Culture and Anarchy (1869), Friendship’s Garland (1871)

  • Clinton Machann
Part of the Literary Lives book series (LL)


After publishing Essays in Criticism in 1865, Arnold not only curtailed his composition of poetry, he even abandoned literary criticism per se for an entire decade. Most of his contemporary critics encouraged him to publish more essays on poets and poetry, but the introductory ‘Function of Criticism’ in Essays clearly signalled the direction of his development. Arnold’s expansive concept of criticism in that essay anticipates that of culture in Culture and Anarchy, and the thematic continuity is acknowledged in modern criticism of Arnold, which refers to these titles more often than to any of his other works. There is also an obviously close connection between these two texts in the history of Arnold’s polemics. In the mid-1860s, he did not waste his creative energy in worrying about the poetic vocation that was slipping away from him. Soon after reading Stephen’s attack on ‘Function’ in December 1864, Arnold wrote to his mother that:

[the critic’s] complaint that I do not argue reminds me of dear old [brother] Edward, who always says when any of his family do not go his way, that they do not reason. However my sinuous, easy unpolemical mode of proceeding has been adopted by me first, because I really think it the best way of proceeding if one wants to get at, and keep with, truth; secondly because I am convinced only by a literary form of this kind being given to them can ideas such as mine ever gain any access in a country such as ours. So from anything like a direct answer, or direct controversy I shall religiously abstain; but here and there I shall take an opportunity of putting back this and that matter into its true light, if I think he has pulled them out of it; and I have the idea of a paper for the Cornhill, about March, to be called ‘My Countrymen’ and in which I may be able to say a number of things I want to say, about the course of this Middle Class Education matter amongst others. (SL 166–7)


British Society Daily Telegraph Literary Life Saturday Review Insufficient Light 
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Notes and Reference

  1. 1.
    See Bernadette Waterman Ward, ‘Ernest Renan’s Averroism in the Religious Thought of Matthew Arnold’, Nineteenth-Century Prose, 22, 1 (1995), 34–53.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For a concise account of the evolving meanings of ‘culture’ in nineteenth-century England and Arnold’s role in this process, see David J. DeLaura, ’Matthew Arnold and Culture: The History and the Prehistory’, in Matthew Arnold in His Time and Ours: Centenary Essays, ed. Clinton Machann and Forrest D. Burt ( Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1988 ), pp. 1–16.Google Scholar
  3. Also see DeLaura’s ‘Arnold and Goethe: The One on the Intellectual Throne’, in Victorian Literature and Society: Essays Presented to Richard D. Altick, ed. James R. Kinkaid and Albert J. Kuhn ( Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1984 ), pp. 197–224.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See David DeLaura, ‘Arnold and Carlyle’, PMLA, 79 (1964), 104–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. David DeLaura, ‘Carlyle and Arnold: The Religious Issue’, in Carlyle Past and Present: A Collection of New Essays, ed. K. J. Fielding and Rodger L. Tarr ( London: Vision Press, 1976 ), pp. 127–54.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Eugene Goodheart, ‘Arnold, Critic of Ideology’, New Literary History, 25 (1994), 415–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.
    Sidney M. B. Coulling, ‘Matthew Arnold and the Daily Telegraph’, Review of English Studies, 12 (1961), 178.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    George A. Sala, Life and Adventures (London: Cassell, 1895 ), I, 18–19.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    See J. Holloway, The Victorian Sage: Studies in Argument ( London: Macmillan, 1953 ), pp. 215–19.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    David DeLaura, Hebrew and Hellene in Victorian England: Newman, Arnold, and Pater ( Austin: University of Texas Press, 1969 ), p. 230.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    See George W. Stocking, Jr, ‘Matthew Arnold, E. B. Tylor, and the Uses of Invention’, American Anthropologist, 65 (1963), 783–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Clinton Machann 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clinton Machann
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityUSA

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