Tag: Matthew Arnold Modern Victorian


To what extent does the poetry of Matthew Arnold faithfully illustrate his ideas on literature as represented in his essay ‘The Function of Criticism at the Present Time’?

Arnold argues in his essay that criticism is as (if not more) important an aspect of literature as the creative effort. He took this stance at a time when criticism was being looked at as an academic pursuit. Some even considered it a sign of cynicism. Arnold clarifies the conventional definition of criticism thus: “the endeavor, in all branches of knowledge, theology, philosophy, history, art, science, to see the object as in itself it really is”. (Arnold) Hence, criticism is much more than comment and analysis – it is indeed a process of seeking the truth. That Arnold does not restrict his observation to merely literary art but includes all disciplines of inquiry speaks of his conviction. There is a great deal of convergence between Arnold’s views in his classic essay and his own poetry. Foremost,

“The active response Arnold always seeks in his prose criticism, as in his poetry, is the participation of his audience in the process of exercising the very . . . Read More

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