Thematic Guide to British Poetry

By Ruth Glancy | Go to book overview
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Biographical Sketches

MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822−1888) was educated at Rugby School, whose headmaster was his famous father, Thomas (immortalized in Thomas Hughes's novel Tom Brown's Schooldays). Arnold attended Oxford, where he was a close friend of Arthur Hugh Clough. He married in 1851 and became an inspector of schools, a post he held for thirty-five years. He was also a professor of poetry at Oxford. Arnold wrote a few fine poems, but he is now better known as a social and literary critic. His Culture and Anarchy stressed the importance of the liberal arts in a cultured society.

W(YSTAN) H(UGH) AUDEN (1907−1973) began to write poetry at Oxford University. His first collection was published with great success by T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber in 1930. He collaborated with the playwright Christopher Isherwood and the composer Benjamin Britten, who set some of his poems to music. After a brief visit to Spain during the 1937 Civil War, where he intended to fight on the side of the Republicans, Auden moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1946. He returned to England in 1956 to become a professor of poetry at Oxford University. As well as a large body of poetry, Auden was also a literary critic in works such as The Dyer's Hand (1962).

ANNA LETITIA BARBAULD (1743-1825) was well educated by her father, a college teacher, and the scientist Dr. Joseph Priestley. Her first volume of poems was published in 1773 and sold very well. After her marriage, she ran a boys' school with her husband and wrote school books for children. After her husband's death, she be

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