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Extra info for Matthew Arnold: The Critical Heritage Volume 2 The Poetry (The Collected Critical Heritage : Victorian Thinkers)
First among them was Clough, whose review of Empedocles and The Strayed Reveller had been tepid, but who sponsored Arnold’s poems among influential men such as Lowell and Charles Eliot Norton (both reserved in their response) and who arranged for publication of the poems with Ticknor and Fields. Then, too, writers including Henry James and Herman Melville testified to the powerful impact of the poems on them as young men. Melville’s impressions became public knowledge only recently, and though James’s essay was reprinted in America, it was written for an English magazine (No.
They include an ‘imperfect ear’, occasional failings in ‘conception’, and a baffling inability to ‘polish’. ‘These things are worth a few words, because admirers of Arnold are in danger of being held his worshippers also, unless they show themselves aware of his faults. ’ Although but a page or two in length, Johnson’s review is extremely suggestive. He has comments on Arnold’s English temperament, but also on his relation to various cultures, the Celtic included, and he indicates that while Arnold may be associated with Oxford in one narrow sense and the nineteenth-century Zeitgeist in another, his fine MATTHEW ARNOLD 29 meditative strain is neither for one time nor one place.
By the seventies it was the weeklies, the Saturday Review, the Athenaeum, and the Spectator, which accounted for much of the impact of a book and the number of its sales. 54 In a letter to his mother (in 1869), Arnold mentions a Spectator review, then says he will have to ‘change back “the gipsy Child” to its old form as no one seems to like the new one’. The ‘no one’ is a specific reference to the Spectator. ’55 So Arnold proved responsive to specific criticisms and showed his readiness to alter his texts in future editions, which he took for granted.