Amal Mohaya AlRekabi
Course : Poetry
Matthew Arnold as a Poet and Critic
The word "criticism" is derived from a Greek word that means "judgment". So, criticism is basically the exercise of judgment, and literary criticism is, therefore, the exercise of judgment on works of literature. From this, it is clear that the nature of literary criticism is to examine a work of literature, and its function is to identify its points of excellence and its inadequacies, and finally to evaluate its artistic worth.
Literary criticism concerns itself with asking philosophical questions about the nature of imaginative literature. It is not just surfing the literary text for answering questions about the syntactical or semantic structures of the sentences composing that literary work. It is probing deep into the being of a literary text and seeing how, if at all, it enlivens the spirit of the writer in relation to what is around him.
During the first half of the twentieth century, literary critics became aware and conscious of the interaction between the past and the present. The interests of the critics ranged from the poetics of Plato and Aristotle, through the theory and criticism of the Renaissance, and to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were most deeply indebted to the nineteenth century.
Of all earlier literary movements, Romanticism is most important for modern criticism. Romanticism reacted against the Neoclassicism, represented by the critics of the eighteenth century. Critics in the early twentieth century, revolted against the oppressive Victorian aesthetic and social conventions. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Matthew Arnold are the two principal leaders of the English Romantic Movement, who powerfully affected the criticism of the early part of the twentieth century. Arnold had a great impact on subsequent poetic practice and Coleridge upon criticism and theory .
When Arnold started, he was a teacher, professor, social reformer and critic. He stood and claim out loud that a poet has an active role and the critic too. He has three stages in his writings which are three phases, a writing devoted to the society and social reform, writing devoted to literary criticism (writing about William Wordsworth, Shelly and Kites and their theories) and finally writing devoted to criticism( writing critical theories and he himself as a writer criticize different text and setting new formal and new rules for criticism). He is considered as the father of modern criticism. His critical theories are the backbone and the cornerstone of the modern criticism that companies the focus on form and content and shows the language of the poetry and the role of the poet and the selected topics, themes and subject matter for poetry.
He has several essays that considers important and influential on modern writing. The Practice to Poem is one of them, The Function of Criticism at the Present Time is another one, showing his defiance of the...