In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

- - ··-- ·- - - - · - - - --- -~ REVIEWS 109 hostile so many who should have understood, sympathized with, and admired him. Philip Grove used to say that Arnold ought to have been one of his idols, but that he could never read a line of him with patience after he discovered his remark on Lincoln. DeQuincey complained that Dr. Arnold burst into a pamphlet the moment he feared a revolution in English affairs, and that such fears were needless. The indubitable fact was, as H. A. L. Fisher and Elie Halevy have shown, that in Dr. Arnold's time and later a culbute in English affairs was narrowly, some would say miraculously, averted. Matthew Arnold was at times acutely aware that the crisis went far beyond his own country and his own generation. Professor Brown has shown that when these moments were on him he forgot or disregarded the very principles he most deeply cherished. In another age something of the kind happened to .the greatest of all philosophers. But to say that is not to excuse Arnold, nor to minimize the importance of understanding the lamentable fact. And Professor Brown, who seems to be as free as the wind in blowing where he listeth, continues to spend a large part of his admirable energy in elucidating the significance of Matthew Arnold with all his glories, as Burke would have put it, and all his imperfections on his head. It is possible that Professor· Brown is a better critic of Arnold's prose than of his poetry, at least in. these two hundred pages. He has a rare skill in analysing the various prose styles which Arnold used, and great insight into the relative merits of the essays and their criticism. It was a misf-ortune for his age that the inner purpose and import of the Celtic essays were missed. It is a misfortune, not merely for Arnold's reputation but for our time, that the value of The Function of Criticism at the Present TiJJte should be so generally overlooked, and that so much emphasis should be. laid on Culture and Anarchy. In these matters and others Professor Brown adjusts the balance. He has distilled much wisdom into the notes at the end of his book, wh1ch deserve the closest reading. COMPLETED MEMOIR* W. RoBBINs Biographies and studies of the major Victorians would seem to justify the pendulum metaphor. The awed, or cautious, respect of the nil nisi bonum obituary phase eventually gave way to irreverent irony and the thumbed nose, a revolt which has been followed by attempts at *Alfred Tennyson. By h.is grandson CHARLES TENNYSON. New York: Macmillan Company [Toronto: Macmjllan Company of Canada]. 1949. Pp. 579. ($9.00) 110 THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY just appreciation and sane estimate. These divisions are of course not exclusive, and in this latest biography of Tennyson, by his grandson, there is, naturally and understandably, a nostalgically Victorian flavour in phrase and attitude. The most impressive critical as well as biographical study so far produced on any Victorian poet is that on Matthew ArnoJd by Lionel Trilling. But then Arnold1 critic and essayist as well as poet, demands a comparative and analytical treatment of sources and ideas, and Professor Trilling_ has met the challenge with striking success in a book that is as much the biography of an age as of a man. An ·equally comprehensive and judicious view has yet to be taken of Browning or Tennyson. Meanwhile there is need for ·the complete and detailed record of the poefs life, exhausting all available primary sources, and in that important sense the present biography of Tennyson may well be regarded as definitive. Essentially, Sir Charles' book is the amplifying and completing of the fifty-year-old memoir by Hallam Tennyson. The order is strictly chronological; the biographical fullness is extended to all the poet's relations and connections; there are a dozen excellent reproductions of photographs and paintings and a most satisfactory index. (Perhaps the reproductions explain the list price, whiCh this reviewer finds staggering.) The fu11ness of detail in treating of the antecedents and early years of Tennyson is especially welcome, after such romantic speculations as Nico]son,s that "the black and...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 109-112
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.