Matthew Arnold

1822-1888. English poet. Eldest son of Thomas Arnold,* he was born at Laleham and educated at Winchester, Rugby, and Balliol College, Oxford. He was government inspector of schools from 1851 to 1886, and from 1857 to 1867 he was also professor of poetry at Oxford. Though popular as a poet in his lifetime, his poetic ability has been severely criticized in this century. He attacked many of the religious attitudes of his time, particularly tendencies to rely on unprovable assumptions and neglect of reason. He saw “culture” as man's greatest need, deplored bibliolatry as alien to the scientific spirit, stressed the personal and moral sides of Christianity, and denied miracles. His important religious works were Culture and Anarchy (1869); St. Paul and Protestantism (1870); Literature and Dogma (1873); God and the Bible (1875); and Last Essays on the Church and Religion (1877).