The Poetry of Matthew Arnold: A Commentary

The Poetry of Matthew Arnold: A Commentary

The Poetry of Matthew Arnold: A Commentary

The Poetry of Matthew Arnold: A Commentary

Excerpt

This is the companion volume to a new edition of the complete Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold, to be published, it is hoped, in 1941. The book requires the use of an edition (such, for example, as the 'Globe'), in which the poems are arranged in the order in which Arnold left them. The reader will find many passages--and even single lines --here discussed in some detail, though space could not be spared to print the text of the poem of which they are a part; moreover the notes provided by the poet himself (who was fond of annotating his work) are not here reprinted, since they will be included in the forthcoming volumes, together with his prefaces and appendices.

In discussing the various poems no attempt has been made to achieve uniformity of treatment, save for a certain general procedure which will be obvious to the reader. The commentaries naturally vary in length, as well as in interest and importance. Disappointingly little has been discovered as to the exact date of composition of many of Arnold's poems; what might be learned, therefore, from an exact chronology of the poems, we are unable to provide. Nor have we attempted to produce a 'handbook' with full annotation of matters which may be settled by easy recourse to books of reference.

The plan of the present treatise came into being when the discovery of what is here called the Yale Manuscript disclosed a large amount of new information regarding Arnold's development as a poet. We have been privileged to use, as well, a considerable store of other unpublished papers, and of books left in Arnold's library. These materials . . .

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