The Letters of Matthew Arnold, Volume 1

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Overview

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

Sewanee Review

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.

Nineteenth-Century Literature

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.

TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

It is entirely clear from volumes 1 and 2 that Lang has pulled off yet another triumph or industry, wisdom, and precision....The letters that do survive have now been edited respectfully but not pedantically, and with a light touch that Arnold would have relished. Arnold altogether, we feel sure, would have approved of Cecil Lang.

Library Journal
In the words of editor Lang, Arnold was possessed of a "voracious appetite for meeting and talking with everybody in the known world." By the age of 37, when these letters end, he had corresponded across three continents with such luminaries as the Tennysons and Wordsworths and Coleridges, Saint-Beuve, Mrime and Michelet, Gladstone, Harriett Martineau, Sand, Renan, and Froude. Arnold exhibited the same virtues in private as in public: a sunny disposition, a desire to be used, a consuming passion for the letters, and constant efforts to improve mind and character. A letter to his mother, dated May 16, 1855, demonstrates Arnold's ineradicable sense of fairness: he praises the controversial bluestocking Martineau for her independence of mind, though he could agree with her on nothing. The standard of editing in this first volume is uniformly high; Lang, an Arnold scholar, offers lively and informative comments. For academic collections.David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
Booknews
This is the first volume of a projected six volumes containing all known letters of renowned poet and critic Matthew Arnold (1822-1888). When complete, the set will present close to 4,000 letters (nearly five times the number in G.W.E. Russell's two-volume compilation of 1895). Volume 1 begins with an account of the Arnold children by their father, spans his childhood and his growth into a young man with the post of professor of poetry at Oxford, and closes as he begins to acquire a European reputation. Many of the letters appear in their entirety here for the first time. Editor Lang provides an introduction and extensive annotations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813916514
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Series: Victorian Literature and Culture Series
  • Pages: 549
  • Product dimensions: 6.51 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 2.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

Cecil Y. Lang was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Virginia. He was the editor of The Swinburne Letters, New Writings of Swinburne, and The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Circle, and coeditor of The Tennyson Letters.

University of Virginia Press

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Read an Excerpt



CHAPTER ONE

Thomas Arnold to Susan Delafield(1)

Rugby
November 25, 1829
My dearest Aunt

I do not know when I have written a Letter addressed to yourself, andas I am now in School with the Boys writing Exercises, and have thus a littleTime on my Hands to spare, I think I cannot do better than write to you,although we sent a Letter to Laleham so recently.—You must not thereforebe alarmed, or think that any Thing is the Matter, when my Epistle makesits' Appearance; for the Children's Coughs are still so slight that we cannottell whether it is the hooping Cough or no, and both Mary and I continuevery well.—I think it may interest you to hear my Report of all the Fry inOrder.—K you have seen very lately, and therefore you will know her betterthan any of them:—her Love for Laleham is unabated:—it was only thisMorning when Matt was drawing a Church after his Fashion with a highSteeple, and I told him that I thought Churches with Towers were prettier,that K cried out that she thought so too, because Laleham Church had aTower.—She gets on with her Latin Grammar, and knows the New Testament remarkably well;—and she is at once the merriest and one of themost obedient & tender hearted of all the Fry;—this Morning when shesaw the Snow she wanted immediately to go out and play in it, and she wasdelighted when I brought them in a great Snowball to eat and to throw intothe Fire.—Crab is also getting on with his Grammar, and I think with all hisWork.—He is less active thanK or Prawn, but I do not think that one ofthem has a stronger Understanding, nor more self Command: and I havedearly loved to see the Struggles which he has had with himself, and howmuch he has got the better of the Faults that are most natural to him.—Theyhave made Lists of all their Possessions, and these I call over sometimes, tosee if all their Things are safe;—and when any Thing is missing I take someother Thing away as a Pledge, and do not give it back till the lost Article isfound.—And on the other Hand, I promised to give each Child a Shilling,if all their Things proved safe. I called over on Sunday, & one of poor Matt'sThings being missing, he had no Shilling and I took a Pledge: but when Icalled over Tom's Things, & something was missing there, Matt sprung downfrom his Dinner to look for it, & had the Pleasure of finding it for Tom tosave his Shilling.—Afterwards his own lost Article was found, & I gave himhis Shilling;—but after a moment he gave it back to me saying, "Papa, therewas another of my Things missing, which has not been yet found, so I oughtnot to have the Shilling."—You will believe that I was not sorry when MissRutland produced it almost immediately afterwards, and Crab could have his Shilling.—Prawn is as fond of the geographical Cards as I [use]d to be, and will stay for Hours trying to find out the Places.(2)—He seems now quite well and strong,—and so good a Boy both to Miss Rutland and to us that it is delightful to see him. He is very curious in whatever he reads to be able to understand every Thing thoroughly.—Small Wild Cat is still as [paper torn: 1 or 2 wds missing: ? much a cor]morant and as improved in Temper and Conduct a [paper torn: ? s when] I saw you in the Holydays.—Didu is fonder than [paper torn: ? ever of] his Mamma and me; but he too is become [paper torn: ? less calm] in the Nursery than he was, and with us [paper torn: ? more so]. He is very quick with his Letters and his [paper torn: ? learning] Things by Heart;—but I do not want any of [paper torn: ? them pushed] forward, and I have yet begged that the Hours of their Lessons may be diminished to two Hours and a half a Day—for I think that mine with you in former Times used not to exceed an Hour, and I am afraid of their little Brains being over exerted.—As to dear little Widu, he shows some Violence, but he has been whipt, and he does not seem to like the Operation, for he is quiet in an Instant whenever he sees me look angry at him.—He is very fond of me, and delights to be in my Hole, that is, my little dressing Room. And thus I have given you a long Letter all about Fry,-but you are so affectionate to Fry's Papa that I think you will like to hear about them. I wish you were given to write Letters,—but you never were fond of it, and it is now too late to begin.—With our dearest Love to Susy and the Bucklands,(3) believe me my dearest Aunt Ever your most dutiful & affectionate Nephew,

T. Arnold.

MS. National Archives of Canada.

(1.) Thomas Arnold (1795-1842: DNB), the famous headmaster of Rugby School and father of Matthew Arnold, was the son of William Arnold (1745-1801) and Martha Delafield (1750-Apr. 1829) and the nephew of Susan Delafield (d. 1834), to whom this letter is addressed. The best sources of information about them all are Whitridge, Wymer, and Honan.

Thomas Arnold married Mary Penrose (1791-1873) on Aug. 11, 1820. They had eleven children, of whom nine survived; the six born before this letter, a sort of Bestiary, are named in it (the seventh was born exactly nine months later). The children, referred to collectively as the "Fry" (later "Dogs"), all had nicknames (see below p. 18 and Honan, pp. 427-28):

Jane Martha (1821-99), "K"
Matthew (1822-88), "Crab"
Thomas (1823-1900), "Prawn"
Mary (1825-88), "Small Wild Cat" (later "Bacco")
Edward Penrose (1826-78), "Didu"
William Delafield (1828-59), "Widu"

For the record, the three children not yet born were:

Susanna Elizabeth Lydia (1830-1911), "Babbat Apbook"
Frances Bunsen Trevenen Whately (1833-1923), "Bonze"
Walter Thomas (1835-93), "Quid" or "Cows"

In Dec. 1827, Thomas Arnold had been "appointed Headmaster of Rugby at a salary of [pounds sterling] 113 6s 8d a year, plus 2 [pounds sterling] a head extra for every boy living within ten miles of the town, and a `handsome house and spacious apartments for the reception of 50 pupils'" (Wymer, p. 86). He took up his duties as headmaster in Aug. 1828.

2. Miss Rutland, the governess, taught the children by the same method that Susan Delafield had taught their father—"how to identify the counties of England with the aid of geography cards" (Wymer, p. 16).

3. His sister Susanna Arnold, afflicted with paralysis since 1811, died in 1832 (Wymer, pp. 44-45, 133). Another sister, Frances Arnold (1790-1863), married the Rev. John Buckland (1785-1859) in 1816, and with him Thomas Arnold joined forces in establishing a school at Laleham, Middlesex, a village on the Thames near Staines.

Mary Penrose Arnold and Thomas Arnold to Matthew Arnold

Rugby
Wednesday, August 24, [1831]
My dearest Matt

You will not I hope forget that you were to write to us on Friday, the day you will receive this. It is the day of your own choice, and after what we have said to you I shall be sorry and disappointed, if you do not manage to send us longer letters than you did. If you can tell us that you get on well you will make us very happy, but if not, still we had rather you wrote plainly and openly to us, for you are our own dear child, and we like to know all about you. You may think with pleasure that you pleased us while you were at home with us, and you may also be very sure that you please us now, every time you overcome idleness or try not to be selfish or tell the truth from your heart when you are tempted to do otherwise.

Rugby looks very different now from when you were at home, for our three hundred Boys are nearly all arrived, and the whole place is as busy as it can well be. Mr Price has 40 Boys, and I have just been over his house, and his bedrooms you may tell your Aunt Buckland look quite comfortable now, they are so improved by the beds being altered as she advised. There are now eighty Boys at Mr Price's and Mr Ansteys, so that I see a great many making all haste to school when I get up in a morning, for you know my bed room looks out on the school field.

We have a new Master come to help M: Pons in teaching French and German and Italian, but he cannot speak English himself, and he must learn it as fast as he can.(1)

STORY LINE
Exploring the Literature of the Appalachian Trail


By Ian Marshall

University Press of Virginia

Copyright © 1998 Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia.All rights reserved.
TAILER

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xiii
Editorial Principles lxi
Short Titles and Abbreviations lxii
Chronology lxvii
Illustrations follow page lxx
The Letters (1829-1859) 1
Appendixes 523
Index 531
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