Matthew Arnold World Literature Analysis - Essay

Matthew Arnold World Literature Analysis

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Although great poetry should transcend the limits of time, Arnold’s poetry must be read in the context of his turbulent age if it is to be understood fully. He is a post-Romantic coming into full conflict with the British empire at the height of its expansion and industrialization. The effects of this conflict comprise the themes of his poetry: spiritual stasis and enervation, humankind as an alien figure in the cosmos, the absence in the modern world of spiritual and intellectual values, values largely subsumed by industrial growth and materialism. Arnold’s poetry, however, offers no solutions, nor is it particularly articulate on the exact nature of the dilemma. Among the English poets, his mentors were William Wordsworth and...

(The entire section is 3966 words.)