Although, as a poet, Arnold ranked creativity above criticism and in letters of 1861–86 repeatedly expressed a hope of getting back to poetry, he had worked his way out of his spiritual malaise, and in finding relief from such anxieties he lost his chief inspiration; a number of his late poems tended to be impersonal essays. But he found also a new and progressively satisfying vocation in prose as “Physician of the iron age” (to use his poetic label for Goethe), as an apostle of enlightenment. Beginning, almost by accident, with literary criticism, and with a strongly ethical conception of that, he branched out into social, political, and religious writing, and he continued until his death to be active on these several fronts; they were all united in his conception of “culture.”
KeywordsLiterary Criticism Paradise Lost Great Critic Great Poet English Poet
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