Arthur Hugh Clough: The Critical Heritage

By Michael Thorpe | Go to book overview

THE BOTHIE OF TOPER-NA-FUOSICH, A LONG-VACATION PASTORAL

November 1848

(Re-titled The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich, 1855)

1.

Matthew Arnold to Clough

From a letter 15, 22 or 29 November 1848 (The Letters of Matthew Arnold to Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. H. F. Lowry, 95).

Three years older than Matthew Arnold, Clough came to Rugby at the beginning of Dr Thomas Arnold’s reforming headship. He became the Doctor’s prize pupil and was welcomed into the Arnold family circle, but his relationship with Matthew did not become close until the latter followed him to Oxford as a Balliol Scholar in 1841. Clough, by then Fellow of Oriel, was naturally cast for the role of Matthew’s mentor, but the relationship rapidly developed, as may be judged from the letters quoted in this volume, into one between equals. Despite considerable differences of temperament and outlook, they remained firmly attached to each other in later life (see also Nos. 13 and 23 below).

…I have been at Oxford the last two days and hearing Sellar1 and the rest of that clique who know neither life nor themselves rave about your poem gave me a strong almost bitter feeling with respect to them, the age, the poem, even you. Yes I said to myself something tells me I can, if need be, at last dispense with them all, even with him: better that, than be sucked for an hour even into the Time Stream in which they and he plunge and bellow. I became calm in spirit, but uncompromising, almost stern. More English than European, I said finally, more American than English; and took up my Obermann,2 and refuged myself with him in his forest against your Zeit Geist.

1 For Sellar see No. 34

2Obermann (1804), by Etienne Pivert de Senancour

-28-

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