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MATTHEW ARNOLD VISITS CHICAGO JOHN P. LoNG ON Sunday morning, January 20, 1884, the following advertisement appeared in the columns of the Chicago Daily InterOcean : CENTRAL MUSIC HALL THE MATTHEW ARNOLD LECTURES Mr. R. D'Oyly Carte has the honor to announce two lectures only, in this city, by the distinguished poet, critic, and essayist, Mr. MATTHEW ARNOLD On the following dates: Tuesday Eve'G. Jan. 22. Subject, "NUMBERS: Or, the Majority and the Remnant." Thursday Eve'G. Jan. 24. Subject: "EMERSON." Tickets, with reserved seats, 50¢, 75¢ and $1.00 Doors open at 7: 15. Lecture at 8. Tickets at the box office. Matthew Arnold had arrived in Chicago the previous evening. A fresh wind blew across Lake Michigan from the northwest, and at ten o'clock the temperature was nine above zero. Mr. Arnold had lectured in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday night to thirteen hundred students of the University of Michigan and had been most cordially received. He was descending now upon a city which had been incorporated only fifty-one years ago, on August 5, 1833. Twenty-one years before that, in 1812, many of the citizens of the old Fort Dearborn had been massacred by Indians on the sandy dunes two miles south of the fort at the mouth of the river. In 1884 Chicago's explosive growth had left some astonishing results. It had become a city half-frontier, half-cultured. Mr. Henry Abbey's Grand Italian Opera Company was opening a two weeks' engagement at Haverly's Theatre. The noted singer, Adelina Patti, she of the golden voice, was billed at McVicker's, accompanied by a "Full Orchestra and Chorus of Her Majesty's Opera." At the West Side Dime Museum there were two attractions: a man with an elastic skin, 34 Vol. XXIV, no. 1, Oct., 1954 MATIHEW ARNOLD VISITS CHICAGO 35 and the world's smallest Celestial. Sioux Indians who had taken part with Sitting Bull in the Custer Massacre in 1876 were on exhibit at the Great Chicago Museum and Theatre. Mr. Henry Irving, the celebrated Shakespearean actor, had just completed a most successful engagement. On Sunday, January 20, the Chicago Tribune commented on Irving's tour: The receptivity of Chicago audiences must have been very gratifying to Mr. Irving during his most successful engagement of two weeks. His success was ... an artistic triumph. People had grown weary of the oldschool actors, with their ranting, their idolized shortcomings which they called traditions, and the shabby accessories in the midst of which they posed.... The city had grown considerably in culture since the great fire of 1871. While the young aldermen Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink, the lords of the levee, turned their attention to vice and politics, civic and cultural Chicago had moved swiftly. Northwestern University had been founded in 1851, and the University of Chicago in 1854. The Potter Palmer castle on Michigan Avenue, built in 1882, towered structurally and socially over Chicago's elite Near North Side. In 1880 Oscar Wilde had visited the city. Two years later, the famed French actress Sarah Bernhardt once more set the city agog. The eighties had become an age of quiet elegance, with gas-lit streets, shady lawns, and brownstone houses. The rolling mills and the stockyards brought wealth to Chicago. It was a city of fabulous growth: rich, bawdy, ambitious, a metropolis of shocking economic contrasts. It was to greet this society, and this culture, that Matthew Arnold stepped off the Michigan Central train at 7:40 P.M. on Saturday night, January 19, 1884. II On Saturday afternoon the reporter for the Chicago Daily InterOcean boarded Matthew Arnold's train at Tolleston, a small junction town seventeen miles southeast of the city. In next day's issue of the Inter-Ocean, the interview was given prominent space, with the headline: MATTHEW ARNOLD The Apostle of Sweetness and Light Sojourning Here Awhile Striking Characteristics of the Man Noticed During an Interview Kindly Accorded 36 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY "Mr. Arnold?" "Yes, sir." The reporter turned down his collar and pulled off his gloves. It was ever so comfortable in the . . . parlor car; . . . the wind, .bearing the driving snow, had been...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 34-45
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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