Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold

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Matthew Arnold by George Saintsbury

Published:

1902

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Matthew Arnold

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Book Excerpt

. If we did not know that the middle of this century was one of the nadirs of English[3] criticism, and if we did not know further that even good critics often go strangely wrong both in praise and in blame of new verse, it would be most surprising that The Strayed Reveller volume should have attracted so little attention. It is full of faults, but that is part of the beauty of it. Some of these faults are those which, persevering, prevented Mr Arnold from attaining a higher position than he actually holds in poetry; but no critic could know that. There is nothing here worse, or more necessarily fatal, than many things in Tennyson's 1830 and 1832 collections: he overwent those, so might Mr Arnold have overgone these. And the promise--nay, the performance--is such as had been seen in no verse save Tennyson's, and the almost unnoticed Browning's, for some thirty years. The title-poem, though it should have pleased even a severe judge, might have aroused uncomfortable doubts even in an amiable one. In t

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