3 john p. farrell matthew arnold: the carlyle connection in his developing years, matthew arnold read and absorbed a great deal of

3
John P. Farrell
Matthew Arnold: The Carlyle Connection
In his developing years, Matthew Arnold read and absorbed a great deal
of Carlyle whom he could describe, early in 1848, as “the beloved
man.” He then rather abruptly withdrew his affections; by September,
1849 he was grouping Carlyle with the age’s “moral desperadoes.”
Arnold held rather firmly to this second opinion. But Carlyle’s
influence had indelibly marked him and although Arnold may even have
made an effort to conceal the extent of the influence, there are two
unmistakeable forms in which Carlyle is intertextually present in his
work. First, in both Arnold’s poetry and critical prose there are very
evident echoes of Carlyle. For example, the famous lines in Arnold’s
“Stanzas from the Grand Chartreuse” that describe how modern man is
“Wandering between two worlds, one dead,/The other powerless to be
born” clearly derive from the passage in Carlyle’s “Characteristics”
in which he proclaims that “the Old has passed away: but, alas, the
New appears not its stead” (Works 28: 32) Secondly, and more subtly,
Carlyle shapes Arnold’s work dialectically for Arnold, in constructing
his identity as a critic, depended on Carlyle’s discourse to act as
the instructive opposite of his own values and style. Arnold
consciously repudiated Carlyle’s polemical fireworks as he determined
“to speak without a particle of vice, malice or rancour” (Letters: 1:
183-84).
Matthew Arnold, son of the renowned educator Dr. Thomas Arnold,
established himself as a poet in the late eighteen-forties and early
fifties. Though a less gifted poet than his contemporaries, Alfred
Tennyson and Robert Browning, he remains a pre-eminent figure whose
poetry voices the disillusionments and discontinuities that wracked so
many thoughtful Victorians. Arnold’s own disillusionments extended
even to the writing of poetry. After publishing his Poems in 1853, he
gradually abandoned his vocation as poet and dedicated himself to
literary, social, and religious criticism. His critical work takes on
a particular fervor because at its core is an impassioned effort to
redefine the nature of criticism itself; and behind this impassioned
effort is his conviction that a deepened critical intelligence was a
necessary prelude to the renewal of poetry.
Arnold fashioned his suave critical prose and his piercing but
generous criticism in direct opposition to what he saw as a
culmination in Carlyle of the worst faults in the native British
tradition of critical writing: muddled ideas, bludgeoning rhetoric,
politicized argument, and provincial affiliations. However, as several
scholars, including Kathleen Tillotson and David J. DeLaura, have
shown Arnold’s thorough assimilation of Carlyle means that his writing
can be tinged with Carlylean colors at almost any point. The watershed
work in Arnold’s career, his drama Empedocles on Etna (1852) is an
illuminating case in point. The first act of the play is dominated by
Empedocles’ protracted variations on Carlylean doctrines (e.g., “Make
us, not fly to dreams, but moderate desire”). However, in the second
act Empedocles reveals that he cannot himself accept the Carlylean
dismantling of desire that he has been advocating. His longings and
self-consciousness overwhelm him. Thus, Arnold mirrors in the poem the
conscious history of his own relationship to Carlyle. Complicating
this picture, however, is the instinctive way that Arnold reached back
to Carlyle in order to explain to his astonished readers in 1853 why
he was omitting Empedocles from a new edition of his Poems. In the new
volume’s “Preface” he describes his poetic tragedy as one from which
no poetical enjoyment can be derived since the situations it
represents are too painful. “They are those in which the suffering
finds no vent in action.” There can be little doubt that Arnold drew
this aesthetic principle in the first place from Carlyle’s remarks to
the same effect which occur, most fully, in his 1838 essay on Sir
Walter Scott. There he addresses the emotional texture of The Sorrows
of Young Werter which, he says, “attempted the more accurate
delineation of a class of feelings, deeply important to modern minds .
. .; they are feelings that arise from passion incapable of being
converted into action” (Works 29: 59). Evidently, Arnold found in
Carlyle’s analysis of modern feeling a cogent explanation of the
emotional experience that had originally prompted his
counter-Carlylean drama.
The conditions of modernity that Arnold portrayed in his poetry
remained the central subject of his prose criticism. Like Carlyle,
Arnold attempted to define a legitimate basis for religion while
accepting the importance of modern skepticism. Again like Carlyle--and
Coleridge before him--Arnold used his critical voice as a medium for
articulating a high argument on the problems and possibilities of
modern democracy. And, like both Carlyle and Coleridge, Arnold was
deeply concerned with the role of poetry and, more generally, of
literary institutions in modern cultural life. But Arnold had his
distinctive, far-reaching ideas on all of these subjects. He borrowed
much from Carlyle at the level of diagnosis but he rejected Carlyle’s
evocations of evangelicalism, his elaborate negativism, his views of
heroes and heroism, his proto-Nietzscheanism, and, most particularly,
his denigration of aesthetic consciousness.
In a Notebook entry for February, 1831, Carlyle puzzled over “the true
relation of moral genius to poetical genius; of Religion to Poetry.”
He asks: “Are they one and the same different forms of the same [sic];
and if so which is to stand higher, the Beautiful or the Good” (Two-Notebooks
188) But Carlyle ultimately began treating poetry (except for the work
of an occasional world-historical genius like Dante or Goethe) as
little more than poppycock. Arnold puzzled over the same question, but
came to celebrate poetry as having, among other things, an affinity
with religion. In fact, in his religious writing, Arnold emphasized
the poetic contours of religious consciousness. He assigned poetry an
“immense future” in part because he believed it would supply some of
the human needs that could not be met by religion in a
post-theological age. Meanwhile, Carlyle continued to speak the
language of a defunct spiritualism in works as late as Past and
Present and Latter-Day Pamphlets. Arnold was certainly exasperated by
Carlyle’s persistent mining of this vein and even more exasperated,
one suspects, by the later Carlyle’s refusal to acknowledge any
privileged place for the aesthetic in general and the poetic in
particular.
In 1869 Arnold published his most famous work, Culture and Anarchy, in
which he attempts to define the relationship between the imperatives
of Victorian democracy and the play and place of aesthetic,
intellectual, and moral values. Carlyle, though mentioned only a few
times, is a significant figure in Arnold’s book. As DeLaura points
out, the very word “anarchy” in Arnold’s title inevitably echoes
Carlyle’s patented representation of the perils of modernism.
Moreover, Arnold was writing a work that stood in the same tradition
as Carlyle’s famous manifestoes of the 1830’s such as “Signs of the
Time,” “Characteristics,” and the social text in Sartor Resartus. Both
writers try to show the very age and body of the time its form and
pressure, and they invoke, in response to their representations a
semi-sacralized structure of enlightenment. Of course, Carlyle, in
Arnold’s eyes, had been driven beyond his early and inspiring cri de
coeur to the much darker broodings that he published between 1840 and
1850. His apocalyptic scenarios, repeated in Shooting Niagara: And
After? (written during the same eventful year as Arnold ‘s book),
would inevitably become associated in the minds of contemporary
readers with the threatening “anarchy” of Arnold’s title. Arnold’s
idea of building a humanizing “Culture” was thus formed in some degree
as the dialectical alternative to Carlyle’s nightmare of modernism.
Arnold re-circulates Carlylean images of means prevailing over ends,
philistines coming to power, and obstreperous individualism unraveling
communal connections. But Arnold suffuses his discourse with his faith
in the native virtues of intelligence, moral clarity, and the
aesthetic sense. His humanism, firmly grounded in an idealized but
very appealing image of classical Greece, completely--and
complexly--dominates the Carlylean gloom that collects in the
underground of Culture and Anarchy.
Of the personal relationship between the two men there is,
unfortunately, too little known. It is quite possible that they met
when Arnold was young since Dr. Arnold visited Carlyle several times.
We do know that Arnold was very pleased to learn that Carlyle thought
well of his essay “My Countrymen” (1866). The essay would eventually
become part of Arnold’s most Carlylean book, Friendship’s Garland
(1871) which has some of the same satire, irony, and narrative method
as Sartor Resartus. Arnold must have occasionally called at the
Carlyles since in May, 1877 he mentions taking his daughter Eleanor to
visit: “We sat with Carlyle more than an hour; he was very easy to get
on with, and very kind to Nelly” (Letters 2:160-161). But in the year
Carlyle died, Arnold remarked to a French correspondent that he “never
much liked Carlyle.” As for Carlyle, he is reported, perhaps
apocryphally, to have said: “Poor Mat! He thinks that God Almighty
might try very hard, but He could never make another Matthew Arnold”
(DeLaura, PMLA 125)
bibliography
Matthew Arnold. Letters. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1895.
Thomas Carlyle. Two Note-Books of Thomas Carlyle ed. Charles Eliot
Norton (New York: Grolier Club, 1898).
David J. DeLaura. “Arnold and Carlyle.” PMLA 79 (1964): 104-129.
______________. “The Future of Poetry: A Context for Carlyle and
Arnold.” Carlyle and His Contemporaries: Essays in
Honor of Charles Richard Sanders. Ed. John Clubbe. Durham: Duke
University P, 1976. 148-80.
John P. Farrell. Revolution as Tragedy: The Dilemma of the Moderate
from Scott to Arnold. Ithaca: Cornell, 1980.
Lawrence J. Starzyk. “Arnold and Carlyle.” Criticism 12 (1970):
281-300.
Kathleen Tillotson. “Matthew Arnold and Carlyle.” Proceedings of the
British Academy 42 (1956): 133-53.

  • SOLICITUD DE COTIZACIÓN DE (NOMBRE DE SU EMPRESA) PARA
  • ДОДАТОК 3 ДО РІШЕННЯ МІСЬКОЇ РАДИ ВІД №
  • EFECTOS DE LA INGESTA INTRADIÁLISIS SOBRE LOS NIVELES SÉRICOS
  • THE WOODBERRY PRACTICE – PATIENT SURVEY 2011 12
  • H VERIFICACIONES S N (A RELLENAR POR EL COLEGIO)
  • MONTEVIDEO 28 DE JULIO DE 2010 LES ENVÍO NUEVO
  • NUNEATON & BEDWORTH PASSPORT TO PERFORMANCE (PTP) WHAT IS
  • TD LA RÉGULATION DE LA CONCURRENCE CE QUE DIT
  • ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS 01 PIAZZALE M CHAMPAGNAT 2 CP
  • 16 SILABUS DAN SAP HADIS TARBAWI III ASILABUS
  • MICROSOFT PROJECT 2002 TRAINING COURSEWARE LESSON 14 RESOURCES MICROSOFT
  • SECCIÓN VISADOS CONSULADO DE ESPAÑA EN DAKAR VISADO DE
  • 3 PATVIRTINTA VISAGINO VAIKŲ LOPŠELIODARŽELIO „ĄŽUOLIUKAS“ DIREKTORIAUS 2011 M
  • SKUPNO SPOROČILO ZA JAVNOST »KAKOVOST ZRAKA IN ZDRAVJE LJUDI
  • NR 23 10 SONNTAG IM JAHRESKREIS A MT 99
  • TITLE OF SPECIAL ISSUE JUCS SPECIAL ISSUE ANNA
  • EL PRECIO MEDIO DE LOS TERRENOS URBANOS EN LA
  • WORKSHOP GUIDELINES FOR WORKSHOP SESSIONS TO BE SUCCESSFUL IT’S
  • PARENT INPUT STATEMENT FOR S WRITTEN BY GW AND
  • LEO EL TEXTO Y BUSCO EN EL DICCIONARIO TODAS
  • EXAMPLE YEAR PLANNER 2016 – 2017 – TO BE
  • HOJA MEMBRETADA DE LA EMPRESA LUGAR Y FECHA C
  • W YMOGI DOTYCZĄCE DOKUMENTACJI PRZYPADKÓW PRZY UBIEGANIU SIĘ
  • APPENDIX A SPECIAL RISK PREMIUM FOR FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVANTS
  • SOLICITUD DE CLAVE DE ACCESO A LA WEB COLEGIAL
  • HỘI ĐỒNG GIÁO HOÀNG VỀ ĐỐI THOẠI LIÊN TÔN
  • DERECHOS HUMANOS DERECHOS HUMANOS PANELISTAS MODERADOR JOSÉ BENGOA
  • KOLLUK ETİK İLKELERİ ( 24102007 ) GİRİŞ KOLLUK BIR
  • ŠKOLNÍ ROK 20202021 VŠECHNY DĚTI BUDOU DO 800
  • CMI DR UDRESCU IOANA BUCURESTI SOS VERGULUI NR 39