnold Essay Example

He had definite aim in writing poetry . It was ” criticism of life ” By ” criticism of life ” he meant ” noble and profound application of ideasof life “. He said poetry should serve a greater purpose instead of becoming a mere medium of gaining pleasure and appreciating beauty . According to him the best poetry is criticism of life , abiding laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty . By poetic truth he meant repersentation of life in true way . By poetic beauty he meant manner and style of poetry . He said poet should be a man with enormous experience .

His intellect should be highly devloped by means of enormous reading and deep critical thinking . Arnold says poetry is an ” application of ideas to life ” . If the application of ideas is powerful the poetry will become great . He also lays emphasis on quality of ” high seriousness ” It comes with sincerity which poet feels for his subject. Many critics disagreed Arnold ,T. S. Elliot a graet poet himself disagreed his view by saying Arnold’s view is “frigid to anyone who has felt the full surprise and elevation of new experience in poetry ” .

Arnold classic poets include Dante , Milton , Homer and Shakespeare . He quotes famous line of Milton ” Nor thy life nor hate ; but what thou livest Live well : how ling or short , permit to heaven” . According to Arnold Geoffrey chaucer was not a classic poet as he lacked ” high seriousness ” . Arnold said poetry should deal with ideas not facs . Ideas should be moral . He said moral should not be taken in narrow sense . He says ” poetry of revolt against life ; a poetry of indifference towards moral idea is a poetry of indifference towards life “.

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