Clough, Arnold, Béranger, and the Legacy of 1848

Though almost completely forgotten now, the French songwriter and poet Pierre-Jean de Béranger enjoyed enormous popularity in both France and Britain for much of the nineteenth century. This study examines the divergent responses to Béranger in the work of Matthew Arnold and his friend and rival Arthur Hugh Clough. Arnold's initial enthusiasm for the French poet is followed by rejection of him and the ethos he represents in the wake of the revolution of 1848; Clough, in contrast, continues to see in Béranger's popular, radical, and "licentious" poetry a valuable alternative to the dominant values of Victorian Britain.