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Quotes of the day: Matthew Arnold

Published Tuesday, December 23, 2014 @ 4:03 PM EST
Dec 23 2014

Matthew Arnold (December 24, 1822 - April 15, 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


And we forget because we must and not because we will.

Because thou must not dream, thou need not despair.

Choose equality.

Conduct is three-fourths of our life and its largest concern.

Culture is properly described as the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection.

Everything in our political life tends to hide from us that there is anything wiser than our ordinary selves.

For the creation of a masterwork of literature two powers must concur, the power of the man and the power of the moment, and the man is not enough without the moment.

Inequality has the natural and necessary effect, under the present circumstances, of materializing our upper class, vulgarizing our middle class, and brutalizing our lower class. (1879)

It is a very great thing to be able to think as you like; but, after all, an important question remains: what you think.

It is almost impossible to exaggerate the proneness of the human mind to take miracles as evidence, and to seek for miracles as evidence.

Journalism is literature in a hurry.

On the breast of that huge Mississippi of falsehood called History, a foam-bell more or less is no consequence.

One must, I think, be struck more and more the longer one lives, to find how much in our present society a man's life of each day depends for its solidity and value upon whether he reads during that day, and far more still on what he reads during it.

Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines and Populace; and America is just ourselves with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly.

Philistine must have originally meant, in the mind of those who invented the nickname, a strong, dogged, unenlightened opponent of the children of the light.

Resolve to be thyself: and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery.

Spare me the whispering, crowded room, the friends who come and gape and go, the ceremonious air of gloom- all, which makes death a hideous show.

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.

The people who believe most that our greatness and welfare are proved by our being very rich, and who most give their lives and thoughts to becoming rich, are just the very people whom we call the Philistines.

The true meaning of religion is thus, not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.

To have the sense of creative activity is the great happiness and the great proof of being alive.

Truth sits upon the lips of dying men.

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.

Categories: Matthew Arnold, Quotes of the day


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