Abstract

This essay revises the prevailing understanding of Matthew Arnold’s criticism of the late 1860s by arguing: first, for a revised portrait of his ethnological thought, wherein the figure of the Teuton assumes the lead role in his diagnosis of the deleterious social influence of Philistine “machinery”; second, that identifying this figure’s centrality enables an interpretation of his oeuvre as motivated by an urge to counteract the reified ontology of midcentury British capitalism; third, that recovering this motive enables the concomitant recovery of his work’s progressive political potential, which recent critics have mostly denied as a result of his imperialist ideological commitments; and fourth, that years after Arnold’s death this progressive potential was indeed so recovered by the very Irish nationalists whose efforts he so vehemently opposed, in whose hands it would come to serve as a potent resource of anti-capitalist decolonization.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 149-172
Launched on MUSE
2013-03-15
Open Access
No
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