Matthew Arnold, poetry, faith, tears

(2013) ‘Divine liquidness of diction … divine fluidity of movement’: Reading Poetry after Matthew Arnold and the Higher Biblical Criticism. Literature and Theology, 27(3), pp. 313-329.

This article is prompted by the turn since 2000 in literary study to ‘formalism’ (‘New Formalism’) to return to Matthew Arnold (1822–88) and his work to realign the Bible and literature after Strauss’ mid-century higher biblical criticism. The article interrogates the terms of Arnold’s poetic-religious formulations, and his reputation for scepticism, so as to recover an obscured energy in how the academy reads poetry in his wake. It demonstrates this through a reading of the ‘man of sorrows’ and weeping in Arnold’s ‘Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse’, seeking ways to recover the historical conditions of faith and expression.