Arthur Hugh Clough: The Critical Heritage

By Michael Thorpe | Go to book overview
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Preface

The main text of this volume consists of sixty-one essays, reviews and extracts from books and letters which have been selected with the object of giving a fair impression of the contemporary and nearcontemporary response to the work of Arthur Hugh Clough. The period covered by the pieces I have chosen is 1848, the year in which The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich appeared, to 1920. The terminal date was not easy to decide. Clough died early, in 1861, leaving much of his best work unpublished. In 1862 two selections appeared: The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, edited by his friend C. E. Norton and published in Boston, and in England Poems by Arthur Hugh Clough, with a Memoir by F. T. Palgrave. The contents of these were very similar and both excluded many readily available poems. Though a few new items were added by Palgrave to the second edition of his selection in 1863, the important poems ‘Easter Day’ and Dipsychus were not allowed in print by the reluctant Mrs Clough until 1865, and then only in a small edition, Letters and Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough, ‘for private circulation only’. Mere fragments from Dipsychus had been included in the previous volumes. Mrs Clough’s fear that the poem was ‘too unfinished’ and liable to mislead readers as to her husband’s true beliefs still led her to censor it severely, both in 1865 and again in 1869, when The Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough, with a Selection from his Letters was at last allowed to brave the public eye. Mrs Clough herself provided a Memoir for this, having also edited it with the doubtless indispensable aid of John Addington Symonds. Not before 1869, then, was a fairly substantial edition of Clough’s poetry generally accessible.

The 1869 edition continued in use throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century and supplied the source for several other editions of the poems, large and small. Its text was only challenged once before the appearance of the modern The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, edited by H. F. Lowry, A. L. P. Norrington and F. L. Mulhauser (Oxford, 1951). This was by Poems of Clough (1910), for which the editor, H. S. Milford, collated the Poems (1862) with the original edition of Ambarvalia (1849) and a copy of The Bothie which Clough

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