Public domain photograph of Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

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

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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, Prof. George P. Landow, ed.

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

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 only].

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].

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 [subscription service].

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

Literary Criticism

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.

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 [subscription service].

Crick, Brian. "Matthew Arnold's Place in the University." New Compass: A Critical Review 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 [subscription service].

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 only].

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

Gossman, Lionel. "Philhellenism and antisemitism: Matthew Arnold and his German models." Comparative Literature 46, 1 (Winter 1994) [subscription service, which makes available ten additional scholarly articles, enotes].

Johnson, E.D.H. "Arnold: The Dialogue Of The Mind With Itself." In The Alien Vision of Victorian Poetry. An open access book at the Victorian Web.

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 only].

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) [first page of article only, blurred].

Shumaker, Wayne. "Matthew Arnold's Humanism: Literature as a Criticism of Life." Studies in English Literature 2, 4 (Autumn 1962) [first page of article only, blurred].

Shumaker, Wayne. "Matthew Arnold's Humanism: Literature as a Criticism of Life." Studies in English Literature 2, 4 (Autumn 1962) [first page of article only, blurred].

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.

Sullivan, Dick. "Matthew Arnold, 'The Scholar Gipsy,' and the Cumnor Hills." Essay at the Victorian Web, Prof. George Landow, ed.


"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.

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