The Letters of Matthew Arnold: v. 3: 1866-70

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The letters in this volume show Arnold, now midway in his professional career, publishing his first volume of poems in a decade and emerging as a critic - simultaneously - of society, of education, of religion, and, as always, of politics. In 1867 he publishes New Poems , containing several of his best-known and most beloved works, Dover Beach, Thyrsis , Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse , and many others, including the first reprint since 1852 of Empedocles on Etna , and in 1869 Culture and Anarchy , of which the germ is visible in a remarkable letter to his mother in 1867, as well as the influential reports on continental schools, and the seminal St. Paul and Protestantism . The letters to his mother and other family members continue unabated; two of his sons die, their deaths recorded in wrenching accents; his essays, possibly by design, draw flak from all directions, which Arnold evades (any poet to any critic) as adroitly or disarmingly as usual; for two years he takes into his home an Italian prince; and he is awarded an honourary Oxford degree. He remains in every way both Establishment and anti-Establishment, both courteous, as has been said, and something better than courteous: honest.