Frasi di Matthew Arnold

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Matthew Arnold

Data di nascita: 24. Dicembre 1822
Data di morte: 15. Aprile 1888

Matthew Arnold è stato un poeta, critico letterario e educatore britannico.

Era figlio di Thomas Arnold, famoso rettore della Rugby School, e fratello di Tom Arnold, docente di letteratura e di William Delafield Arnold, scrittore e funzionario coloniale.

Nel periodo 1847-51 lavorò come segretario di Lord Landsdowne, poi fu ispettore scolastico, viaggiando spesso per visitare scuole inglesi e non, e per vedere come fossero organizzate e come migliorarne l'insegnamento .

Nel 1851 sposò Fanny Lucy Wightman con la quale ebbe sei figli, di cui solo tre gli sopravvissero.

Nel 1857 fu eletto Professor of Poetry dell'Università di Oxford, dove fu il primo a usare l'inglese anziché il latino durante le proprie conferenze. Venne confermato nel mandato successivo .

Come critico letterario, si distinse per il tentativo di reinserire l'individuo all'interno della società e il letterato nell'ambito della tradizione.

A partire dalle Lives of the Poets di Samuel Johnson, per cui fece una scelta e una prefazione importante, anche dove non fosse d'accordo con lui, Arnold fornì con generosità e intelligenza tutta una serie di valutazioni ed espressioni alla critica letteraria del suo tempo. Promuovendo una cultura europea comune, accusò la cultura inglese di essere provinciale, principalmente con gli "Essays and Criticism" , che furono apprezzati da diversi lettori soprattutto dopo la sua morte .

Alcuni suoi scritti, per lo più pubblicati su giornali come "Cornhill" e "Fortnightly Review" e solo dopo raccolti in volumi, si occuparono anche dei problemi sociali e religiosi, come nel caso di Culture and Anarchy , nel quale l'autore assegnò alla cultura il compito di infrangere gli steccati che separavano le varie classi sociali, con un fondo di ottimismo a proposito dello sviluppo dell'umanità in quanto organismo.

In saggi successivi, come Literature and Dogma e God and the Bible , Arnold identificò la poesia come un possibile sostituto sia della religione sia della metafisica.Una delle sue formule critiche più fortunate fu quella di evidenziare l'amalgama di coscienza morale ebraica e intelligenza ellenistica che stanno alla base della cultura occidentale, essendo religione e poesia, ovvero "cuore e immaginazione" le due matrici della "moralità toccata da emozione" ovvero la poesia quale mezzo di trasmissione dell'esperienza spirituale.

Il suo magistero critico, con maggiore o minore fedeltà, ha collaborato a creare il punto di vista generale sulla funzione della cultura in critici come Lionel Trilling, Northrop Frye o Harold Bloom, o per le pagine critiche di Oscar Wilde, George Santayana e di T.S. Eliot, tra tutti forse il debitore più grato.

La sua produzione poetica, da qualcuno ritenuta tra le più importanti del periodo vittoriano inglese, fu caratterizzata da opere di ampio respiro, quali Tristram and Iseult , le tragedie Empedocles on Etna e Merope e da composizioni brevi come il sonetto Shakespeare , The Forsaken Merman .

Famosa è la sua poesia Dover Beach , sulla cittadina inglese che era porto verso la Francia e l'Europa. Wikipedia

Foto: Unknown author / Public domain

Frasi Matthew Arnold

„Dispersi per il vasto deserto delle acque
Noi mortali viviamo a milioni in solitudine.“

—  Matthew Arnold

(da To Marguerite, in Returning a Volume of the Letters of Ortis (1852), stanza 1)
Dotting the shoreless watery wild, | We mortal millions live alone.

„And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,
Didst tread on earth unguess'd at.“

—  Matthew Arnold

Better so! </p><p> All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole speech in that victorious brow.</p>
"Shakespeare" (1849)

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„The power of the Latin classic is in character, that of the Greek is in beauty.“

—  Matthew Arnold

Now character is capable of being taught, learnt, and assimilated: beauty hardly.
"Schools and Universities on the Continent" (1868)

„Steeped in sentiment as she lies, spreading her gardens to the moonlight, and whispering from her towers the last enchantments of the Middle Age, who will deny that Oxford, by her ineffable charm, keeps ever calling us nearer to the true goal of all of us, to the ideal, to perfection, — to beauty, in a word, which is only truth seen from another side?“

—  Matthew Arnold

nearer, perhaps, than all the science of Tübingen. Adorable dreamer, whose heart has been so romantic who hast given thyself so prodigally, given thyself to sides and to heroes not mine, only never to the Philistines! home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!
Preface to the Second Edition (1869)
Essays in Criticism (1865)

„Hear it, O Thyrsis, still our tree is there!“

—  Matthew Arnold, Thyrsis

Ah, vain! These English fields, this upland dim,
These brambles pale with mist engarlanded,
That lone, sky-pointing tree, are not for him;
To a boon southern country he is fled,
And now in happier air,
Wandering with the great Mother’s train divine
(And purer or more subtle soul than thee,
I trow, the mighty Mother doth not see)
Within a folding of the Apennine.
St. 18
Thyrsis (1866)

„People think that I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.“

—  Matthew Arnold

G.W.E. Russell, Collections and Recollections, ch. XIV, Harper & brothers, 1898, p. 136 https://archive.org/details/collectionsandr02russgoog/page/n152. Russell states that was said to him by Arnold himself.
Attributed

„Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole.“

—  Matthew Arnold

"To a Friend" (1849), line 9-12
Contesto: But be his
My special thanks, whose even-balanced soul,
From first youth tested up to extreme old age,
Business could not make dull, nor passion wild;
Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole.

„Ah, love, let us be true
To one another!“

—  Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

St. 4
Dover Beach (1867)
Contesto: Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

„For poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion.“

—  Matthew Arnold

Introduction to Ward's English Poets (1880)
Contesto: For poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion. Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea; the idea is the fact. The strongest part of our religion today is its unconscious poetry.

„A poetry of revolt against moral ideas is a poetry of revolt against life; a poetry of indifference towards moral ideas is a poetry of indifference towards life.“

—  Matthew Arnold

Wordsworth, originally published as "Preface to the Poems of Wordsworth" in Macmillan's Magazine (July 1879)
Essays in Criticism, second series (1888)
Contesto: If what distinguishes the greatest poets is their powerful and profound application of ideas to life, which surely no good critic will deny, then to prefix to the word ideas here the term moral makes hardly any difference, because human life itself is in so preponderating a degree moral.
It is important, therefore, to hold fast to this: that poetry is at bottom a criticism of life; that the greatness of a poet lies in his powerful and beautiful application of ideas to life — to the question, How to live. Morals are often treated in a narrow and false fashion, they are bound up with systems of thought and belief which have had their day, they are fallen into the hands of pedants and professional dealers, they grow tiresome to some of us. We find attraction, at times, even in a poetry of revolt against them; in a poetry which might take for its motto Omar Khayam's words: "Let us make up in the tavern for the time which we have wasted in the mosque." Or we find attractions in a poetry indifferent to them, in a poetry where the contents may be what they will, but where the form is studied and exquisite. We delude ourselves in either case; and the best cure for our delusion is to let our minds rest upon that great and inexhaustible word life, until we learn to enter into its meaning. A poetry of revolt against moral ideas is a poetry of revolt against life; a poetry of indifference towards moral ideas is a poetry of indifference towards life.

„It is not in my nature, some of my critics would rather say, not in my power, to dispute on behalf of any opinion, even my own, very obstinately.“

—  Matthew Arnold

Preface to the Second Edition (1869)
Essays in Criticism (1865)
Contesto: It is not in my nature, some of my critics would rather say, not in my power, to dispute on behalf of any opinion, even my own, very obstinately. To try and approach truth on one side after another, not to strive or cry, nor to persist in pressing forward, on any one side, with violence and self-will, — it is only thus, it seems to me, that mortals may hope to gain any vision of the mysterious Goddess, whom we shall never see except in outline, but only thus even in outline. He who will do nothing but fight impetuously towards her on his own, one, favourite, particular line, is inevitably destined to run his head into the folds of the black robe in which she is wrapped.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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