Most of Arnold’s important poems were written in the decade 1843–53 and published in volumes of 1849–54 The best introduction to them is provided by his letters to his fellow poet and closest friend, Arthur Hugh Clough. These informal letters give us the views of the world held by a young man who has lately entered it and of the kind of poetry that should or can be written in such a world. We have only Arnold’s side of the correspondence, but we can infer Clough’s responses from that and from Clough’s other writings, especially his rather sour review of Arnold’s poems in the North American Review of 1853. The best work of both thoughtful poets grew out of their own experience, mainly inward; in Clough’s case this was exacerbated by the atmosphere of Oxford and London University.
KeywordsModem World Competent Rhetoric Short Poem Young Poet Victorian Study
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