Public domain photograph of Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

A selective list of online literary criticism for the nineteenth-century Victorian poet and essayist Matthew Arnold, with links to reliable biographical and introductory material and signed, peer-reviewed, and scholarly literary criticism.

Main Page | 19th-Century Literature | British Poets, Victorian | Arnold's First Editions | About

Introduction & Biography

"Matthew Arnold." Includes a biography, works, timelines for Arnold's social and political context, articles on the themes in his books. The Victorian Web, Professor George Landow, ed.

"Matthew Arnold." Encyclopedia-type introduction to Arnold, his biography, themes, and techniques, with selections from his most famous poems. Poetry Foundation.

"Matthew Arnold." Brief introduction to Matthew Arnold from the Academy of American Poets.

Babbitt, Irving. "Matthew Arnold." The once highly influential American cultural critic, Irving Babbitt, writes: "Arnold was misunderstood by his contemporaries, not because he was less modern, but because he was more modern than they, and he is still misunderstood for the same reason." The Nation 1917.

Honan, Park. A review of Matthew Arnold: A Life (McGraw Hill 1981), the major biography of Matthew Arnold. Reviewed in The London Review of Books 17 Sept. 1981 [excerpt].

Kirsch, Adam. "Matthew Arnold and T. S. Eliot." The American Scholar 67, 3 (Summer 1998) pp 65-73 [free at jstor].

Lang, Cecil Y., ed. A review of Prof. Lang's edition of The Letters of Matthew Arnold (U of Virginia P). Reviewed in The London Review of Books 20 Jan. 2000 [excerpt].

Stoddard, R.H. "Matthew Arnold as a Poet." An appreciation of Arnold's poetry, from a nineteenth-century American magazine. The North American Review 1888.

Wallace, Jennifer. "Matthew Arnold." Literary Encyclopedia. 7 July 2001. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd. An introduction to Arnold, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription.

Literary Criticism

Alexander, Edward. "Dr. Arnold, Matthew Arnold, and the Jews." On the views of Matthew Arnold and his father, Dr. Thomas Arnold, about Victorian political efforts to grant voting rights to British Jews. Judaism 51, 2 (Spring 2002) [questia sub ser].

Caldwell, Lauren. "Truncating Coleridgean conversation and the re-visioning of 'Dover Beach'" [and Samuel Taylor Coleridge]. Victorian Poetry 45, 4 (Winter 2007) pp 429-45 [excerpt only].

Clausson, Nils. "Arnold's Coleridgean Conversation Poem: 'Dover Beach' and 'The Eolian Harp'" [and Samuel Taylor Coleridge]. Writes Clausson, "in 'Dover Beach' Arnold came the closest, in my view, of any Victorian poet to appropriating successfully not only the conversational voice but also the poetic structure of Coleridge's conversation poems." Papers on Language and Literature Summer 2008 [questia sub ser].

Covington, David H. "Aristotelian Rhetorical Appeals in the Poetry of Matthew Arnold." Covington questions the prevailing critical assumption that Matthew Arnold's poetry fails as art because of its didactic qualities. Victorian Poetry 24, 2 (Summer 1986) pp 149-61 [free at jstor].

Crick, Brian; and Michael DiSanto. "Matthew Arnold's Place in the University." New Compass: A Critical Review 4 (Dec. 2004).

Delaura, David J. Hebrew and Hellene in Victorian England: Newman, Arnold, and Pater (U of Texas P 1969). The complete book is reprinted by permission of the author. Victorian Web.

Ebel, Henry. "Matthew Arnold and Marcus Aurelius." On the central importance of the Stoic emperor and his times to Matthew Arnold's thought. Studies in English Literature 3, 4 (Autumn 1963) pp 555-66 [free at jstor].

Ellis, Heather. "'This starting, feverish heart': Matthew Arnold and the Problem of Manliness." Critical Survey 20, 3, Victorian Masculinities (2008) pp 97-115 [free at jstor].

Farrell, John P. "What I Want the Reader to See: Action and Performance in Arnold's Prose." Also "'What You Feel I Share': Breaking the Dialogue of the Mind with Itself." From Professor Farrell's courses at the U of Texas, Austin.

Farrell, John P. "'The Scholar-Gipsy' and the Continuous Life of Victorian Poetry." Victorian Poetry 43, 3 (Fall 2005) pp 277-96 [excerpt, muse].

Frame, E. Frances. "Shaping the self: critical perspective and community in 'Sohrab and Rustum.'" Victorian Poetry 45, 1 (Spring 2007) pp 17-28 [excerpt, muse].

Gossman, Lionel. "Philhellenism and antisemitism: Matthew Arnold and his German models." Comparative Literature 46, 1 (Winter 1994) [preview or purchase, jstor]

Longenbach, James. "Matthew Arnold and the Modern Apocalypse." PMLA 104, 5 (Oct. 1989) pp 844-55 [free at jstor].

McWeeny, Gage. "Crowd Management: Matthew Arnold and the Science of Society." Victorian Poetry 41, 1 (Spring 2003) pp 93-112 [free at jstor].

O'Neill, Michael. "'The burden of ourselves': Arnold as a post-Romantic poet." O'Neill considers Arnold's poetry as a response to the major English Romantic Poets, especially Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, and contends that Arnold wavers in an unstable but poetically productive way between seeking to establish his distance from Romantic poetry and conceding its hold over his imagination. Poems examined include "The Buried Life," Empedocles on Etna, "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse," "The Scholar-Gipsy," "Memorial Verses," "A Summer Night," "Dover Beach," and "To Marguerite--Continued." This may be the best article on Arnold of the year, according to The Year's Work in English Studies. Yearbook of English Studies 36, 2 (2006) pp 109-24 [free at jstor].

Rampton, David. "Back to the future: Lionel Trilling, 'The Scholar-Gipsy,' and the state of Victorian poetry." Victorian Poetry 45, 1 (Spring 2007) pp 1-15 [excerpt, muse].

Savory, Jerold J. "Matthew Arnold and 'The Author of Supernatural Religion': The Background to God and the Bible." On Arnold's defense of the Bible at a time when German "higher criticism" was gaining acceptance. Studies in English Literature 16, 4 (Autumn 1976) [free at jstor].

Shumaker, Wayne. "Matthew Arnold's Humanism: Literature as a Criticism of Life." Studies in English Literature 2, 4 (Autumn 1962) [free at jstor].

Shumaker, Wayne. "Matthew Arnold's Humanism: Literature as a Criticism of Life." Studies in English Literature 2, 4 (Autumn 1962) [free at jstor].

Stone, Donald D. "Matthew Arnold and the Pragmatics of Hebraism and Hellenism." Poetics Today 19, 2 (Summer 1998) pp 179-98 [preview or purchase, jstor].


"Victorianism." The Victorian Web. Prof. George Landow, ed. Essays topics include Victorianism as a Fusion of Neoclassical and Romantic Ideas; The Complex Realities of Victorianism; Main Currents in Victorian Intellectual History; The fundamental conflicts of Victorian poetry; Density and Elaborate Interconnectedness of High and Late Victorian culture; The Difficulties of Victorian Poetry; Victorian Doubt and Victorian Architecture; Victorian taste; Victorian Design; Race in Thought and Science; Victorian Earnestness; The Seaside in the Victorian Literary Imagination; Tennyson and Victorianism; The Victorian Gentleman; Crisis of Organized Religion; Queen Victoria.

"Monuments and Dust." Eds. Michael Levenson, David Trotter, Anthony Wohl. IATH, U of Va. A project by an international group of scholars who are creating a complex visual, textual, and statistical representation of Victorian London.

Jackson, L. "A Dictionary of Victorian London." Victorian social history through a "dictionary" of Victorian institutions.

"The Oxford Movement 1833-1845." Catholic Encyclopedia.

Main Page | 19th-Century Literature | British Poets, Victorian | Arnold's First Editions | About

1998-2015 by Jan Pridmore