Arnold

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MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-188)
One of the major Victorian poets and one of the most important educationalists of the age, Arnold was brought up among books and learning and in 1857 became professor of poetry at Oxford.
In his Oxford lectures he spoke about his loss of faith and stressed the need to recover absolutes. By the time he was 45 he had written most of his best poems: Dover Beach, The Scholar Gypsy, Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse. He then dedicated his life to criticism and became an influential voice in the cultural and philosophical currents of the time.

DOVER BEACH
Dover Beach is one of the most beautiful poems of the Victorian Age and the culmination of his poetic work. Written in 1867, it is the expression of the crisis in religious belief and of the conflicts and anxieties which begin to corrode the Victorian Age.
Set in a room overlooking the Straits of Dover, it describes a beautiful marine scenery lit by the moon. The atmosphere is quiet and melancholy and reflects the emotional state of the poet and symbolically of many Victorians at the turn of the century. In the central part we understand that the loss of faith is responsible for this change of mood, public values have disappeared, all that is left are private affections. But love seems to be a desperate remedy against a vision of bleak nothingness: the Victorians are losing their optimism about their world and succumb in front of the coming tragedies of the twentieth century.