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Lecture

ENG280 - September 19 - Arnold.docx


Department
English
Course Code
ENG280H1
Professor
Chris Warley

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ENG280 September 19 Kristen Young
Matthew Arnold
There's a suspicion that the world is no longer the same place that it was for Milton as it is
for Lane, therefore the description of narrative is because of the times
o Johnson says nature doesn't change
o Lane says nature is no longer unchanging, reflects the change in the world
Matthew Arnold marks the change between Johnson and Lane
o Instigates and reflects the change
o Was born to be an academic
Everything becomes the object of criticism
o Describe everything
o Arnold expands and enlarges the boundaries
Can now find the 'truth' of anything
o Doing this (finding truth) allows you to be a critic
Great art is dependent not only on the artist but also the time and the age
o Arnold is saying that the circumstances make the poem as much, maybe even more,
than the artist
"conditions" shape the production of art and the quality of art
Great art = condition = man + moment
Critical power is more in control than the creative power
Critical power makes the conditions/circumstances that the creative powers can flourish
in
o Origin of poetic genius is the critic
Criticism is supposed to "see the object as in itself it really is"
Criticism = curiosity
o In Arnold's England curiosity = bad connotations but essential for critics
Criticism "obeys an instinct prompting it to try to know the best that is known and
thought in the world" p.702
o "to make the best ideas prevail." p.697
o "endeavour to see things as they are" - Johnson
o Don't worry about implications but state what is, follow and describe the object as
accurately as it can be described regardless of the practical consequences
Don't worry about what it should be (bias) but what it is. (no practical
implications)
Criticism worries about being true not about having a point = function of criticism
o Ironic because the function is to have no function
Criticism = everything, should strive to know everything as accurately as we can
Disinterestedness doesn't equal disinterest
o Disinterest in practical things
Describing things as they actually are creates current and fresh ideas
o These ideas are what create the conditions that great art needs to live/create/exist
Contradictions
Begins with the definition being "to see the object as in itself it really is"
Ends with "a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate that best that is known and
thought in the world."
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