Arthur Hugh Clough: The Critical Heritage

By Michael Thorpe | Go to book overview

41.

H. Sidgwick, a review in Westminster Review

October 1869, xcii, 363-87

‘The Poems and Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough’, Westminster Review, reprinted in Miscellaneous Essays and Addresses, 1904, 59-90.

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) was a Cambridge philosopher whom G. L. Dickinson described as representing ‘the Cambridge spirit [of scrupulous truth-seeking] at its best and therefore with its limitations most clearly and tragically apparent’ (E. M. Forster, Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson, 1934, p. 120). As Clough had done at Oxford twenty years before, he resigned his fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, on conscientious grounds in 1869 (the year of this essay), but his subsequent career was, unlike Clough’s, not prejudiced by this. He returned to the University in 1875 to take up a ‘praelectorship in moral and political philosophy’ and remained there for the rest of his life, becoming an honorary Fellow of Trinity in 1881 and an ordinary Fellow in 1885. He played a prominent part in the government of the University and was a prime mover in the campaign for the admission of women as fully participating students. J. A. Symonds wrote to Sidgwick admiring this article’s ‘desultory’ yet effective manner (The Letters of John Addington Symonds, II. 88-9).

These two volumes contain all that will now be given to the world of a very rare and remarkable mind. The editor has, we think, exercised a wise confidence in transgressing what is usually a safe rule in posthumous publications, and including in the volume some prose that the author had probably not composed for permanence, and some verse that is either palpably unfinished, or at any rate not stamped with the author’s final approval. Clough’s productive impulse was not energetic,

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