Journal Article

‘Poetry is the Reality’: Matthew Arnold Tackles the Athletes of Logic (and Theory)

James Walter Caufield

in The Cambridge Quarterly

Published on behalf of Cambridge Quarterly

Volume 39, issue 3, pages 237-259
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0008-199X
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1471-6836 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/camqtly/bfq014
‘Poetry is the Reality’: Matthew Arnold Tackles the Athletes of Logic (and Theory)

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For more than thirty years the ideas of Matthew Arnold have endured sustained and sometimes violent criticism at the hands of New Left and postcolonial thinkers. The roots of this criticism, however, are already discernible among Arnold's fellow Victorian men of letters. This essay traces the most prominent polemical tropes of the Arnold bashers from their nineteenth-century origin to their mid-twentieth-century configuration, demonstrating how these same tropes in turn informed the image of Arnold that took shape during the apogee of high theory in the 1980s and of cultural studies in the 1990s.

Journal Article.  9585 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Art ; Film ; Music

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