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Matthew Arnold (1822-88), the leading man-of-letters of the Victorian age, has been the decisive influence on modern thinking about literature and criticism and his work has become an inescapable cultural reference point today.
In this stylish and entertaining book Stefan Collini examines the whole range of Arnold's literary, social, and religious criticism as well as his poetry, placing them in the context of the major intellectual controversies of the nineteenth century. By attending to the distinctive power of Arnold's writing to charm, tease, persuade, and irritate, the book provides a brilliant characterization of the tone and temper of his mind.
This edition includes a substantial Afterword which reflects on Arnold's continuing polemical significance and his role in contemporary cultural debate.
Stefan Collini is Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Clare Hall. A frequent contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The London Review of Books, and other periodicals both in Britain and the USA, his other books include Public Moralists (1991), English Pasts (1999), and Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain (2006), all also published by Oxford
University Press. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society.