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a diviner of the essentials that underlie the multiform play of human energy ; he must know life intimately; and being concerned that life shall have its best quality, he will strive for this perfection not only through what he says about books, but also through direct comment on those modes of livingthose ideals-which his analysis and imagination detect as ruling his contemporaries. In obedience to this conception of the critic, Arnold had much to say not only on poetry and belles lettres, but on politics, religion, theology, and the general social conditions of his time. The Selections include one or more of his characteristic comments on each of these topics.
It should also be noted that many of the Selections are complete essays or lectures, not mere extracts. The Function of Criticism at the Present Time is an entire essay; On Translating Homer is the entire first lecture on this subject; Oxford and Philistinism and Culture and Anarchy are entire prefaces or introductions; Compulsory Education and “Life a Dream" are entire Letters; Literature and Science and Emerson are entire Discourses—two of the three that Arnold gave repeatedly in America. His Discourses in America stood specially high in Arnold's favor; shortly before his death he spoke of the book as that “by which, of all his prose-writings, he should most wish to be remembered.”
The Selections are believed also to present Arnold's style adequately throughout its whole range. In some respects his style, despite possible faults of manner that will later be considered, is the best model available for students of prose. It is not so idiosyncratic as are the styles of Carlyle or Mr. Ruskin, not so inimitably individual; it is more conventional and unimpassioned, more expressive of the mood of prose, with little of the color and few of the overtones of poetry. Yet it is an intensely vital style, and everywhere exemplifies not simply the logic of good writing, but the intimate correspondence of phrase with thought and mood that great writers of prose continually secure. Individual it therefore is, and yet not arbitrarily or forbiddingly individual. Its merits and possible shortcomings are analyzed at length in the Introduction.
The more important dates in Arnold's life and a list of his main publications are given just after the Introduction. A brief sketch of his life may be found in Men of the Time, ed. 1887; a longer, more appreciative sketch, in Eminent Persons, or Biographies reprinted from the Times, vol. iv. Mr. Andrew Lang's article on Arnold, in the Century for April, 1882, also contains much interesting biographical detail. HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, Mass.,