Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold

by Lionel Trilling
     
 

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Matthew Arnold BY LIONEL TRILLING. origianlly published in 1939. PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION: BOOK was first published ten years ago. The demand I for it during this time, although certainly not large, has been —steady enough to have exhausted the last printing of the original publisher this is naturally a satisfaction to me, and no less gratifying is

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Matthew Arnold BY LIONEL TRILLING. origianlly published in 1939. PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION: BOOK was first published ten years ago. The demand I for it during this time, although certainly not large, has been —steady enough to have exhausted the last printing of the original publisher this is naturally a satisfaction to me, and no less gratifying is the action of the Press of my own University in making the book again available. Because of technical considerations a re vision of the text was not possible. I have been able to correct certain literal inaccuracies, although probably not all. But I have not been able to let my pencil follow its strong, irritable impulse to alter phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, or to modify and make juster the state ments that now cause me uneasiness. For this I am very glad. One s sense of style does, I think, improve with the years and one is likely to acquire stricter notions of how prose should sound and of what is due one s readers and possibly one even does also acquire more precise notions of the way things are, of what the object really is. But were I able to undertake incidental revisions I should certainly be led on to fundamental ones, and I am relieved that circumstance pro tects me from this temptation. Leaving aside the question of whether or not it is proper to impose a present self on a former self, I know that ten years ago I had the advantage of a much more intimate con nection with Matthew Arnold than I have now, and, of much more knowledge of certain aspects of 19th-century thought. When the book was done, I quite intentionally turned away from the subject, know ing that my absorption in it had inevitably had its effect on my mind, one that on the whole I thought beneficial, but having no wish to be, Preface to the Second Edition as one says in the academic profession, quot an Arnold man. quot Were I now to undertake any fundamental revision, I should be tampering with the work of a writer who, whatever the lapses of his knowledge, knew more about certain matters than I do now and, whatever the failures of his judgment, had the considerable advantage of a deep involve ment with his subject. I may, however, without encroachment, mention two faults of the book of which I became aware soon after its publication. Mr. Ed mund Wilson remarked in a review that in my narrative of Arnold s youthful stress the figure of Arthur Hugh Clough is not sufficiently clear and solid I think that this is so, and it is indeed a fault, and an opportunity missed. Then I am in agreement with the reviewers who said that I did not pay enough attention to the aesthetics of Arnold s poetry. I speak in particular of these two insufficiencies because they are of a kind which the reader can supply if once he has been put in mind of them. The ten years have of course seen a continuing production of scholarly and critical work on Arnold. I could certainly have derived benefit from this work had it been available to me as I was writing but, so far as I know, nothing has as yet appeared which would lead me to change in any essential way my account of Arnold s thought. The two most considerable publications of the decade are The Poetry of Matthew Arnold A Commentary, by Chauncey Brewster Tinker and Howard Foster Lowry Oxford University Press, 1940, which is mentioned in my original preface as not yet published, and Matthew Arnold, Pohe Essai de biographic psychologique, by Professor Louis Bonnerot Paris, Didier, 1947, The new edition of Arnold s poems by Professor Tinker and President Lowry is on the point of publication and Dr...

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781406734553
Publisher:
Case Press
Publication date:
03/15/2007
Pages:
472
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.05(d)

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