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in 1852, published his Empedocles on Etna, with Other Poems. The next year, he reprinted his first two volumes, with additional poems, under the title of Poems, “by Matthew Arnold," thus acknowledging their authorship. In the preface to this volume of 1853, he enters upon a long discussion concerning poetic objects and methods, with the aim of defending his use of classic subjects. In all his early poems, the influence of Greek literature is very strongly apparent, and the subjects of the longer poems are taken from Greek history or mythology. He defends his love of the Greeks by saying that “they are the highest models of expression, the unapproached masters of the grand style,” which is his first use of one of his most expressive phrases. He says in this preface that the aim of poetry is to fitly characterize great actions and to portray the universal human sentiments. To this end, he says, the poet will find “how unspeakably superior is the effect of the one moral impression left by a great action treated as a whole to the effect produced by the most striking single thought or by the happiest image.”
The dominating influence of the Greek spirit appears throughout all Matthew Arnold's poetry. In this tendency to revive the past, he was influenced by the Oxford movement, not directly, but by way of reaction. The same influence may be seen in the religious attitude of his poetry as in the poetry of Clough and others among the younger poets of the period. Brought under the intensest influence of the two great movements of the time in religious thought, they were repelled from both in the direction of an intellectual scepticism. Deeply loving the leaders on both sides, and under that personal influence which made the taking of sides difficult, they were led into an attitude of doubt as to whether the truth is to be found anywhere. In this dilemma, they found escape and relief in literature.
The first volume of his Poems was reprinted in 1854, with an additional preface, and the same year a new volume appeared. In 1857, he published a one-act tragedy based on the legendary history of Merope, taking the Greek trage
dies for his model. It cannot be said the poem was much of a success in catching either the spirit or manner of the Greeks; and it is not now included in his poems. A long preface on the legendary and dramatic history of Merope, and on the dramatic method of the Greeks, is by far the best part of the little book.
In 1857, Arnold was appointed the Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford ; and he held that position for eleven years. One of the published results of his holding that office are four lectures on the Translation of Homer. In 1859, he published a pamphlet on “England and the Italian Question." At about this time, he began to contribute papers on literary subjects to the reviews; and these were, in 1865, gathered together under the title of Essays in Criticism. It is one of the best of his books, and a model of fine literary insight and suggestion. In 1867 appeared his scholarly essay On the Study of Celtic Literature.
All this literary work was carried on in the midst of his professional labors, and shows the way in which he filled up his idle hours. For more than twenty years, he was connected with the work of the Council of Education, and was a most active and valuable promoter of a better system of public schools. As one of the school inspectors, he visited repeatedly nearly every county in England. His reports in this capacity have never been reprinted from the official documents, but they doubtless contain much of valuable information and suggestion. In connection with his school work, he visited the primary schools of France, Holland, and Switzerland in 1860. He made a thorough study of the methods of primary instruction in France; made himself familiar with every kind of school, and with all the results produced. Returning home, he made a report to the government, which he enlarged and revised and published in 1861, under the title of the Popular Education of France, with Notices of that of Holland and Switzerland. This is an exceedingly interesting and valuable work, full of information, and abounding with wise advice and criticism. In 1859, he visited the great school for boys at Sorèze, in
France, then under the care of Lacordaire; and, in 1864, he gave an account of it in his little book called A French Eton; or, Middle-Class Education and the State. Again, in 1865, he visited the continent in the interests of education, making a careful study of the middle-class and higher methods of instruction in France, Germany, Prussia, Switzerland, and Italy. The results of his studies were embodied in his Schools and Universities on the Continent, published in 1868. That part of this work relating to Germany was in 1874 republished as the Higher Schools and Universities in Germany, and with a new and a long preface.
These works on education in continental Europe deserve a greater recognition than they have as yet received. They are not only valuable for the facts they contain, but for the wise suggestions quite as much. Their suggestions to the English people on their own schools are marked by great courage and a wonderfully clear insight into what is likely to be most helpful toward promoting a genuine education of the people. His criticisms are bold, and yet broad in tone and spirit, rising quite out of the provincial habit of mind. These books will do much to lead those who have looked on Matthew Arnold as merely a literary worker, with a good deal of the dilettante in him and an excess of culture, to see him in a broader and a more generous light. They show him to be in sympathy with the people in their desire to make education universal, and to have a very widely based conception of the meaning of culture. Some of his most valuable writing is contained in these books, and in the long and racy prefaces with which he introduces them to the public. His services to the cause of education in England are to be regarded as of great importance, and they must be taken into full consideration in estimating the man and his work.
With the publication, in 1869, of his Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism, Matthew Arnold entered on that career of prose authorship which has given him most of his reputation as a writer. He had already abandoned the writing of poetry; and the merely
literary essay, such as those charming ones in the Essays on Criticism, did not seem to satisfy him. His writings on education had perhaps led him to desire to try to express himself on the living questions of the day. Not the questions of passing politics and social reform, but the deeper and broader questions of life and the permanent welfare of man. In this book, his aim is to bring out and to enforce the value of culture, which he defines as “a harmonious expansion of all the powers which make the beauty and worth of human nature.” It is interesting to note that this is also Fichte's definition, and that Theodore Parker borrowed it from him as a definition of religion.
Arnold's characteristics as an author are to be seen in full measure in this little book. It is, first of all, a work of the higher criticism, having a distinct purpose in view toward the correction of human faults and the establishment of a better life. It also develops his habit of continued repetition, and of using a stilted, artificial manner of dealing with his subject. Another of his striking peculiarities, perhaps that which is most often connected with his name, was given strong expression in this work. In the preface to his Poems of 1853, he had used the phrase "grand style " of the Greeks; and, in his essay on Heinrich Heine, those who oppose culture were called “Philistines." Culture and Anarchy has a rich development of these striking words,-- words that carry a full-grown argument in them, and clinch the thought in the hearer's mind they were designed to convey. Arnold has used some of these phrases a little too long and constantly, but they have done him effective service. In Culture and Anarchy, we first learn of “sweetness and light," " Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace," and other phrases, which are used so energetically by him.
Arnold next took up the subject of religion in his St. Paul and Protestantism, published in 1870. This book is a defence of Paul on the side of his having taught a broader and sweeter religion than that which is generally attributed to him. He shows that Paul's theology was not hard and
dogmatic, but poetical and spiritual. Arnold himself defines religion as “that which binds and holds to the practice of righteousness." Many of the ideas which he afterward expanded in his larger works are briefly stated here, and here are many of the phrases so often used in Literature and Dogma. He tells us that “the God of Calvinism is a magnified and non-natural man," and that the true God is " that stream of tendency by which all things strive to fulfil the law of their being.” This conception of God is so much like that which Hegel gave to the world that we should regard it as taken from the study of that philosopher, did not Arnold's other teachings make his doctrine so much more nearly that presented by Fichte. He sees in God simply that stream of movement which tends toward righteousness, and which gives a moral direction to the world. Fichte has made this conception more eloquently beautiful than Arnold or any other.
A not very interesting book, and not at all suited to Arnold's genius, is his Friendship’s Garland, published in 1871. It was followed in 1872 by A Bible-reading for Schools, from the words of the second Isaiah, with notes and a long preface on the value of literature as a means of education. The same work was republished in 1857, with the prophecies to which it is allied. This little book is one of much interest, and of not a little value to the general Bible student.
His studies in religion at last took shape in his most important work, published in 1873. This was his Literature and Dogma, which at once attracted great attention and the warmest discussion of the problems suggested. A book so well known needs no commendation or analysis here, but it should be said that it is one of the most valuable contributions made toward the right apprehension of the Bible in these days of continual Bible study. It is all the more valuable, because it is written from an independent attitude, that of literature rather than that of theology. As a book of suggestion and stimulus, it is of the highest rank; as a book of theology or philosophy, it is of much less impor