Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems

Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems

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Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems by Matthew Arnold

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Matthew Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum and Other Poems

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Book Excerpt

tention is fixed mainly on the value of separate thoughts and images which occur in the treatment of an action. They regard the whole; we regard the parts. We have poems which seem to exist merely for the sake of single lines and passages, and not for the sake of producing any total impression. We have critics who seem to direct their attention merely to detached expressions, to the language about the action, not the action itself. I verily believe that the majority of them do not believe that there is such a thing as a total impression to be derived from a poem at all, or to be demanded from a poet. They will permit the poet to select any action he pleases, and to suffer that action to go as it will, provided he gratifies them with occasional bursts of fine writing, and with a show of isolated thoughts and images; that is, they permit him to leave their poetic sense ungratified, provided that he gratifies their rhetorical sense and their curiosity."

Arnold has illustrated, with remarkable success, his

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