New York,: Macmillan. Edited by James Gribble (1967)
Matthew Arnold was born at Laleham-on-Thames on 24 December 1822 as the eldest son of Dr Thomas Arnold and his wife Mary. He was educated at Winchester College, his father's old school; Rugby, where his father was headmaster; and Oxford. In 1851 he was appointed Inspector of Schools, pursuing this taxing career to support his wife and family until his retirement in 1886. He published his first volume of verse, The Strayed Reveller, and other Poems, in 1849 followed by Empedocles on Etna, and other Poems (1852) and five further collections which appeared, with a diminishing number of new poems in each, between 1853 and 1867, after which his creative gift appeared to dwindle still further and he published little poetry. His career as a writer of prose began to take over after his election to the Professorship of Poetry at Oxford in 1857. Stimulated by preparing his lectures, many of the earliest published in 1865 as Essays in Criticism (First Series), he turned increasingly to the vigorous and widely ranging polemical commentaries on culture, religion, and society which were to make him known at home and abroad as the foremost critic of his day. He died suddenly of heart failure on 15 April 1888 while awaiting at Liverpool the arrival of his married daughter from America.