The letters in this volume show Arnold, now midway in his professional career, publishing his first volume of poems in a decade and emerging as a critic - simultaneously - of society, of education, of religion, and, as always, of politics. In 1867 he publishes ""New Poems"", containing several of his best-known and most beloved works, ""Dover Beach, ""Thyrsis"", ""Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse"", and many others, including the first reprint since 1852 of ""Empedocles on Etna"", and in 1869 ""Culture and Anarchy"", of which the germ is visible in a remarkable letter to his mother in 1867, as well as the influential reports on continental schools, and the seminal ""St. Paul and Protestantism"". The letters to his mother and other family members continue unabated; two of his sons die, their deaths recorded in wrenching accents; his essays, possibly by design, draw flak from all directions, which Arnold evades (any poet to any critic) as adroitly or disarmingly as usual; for two years he takes into his home an Italian prince; and he is awarded an honourary Oxford degree. He remains in every way both Establishment and anti-Establishment, both courteous, as has been said, and something better than courteous: honest.
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Number of pages: 544
Weight: 1139 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 44 mm
The book is a model of the kind of careful, loving scholarship that demands years of work, the kind of scholarship denigrated by people who whip out a new book of High Theory every year....I cannot think of anything that could restore humanity to Arnold's idea of the canon more than the volume of his letters in the years 1829-1859.
In Lang's expert hands Arnold emerges as a Stendhalian observer of the major European tendencies of his time. He is also seen in his non-Stendhalian capacities as a devoted friend and family member, as engaged social critic and hardworking civil servant, as poet, nature-lover, and Francophile.