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Victorian Literature Arthur Hugh Clough
by
Samantha Matthews

Introduction

The English poet Arthur Hugh Clough (b. 1819–d. 1861) is a representative figure of the mid-Victorian religious crisis and an innovative Victorian poet. He was a talented protégé of Rugby school’s charismatic headmaster Thomas Arnold. At Balliol College, Oxford, Clough witnessed the period’s religious controversies, defined by the theological establishment’s contests with Tractarianism (John Henry Newman’s High Church “Oxford movement”) and with the influence of the “Higher Criticism” of the Bible led by German textual scholars. Unable to subscribe to the Church of England’s Thirty-nine Articles, in 1848 Clough resigned as a tutor and fellow of Oriel College. In 1851 he resigned from a brief tenure as professor of English at University College, London, and made unsuccessful attempts to find academic employment in Australia and America. In 1854 his appointment as an examiner in the Education Office enabled him to marry. Clough turned from poetry to a life of service, working for his wife’s cousin Florence Nightingale, but failing health led to his early death at age 42, in Florence. He is the subject of his friend Matthew Arnold’s elegy, “Thyrsis.” Leaving Oxford gave Clough the freedom to experiment with less orthodox poetic subjects and forms, and with radical political and moral ideas. In an extraordinary burst of productivity from 1848 to 1852, he wrote the three long works on which his poetic reputation now largely rests. The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich (1848) is a witty and reflexive modern pastoral set in the Scottish Highlands. He wrote his masterpiece, the epistolary verse-novel Amours de Voyage (1858), after witnessing the fall of Mazzini’s short-lived Roman republic in 1849. In 1850 he began Dipsychus, a Faustian dramatic dialogue that he never completed. Notable shorter poems include “Natura Naturans,” a meditation on erotic affinity that begins with an exchange of glances in a railway carriage; “The Latest Decalogue,” a satirical summary of modern unbelief; and “The Struggle,” one of the most celebrated instances of the Victorian fascination with the battle as a metaphor for life. Besides Matthew Arnold, Clough’s influential friendships included Thomas Carlyle, R. W. Emerson, and Charles Eliot Norton. His literary reputation, secured by the Bothie and consolidated by the posthumous publication of his literary remains, declined sharply in the early 20th century, and he was left in Arnold’s shadow. New editions and critical studies have complicated and enriched our picture of him, and confirm his distinctive presence in the poetic and intellectual culture of his time.

General Overviews

Fully integrated studies of Clough (giving equal weight to biography, intellectual development, and poetry) are rare, and the most substantial (Veyriras 1964) remains untranslated. Armstrong 1982 and Harris 1970 are shorter surveys aimed at a mainly academic readership, with Armstrong stronger on Clough’s significance in literary history; Schad 2006 is a theoretically minded view of Clough as an intellectual. Houghton 1963 is still essential as a general account of Clough’s achievement as a poet, supplemented by Timko 1966 and Turner 1990. Scott 1978 helpfully summarizes trends in critical reappraisal.

  • Armstrong, Isobel. “Arthur Hugh Clough.” In British Writers. Vol. 5. Edited by Ian Scott Kilvert, 155–171. London and New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982.

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    Short, pithy, and critically astute introduction in the Writers and Their Work series. Sees Clough as a “Janus-poet,” both affiliated with 18th-century poetic tradition and anticipating the modern. Includes a brief selective bibliography. Originally published in 1962 (London: Longmans, Green).

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  • Harris, Wendell V. Arthur Hugh Clough. New York: Twayne, 1970.

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    Follows Twayne’s English Authors series format in giving broad survey of life and work; distinctive focus on Clough’s spiritual biography; less interested in poetic complexity.

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  • Houghton, Walter E. The Poetry of Clough: An Essay in Revaluation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1963.

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    Groundbreaking critical reappraisal that takes issue with Clough’s reputation as a Victorian doubter and failed poet by eschewing biographical interpretation. Important in recuperating the three long narrative poems as Clough’s major work, and with useful chapters on the critical tradition and shorter poems.

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  • Schad, John. Arthur Hugh Clough. Tavistock, UK: Northcote, 2006.

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    New introduction to Clough in the Writers and Their Work series, replacing Armstrong 1982. Views Clough as the “anti-poet,” using poetry to mirror the troubled contemporary world. Useful as a rare theoretically minded reading of Clough, particularly strong on his intellectualism and relations to Continental thought.

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  • Scott, Patrick G. “The Victorianism of Clough.” Victorian Poetry 16 (1978): 32–42.

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    Vigorous polemical attack on readings of Clough as proto-modernist, emphasizing the “Victorian” centrality and solidity of his opinions on sex, religion, and social morality. Somewhat partial in its own readings but stimulating and well documented.

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  • Timko, Michael. Innocent Victorian: The Satiric Poetry of Arthur Hugh Clough. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1966.

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    Argues for the constructive nature of satirical poetry. Emphasizes the “positive naturalism” or “moral realism” that Clough asserts through his satire, as part of the 1960s project to counter the myth of Clough’s failure.

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  • Turner, Paul. “Clough.” In Victorian Poetry, Drama, and Miscellaneous Prose, 1832–1890. By Paul Turner, 59–74. Oxford History of English Literature 14. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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    Short, sharp, and insightful survey, with good sense of literary context and Clough’s ironies. One of the first major Victorian reference works to treat Clough seriously as a major poet, rather than as an adjunct to Arnold.

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  • Veyriras, Paul. Arthur Hugh Clough. Paris: Didier, 1964.

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    Substantial and detailed survey effectively combining critical commentary and biographical interpretation, and particularly good on the intellectual background. However, in French, with no English translation.

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Biographies

The pressure of biography on critical appraisal is especially sharp in Clough’s case; his life was often viewed as more “interesting” than his poetry. Blanche Clough’s memoir (Clough and Symonds 1869) sets a pattern of contest over Clough’s unfulfilled career, attributed either to his short life, or to personal deficiencies. Issues in biographical debate include Clough’s seeming inability to conform to institutional demands, his attitude toward sex, and his “subordinate” position in relation to Matthew Arnold (see Rugby and the Arnolds). Chorley 1962 is an influential psychological reading of Clough’s life and work, followed by a more nuanced treatment in Biswas 1972. Kenny 2005 is more convincing on the life, less so on its connection to the poetry; Kenny 2004 is a crisp, informative starting point for academic study.

  • Biswas, Robindra Kumar. Arthur Hugh Clough: Towards a Reconsideration. Oxford: Clarendon, 1972.

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    Evaluates Clough’s poetry in the context of his developing mind and personality. Seeks to avoid the pitfalls of biographical interpretation. Consolidates the work of Chorley 1962 and Houghton 1963 (cited under General Overviews) in correcting the older view of Clough as a “failed Eminent Victorian.”

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  • Chorley, Katharine. Arthur Hugh Clough and the Uncommitted Mind: A Study of His Life and Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon, 1962.

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    Still the most insightful and generally useful critical biography. Accounts for the apparent contradictions in Clough’s life and work by arguing that he is constitutionally “uncommitted” to any one system of thought or belief. Its psychological perspective has been criticized (see Maynard 1993, cited under Clough’s Modernity).

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  • Clough, Blanche. “Memoir of Arthur Hugh Clough.” In The Poems and Prose Remains. 2 vols. Edited by Blanche Clough and J. A. Symonds, 1–54. London: Macmillan, 1869.

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    Essential source for firsthand information about Clough’s life. More balanced and objective than is typical of widows’ memoirs, but censors his less conventional thinking and promotes a questionable myth of Clough’s promise remaining unfulfilled due to his early death.

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  • Kenny, Anthony. “Clough, Arthur Hugh (1819–1861), Poet.” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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    Good introductory overview for undergraduates upward, with brief note of key sources, archives, and likenesses.

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  • Kenny, Anthony. Arthur Hugh Clough: A Poet’s Life. London: Continuum, 2005.

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    The most recent full-length biography, by an Oxford philosopher and Clough scholar. Fast-paced and readable account, stronger on theological and intellectual contexts than on literary insights. Assumes an English and at times Oxbridge readership.

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Bibliographies and Archives

The Clough archive in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, is available on microfilm (Adam Matthew Publications 2005). The most complete bibliography (Gollin, et al. 1967) predates the standard edition of the poems (Mulhauser 1974, cited under Primary Works). Rosenbaum 1982 and Scott 1977 are essential supplementary guides to Clough’s manuscripts and early editions. Scott 1999 is an authoritative short reference work summarizing primary and secondary materials pertinent to Clough studies.

  • Adam Matthew Publications. Nineteenth Century Literary Manuscripts. Part 3: The Correspondence and Literary Manuscripts of Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861) from the Bodleian Library. Oxford: Adam Matthew Publications, 2005.

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    Microfilm of major Clough archive, including the manuscripts used in preparation of early editions.

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  • Gollin, Richard M., Walter E. Houghton, and Michael Timko, eds. “Clough: A Descriptive Catalogue.” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 71 (1967): 55, 58, 71–92, 173–199.

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    The standard bibliographic resource. Divided into sections on poems, prose, and biography and criticism; includes unpublished and separately published items. Should be supplemented by Scott 1977 and Rosenbaum 1982. Revised as Arthur Hugh Clough: A Descriptive Catalogue—Poetry, Prose, Biography and Criticism (New York: New York Public Library, 1968).

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  • Rosenbaum, Barbara. “Arthur Hugh Clough.” In Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Vol. 4, 1800–1900. Part 1: Arnold–Gissing. Edited by Barbara Rosenbaum and Pamela White, 459–503. London: Mansell, 1982.

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    Provides alphabetical entries for all Clough’s manuscript drafts, in separate sequences for poems, translations, prose essays, editorial works, and diaries. Includes list of twenty-one libraries holding Clough letters not listed in Mulhauser 1957 (cited under Primary Works). Important source for leads on original primary textual and biographical research on Clough.

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  • Scott, Patrick G. The Early Editions of Arthur Hugh Clough. New York: Garland, 1977.

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    Descriptive bibliography of Clough’s separately published works up to Clough 1869 (cited under Primary Works), with annotated checklist of editions from 1869 to 1976. Introductory essay describes Clough’s experience of mid-Victorian publishing. Sound bibliographical companion to Mulhauser 1974 (cited under Primary Works).

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  • Scott, Patrick G. “Arthur Hugh Clough 1819–61”. In The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. Vol. 4, 1800–1900. Edited by Joanne Shattock, 596–602. Rev. 3d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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    Indispensable concise summary of Clough bibliographies, collections, selections, contributions to periodicals, biographies, textual and bibliographical studies, and landmark works of criticism.

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Primary Works

The volumes posthumously published by Clough’s widow Blanche (Clough 1862, Clough 1865, Clough 1869) established Clough’s stature as a contemporary figure but raise contentious issues of biographical interpretation and textual accuracy. Mulhauser 1974 is the authoritative modern annotated edition. However, later editors have criticized some decisions about copy-texts. Phelan 1995 is the best annotated selection available, despite omitting the Bothie, which is included in McCue 1991. The selections from Clough’s correspondence (Mulhauser 1957) and Oxford diaries (Kenny 1990) may be supplemented with reference to the archival material in Adam Matthews Publications 2005 (cited under Bibliographies and Archives).

  • Clough, Arthur Hugh. Poems by Arthur Hugh Clough. London: Macmillan, 1862.

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    Posthumous selection compiled by Blanche Clough. With a memoir by F. T. Palgrave; a parallel American edition was introduced by Charles Eliot Norton. Includes a fuller revised text of Amours de Voyage.

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  • Clough, Arthur Hugh. Letters and Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough. London: Spottiswoode, 1865.

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    Second compilation by the poet’s widow Blanche. Includes first printing of the “Easter Day” poems and Dipsychus and the Spirit (as Dipsychus).

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  • Clough, Arthur Hugh. The Poems and Prose Remains. Edited by Blanche Clough and J. A. Symonds. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1869.

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    Volume 2 includes a substantial number of poems not included in Clough 1862 or Clough 1865. Together with the preceding publications, important for shaping the late Victorian view of Clough as a significant poet, but its editorial policy reflects Blanche Clough’s wish to tone down the poet’s agnosticism and sexual frankness.

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  • Kenny, Anthony. Arthur Hugh Clough: Oxford Diaries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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    Last major category of Clough manuscript materials to be published. Scholarly edition of selections from seven journal-notebooks Clough kept from 1835 to 1848, now at Balliol College library, Oxford. Omits poetic drafts published elsewhere, so the diaries emphasize Clough’s self-scrutiny in religious, social, and sexual behavior.

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  • McCue, Jim, ed. Arthur Hugh Clough: Selected Poems. London: Penguin, 1991.

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    Sound selection in Penguin Classics series. Uses Mulhauser 1974 texts apart from first continuous draft (MS1) for copy-text of Dipsychus.

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  • Mulhauser, F. L., ed. Clough, Arthur Hugh: Correspondence. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1957.

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    Fullest modern selection available, but reproduces less than half of Clough’s extant correspondence.

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  • Mulhauser, F. L., ed. The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough. 2d ed. Translations edited by Jane Turner. Oxford English Texts series. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974.

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    The standard scholarly edition, with extensive textual apparatus, essential for serious critical work. Revises and expands the first full-scale modern collected edition, The Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough, edited by H. F. Lowry, F. L. Mulhauser, and A. L. P. Norrington (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951).

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  • Phelan, J. P., ed. Clough: Selected Poems. New York: Longman, 1995.

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    Excellent selection in the Longman Annotated Texts series. Omits the Bothie, but includes Dipsychus and The Spirit in full. Stimulating and substantial introductory critical essay emphasizes Clough’s “questioning” (pp. 1–30). The best starting point for serious readers of Clough.

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The Bothie of Toper-Na-Fuosich

Clough’s first major work is a long narrative poem in English hexameters based on his experience of taking Oxford students on summer reading parties to Scotland in the 1840s. It was written and published in 1848 as The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich: A Long-Vacation Pastoral, and established Clough’s new career as a poet after his resignation from Oxford. (The title was revised to The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich after 1855, when Clough discovered that “Fuosich” is a lewd Gaelic pun.) The protagonist, radical poet Philip Hewson, after two failed romances marries a crofter’s daughter; the poem is formed of debates between Philip and his tutor Adam about the possibility of reconciling romantic and political aims. Kingsley 1849 begins the serious appreciation of Clough as an innovative poet. The Oxford influence is reassessed by Hayward 1983. There are two main strands of modern scholarship: those emphasizing the poem’s generic hybridity and experimentation with hexameters (Tasker 1996, Phelan 1999, Prins 2000), and those focusing on sexual frankness (Matthews 2004). O’Gorman 2006 follows the introduction in Phelan 1995 (cited under Primary Works) in emphasizing Clough as a “questioning” poet. Ulin 1999 reflects the recent growth in interest in Clough as a travel poet.

  • Hayward, Thomas A. “The Latin Epigraphs in The Bothie of Tober-Na-Vuolich.” Victorian Poetry 21 (1983): 145–155.

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    Uses the Latin epigraphs that introduce each section to read the poem’s narrative, dramatic and moral movements from Virgilian pastoral, through an epithalamium of Catullus to Horatian bucolic. A helpful explication of a poem often viewed as too scholarly and exclusive.

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  • Kingsley, Charles. “The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich.” Fraser’s Magazine 39 (1849): 103–110.

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    Influential early review, which enjoys the Bothie’s difference from the prevailing Oxford poetic school defined by John Keble. Appreciative and lively discussion, despite Kingsley’s opinion of the “bizarrerie” of style and subject. Reprinted in Thorpe 1972 (cited under Influence and Reception), pp. 37–47.

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  • Matthews, Christopher. “‘A Relation! Oh Bliss! Unto Others’: Heterosexuality and the Ordered Liberties of the Bothie of Toper-Na-Fuosich.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 58.4 (2004): 474–505.

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    Detailed analysis drawing on Phelan 1999 and Prins 2000 that reads the poem’s narratives about heterosexuality and politics as synergized through sexual and metrical allegories.

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  • O’Gorman, Francis. “Clough’s Difficulties.” Yearbook of English Studies 36:2 (2006): 125–138.

    DOI: 10.2307/20479247Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Useful starting point for students of the Bothie puzzled by “what it is about.” Takes issue with the modern critical tradition that views it as a poem “with a thesis” (see Biswas 1972, cited under Biographies).

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  • Phelan, J. P. “Radical Metre: The English Hexameter in Clough’s Bothie of Toper-Na-Fuosich.” Review of English Studies 50.198 (1999): 166–187.

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    Influential account contextualizing Clough’s “rough” hexameters in relation to contemporary debates about classical prosody. Argues that Clough’s revisions to the Bothie tamed the sexual and metrical experimentation of the first edition toward orthodoxy. Includes detailed metrical analysis appropriate for graduate-level students and above.

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  • Prins, Yopie. “Victorian Meters.” In The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry. Edited by Joseph Bristow, 89–113. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521641152.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Section on the “hexameter mania” (pp. 100–106) presents a helpful introduction to the poem’s self-conscious reflection on the remaking of its own metrical form, particularly the use of water to reflect on relations between fluency and boundaries in Clough’s hexameters. Also available at Cambridge Collections Online.

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  • Tasker, Meg. “Time, Tense, and Genre: A Bakhtinian Analysis of Clough’s Bothie.” Victorian Poetry 34 (1996): 193–211.

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    Reads the Bothie as an example of the novelization of English poetry, relating Clough’s poetics and the dialogic structure of the novel.

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  • Ulin, Donald. “Tourism and the Contest for Cultural Authority in Clough’s Bothie of Toper-Na-Fuosich.” Victorian Poetry 37.1 (1999): 71–97.

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    Sees the poem as a ground-breaking analysis of middle-class leisure, foregrounding the politics of language. Represents growing critical interest in Clough’s narrative poems as travel literature.

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Amours De Voyage

Clough’s most popular and critically discussed work is an epistolary “novel” in five cantos, like The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich in English hexameters (discussed in Gray 2004). Oxford graduate Claude is in Rome during Garibaldi’s defense of the Roman republic against the French (reflecting Clough’s own experience, April to August 1849). Amours was drafted at speed, but not published until 1858, when an abbreviated version appeared anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly. Scott 1974 gives variants from Clough 1862 (cited under Primary Works); the 1903 Macmillan edition is accessible via Project Gutenberg. Snobbish Claude falls in love with Mary (from a “new money” background). Mary accompanies her family when they flee Rome; Claude delays, then follows, but fails to find her. Sharply observed political events and erotic entanglements are juxtaposed with the musings of Claude, a sympathetic but compromised figure. Criticism of Amours de Voyage focuses on the relation between Claude’s vacillations and inaction, and the poem’s hybridic and “open” form. Goode 1969 emphasizes the poem’s experimental qualities and, like Mermin 1983 and Bailey 1993, privileges form over context. Slinn 1991 and Markovits 2001 focus on the debate about (in)action and moral and political commitment. The Italian context is annotated by Scott 1974 and interpreted as a commentary on Englishness by Gatrell 1990.

  • Bailey, Suzanne. “‘A Garland of Fragments’: Modes of Reflexivity in Clough’s Amours De Voyage.” Victorian Poetry 31.2 (1993): 157–170.

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    Reads the poem through the lens of modern critical theories of reflexive narrative (e.g., Barthes’s “writerly text”); not programmatic in its approach, but clear in its conclusion that “the reader . . . is directed, finally, not to truth but to writing” (p. 168).

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  • Gatrell, Simon. “Histoires De Voyage: The Italian Poems of Arthur Hugh Clough.” In Creditable Warriors, 1830–1876. Edited by Michael Cotsell, 159–172. London: Ashfield, 1990.

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    Inclusive survey of Clough’s Italian poems, discriminating constructively between Clough’s responses to Venice and Rome, and exploring the use of Italian settings to explore distinctively English concerns.

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  • Goode, John. “Amours de Voyage: The Aqueous Poem.” In The Major Victorian Poets: Reconsiderations. Edited by Isobel Armstrong, 275–297. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969.

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    The most influential modern critical interpretation. Eschews the traditional emphasis on historical and intellectual contexts in order to foreground the poem’s experimental and radical qualities, radical to the extent of questioning and discarding key tropes.

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  • Gray, Erik. “Clough and His Discontents: Amours De Voyage and the English Hexameter.” Literary Imagination 6.2 (2004): 195–210.

    DOI: 10.1093/litimag/6.2.195Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Links the “opposing impulses” in Claude’s mentality to the poem’s meter, in keeping not just with the “dual nature of the English dactylic hexameter” but with the duality of all metrical forms. Acute and subtle close reading within the context of intellectual and literary history.

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  • Markovits, Stefanie. “Arthur Hugh Clough, Amours de Voyage, and the Victorian Crisis of Action.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 55 (2001): 445–478.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncl.2001.55.4.445Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Detailed, richly contextualized study linking the poem’s “struggles with genre” to its “concern with issues of action.” Argues that Clough’s troubled attitude toward active commitment influences the poem’s shape and tone. Reprinted in Stefanie Markovits, The Crisis of Action in Nineteenth-Century English Literature (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2006), pp. 47–86.

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  • Mermin, Dorothy. “Clough and Meredith.” In The Audience in the Poem: Five Victorian Poets. By Dorothy Mermin, 109–126. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1983.

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    This chapter considers Amours in relation to the dramatic monologue, interpreting the poetic voice in relation to dramatized listener–speaker interaction.

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  • Scott, Patrick G., ed. Amours de Voyage. St. Lucia, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 1974.

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    Excellent, if now hard-to-find, critical edition. Useful introduction discusses Clough as the “poet of tourism,” and explores the relationship between Clough’s Roman letters and journals, and his revisions to the poem. Includes detailed explanatory and textual notes, and brief appendices from the journals.

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  • Slinn, E. Warwick. “Fact and the Factitious in Amours de Voyage.” In The Discourse of Self in Victorian Poetry. By E. Warwick Slinn, 90–118. London: Macmillan, 1991.

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    Extends Goode 1969 in emphasizing the open, exploratory, and ironic character and poem and protagonist. Views Claude’s identity as constantly transforming, and thus his letters as the “production of a self-conscious and factitious subject-in-process.” Includes a distinctive discussion of the passages in elegiac meter.

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Dipsychus and the Spirit

This work was first posthumously published in censored form in Clough 1865 and Clough 1869 (both cited under Primary Works). It was drafted in 1850 and 1851, and revised in 1854 (Phelan 1995b). Set in Venice where Dipsychus (meaning “double minded”) argues with the Spirit (earlier named “Faustulus” [little Faust] and “Mephistopheles”). Dipsychus takes up a phrase from “Easter Day,” “Christ is not risen”; in a godless world, what is the value of Christian (especially sexual) morality, and what are the pros and cons of accepting the world and acting in it? In counterpoint to his high-minded utterance is the Spirit’s mocking “realism.” Critics differ as to who has the best of the argument: Chorley 1962 argues that Clough’s sympathy lies with Dipsychus, but that the poem is nevertheless a despairing concession to the Spirit’s worldliness; Phelan 1995a includes a more nuanced version of this reading. Ryals 1963 argues that Clough takes neither character’s side. Grundy 1992 is an unusual full-length reappraisal. Kenny 1988 gives a detailed picture of the intellectual and religious context. Miyoshi 1965 is the most bullish, arguing for the Spirit’s bracingly therapeutic function.

  • Chorley, Katharine. Arthur Hugh Clough and the Uncommitted Mind: A Study of His Life and Poetry. Oxford: Clarendon, 1962.

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    Chapter 10 (pp. 245–266) sets the poem in the context of other writings from 1850 and 1851, and compares Clough’s art of deflation negatively with Byron’s. The poem is “the culmination of all [Clough’s] attempts to come to terms with himself and with the outside world through his poetry” (p. 247). Contrast with Ryals 1963.

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  • Grundy, Thomas Edward. “Arthur Hugh Clough’s Poetics of Uncertainty and the Victorians’ Appetite for Order.” PhD diss., University of Oregon, 1992.

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    Rare full-length study of Dipsychus as a dramatic and satirical work, reinterpreting its open-ended form as an integral part of Clough’s challenge to the Victorian ideology of certainty and order, and to Arnoldian poetics.

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  • Kenny, Anthony. God and Two Poets. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1988.

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    Comparative study of Clough and Gerard Manley Hopkins that views them as the two most significant 19th-century English religious poets (though the approach is philosophical more than literary-critical). Charts Clough’s development from Anglicanism through Unitarianism to agnosticism. See especially chapters 10–13.

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  • Miyoshi, M. “Clough’s Poems of Self-Irony.” Studies in English Literature 1500–1900 5.4 (1965): 691–704.

    DOI: 10.2307/449436Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sets the poem in the context of Clough’s use of self-irony in his poetry as a whole, as a means of dealing with the contradictions of his own divided nature; the multiple personae of Dipsychus are controlled by Clough’s formal and thematic design, and the outcome is a laughing-cure for the poet’s “spiritual malaise.”

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  • Phelan, J. P., ed. Clough: Selected Poems. New York: Longman, 1995a.

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    Section on Dipsychus in the introduction (pp. 19–25) sees the poem as “a more explicit, simplified, and even schematic examination of the problems discussed in Amours,” and concludes that it marks “the end of the productive stage of Clough’s argument with himself,” with victory—at a cost—going to the Spirit’s “clear-sightedness and maturity.”

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  • Phelan, J. P. “The Textual Evolution of Clough’s Dipsychus and the Spirit.” Review of English Studies 46: (1995b) 230–239.

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    Examination of the dating of the poem, demonstrating that several sections were written in 1854, not 1850, and arguing as a consequence that the argument between Dipsychus and the Spirit was shaped by Clough’s literary and intellectual interests as much as by his direct experience of Venice.

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  • Ryals, Clyde de L. “An Interpretation of Clough’s Dipsychus.” Victorian Poetry 1 (1963): 182–188.

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    Counters the notion that Dipsychus is “the most despairing of all Clough’s poems,” arguing that the poem is “a satire . . . on the author himself, on the anguish which he suffered in the process of growing up, and on Romantic metaphysics” (p. 183). Compares and contrasts the character of Dipsychus with that of Teufelsdröckh in Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus (1833–1834).

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Other Poems

Separate scholarly analysis of Clough’s shorter poems is rare, but see General Overviews and Biographies. Clough was a precocious but conventional schoolboy poet at Rugby; his serious poetic career began at Oxford. Ambarvalia (Clough and Burbidge 1849) contains poems from this period, including the Wordsworthian self-questioning sequence “Blank Misgivings” (for which Scott 2006 supplies a striking context) and the remarkable “Natura Naturans,” a meditation on erotic affinity (Dingley 2001). No other volume of shorter poems appeared in Clough’s lifetime. Clough also wrote narrative poems and dramatic monologues on biblical subjects; representative modern approaches include Dean and Johnson 1977 and Forsyth 1992. “The Struggle,” one of the most celebrated instances of the Victorian fascination with the life as battle metaphor, first appeared in Clough 1862 (cited under Primary Works). “The Latest Decalogue,” a satirical summary of modern unbelief, has an affinity with the mocking wit of the Spirit in Dipsychus and the Spirit. Mari Magno, the long poem Clough was working on as he neared death, is reappraised by Jeske 1983.

  • Clough, Arthur Hugh, and Thomas Burbidge. Ambarvalia. London: Chapman and Hall, 1849.

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    The first half of the volume publishes forty of Clough’s early poems, including “The Questioning Spirit,” “Qui Laborat, Orat,” and “Natura Naturans.” Many poems are printed without titles, such as “Why should I say I see the things I see now” and “Duty—that’s to say complying.”

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  • Dean, Paul, and Jacqueline Johnson. “‘Paradise Come Back’: Clough in Search of Eden.” Durham University Journal 38 (1977): 249–253.

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    Discusses Clough’s poems on biblical subjects, notably the posthumously published Adam and Eve, arguing that there is a tension between Clough’s vision of “dissolution and collapse” as a result of the Fall, and Adam’s “Nietzschean” affirmation of the self.

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  • Dingley, Robert. “Closely Observed Trains: The Railway Compartment as a Locus of Desire in Victorian Culture.” Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens 53 (2001): 111–139.

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    Locates Clough’s “Natura Naturans” (1849) in the context of new intimate spaces created by modern technology, such as the railway compartment.

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  • Forsyth, R. A. “Clough’s Adam and Eve—a Debating Tract for the Times.” Durham University Journal 53 (1992): 59–78.

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    Discusses the poem’s intellectual context, emphasizing its polemical engagement with contemporary religious debates, even though the poem itself remained unpublished.

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  • Jeske, Jeffrey M. “Clough’s Mari Magno: A Reassessment.” Victorian Poetry 20 (1983): 21–32.

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    Useful appraisal of the long poem Clough was writing shortly before his death, a series of marriage-related tales traditionally viewed as either a thwarted masterpiece or confirmation of his “intellectual suicide” after marriage.

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  • Netland, John. “The Problem of Metaphor in Arthur Hugh Clough’s ‘Epi-Strauss-ium.’” Victorians Institute Journal 23 (1995): 151–169.

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    An in-depth study of the uses of metaphor in Clough’s “little poem about Strauss,” which shows the poet’s early and positive response to developments in German biblical criticism.

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  • Scott, Patrick G. “Clough, Bankruptcy, and Disbelief: The Economic Background to ‘Blank Misgivings.’” Victorian Poetry 44.2 (2006): 123–134.

    DOI: 10.1353/vp.2006.0024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the poem in the light of Clough’s neglected knowledge of economic theory and practice, drawing on his father’s failed career in trade: “Clough’s doubts about faith and language, his doubts about himself, relate to his formative experience of economic insecurity” (p. 132).

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Prose

Clough wrote essays on religious, ethical, political, and literary topics, including “A Consideration of Objections against the Retrenchment Association at Oxford” (1847), an ethical pamphlet addressing undergraduates on the iniquities of the Irish potato famine. Clough’s only substantial prose production is a revision of a 17th-century translation of Plutarch that occupied him from 1852 through 1858, published as Plutarch’s Lives (Clough 1859). Studies of Clough’s prose have been hampered by the lack of complete editions of the essays or correspondence. Clough and Symonds 1869 suppressed the more radical earlier essays, and was not superseded until Trawick 1964 (also not complete). Gollin, et al. 1967 gives a fuller listing, and Adam Matthew Publications 2005 provides access to unpublished manuscript materials. Beatty 1926 is one of the first studies to take Clough’s prose seriously as literary work in its own right (as opposed to a mere vehicle for Clough’s thought). Greenberger 1970, based on an enlarged canon drawn from the manuscripts, is still the only monograph on Clough’s prose.

  • Adam Matthew Publications. Nineteenth Century Literary Manuscripts. Part 3: The Correspondence and Literary Manuscripts of Arthur Hugh Clough (1819–1861) from the Bodleian Library. Oxford: Adam Matthew Publications, 2005.

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    Microfilm of major Clough archive that includes Clough’s English essays written at Balliol College, Oxford, from 1837 to 1840, essays on social and literary topics, lectures on language and literature, his 1861 diary, and general correspondence of Clough and his wife and first editor, Blanche Clough.

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  • Beatty, J. M. Jr., “Arthur Hugh Clough as Revealed in His Prose.” South Atlantic Quarterly 25 (1926): 168–180.

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    Early argument claiming Clough’s essays as important works in their own right, fusing intellectual substance with stylistic good taste, balance, and intellectualism. Limited by its dependence on Clough 1869.

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  • Clough, Arthur Hugh. Plutarch’s Lives: The Translation Called Dryden’s Corrected from the Greek and Revised. 5 vols. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1859.

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    Clough’s revision of the “Dryden Translation” of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans was his only major prose work. Critics often view it as a work of labor rather than inspiration characteristic of the contented but poetically unproductive period of his marriage. Full text available online at Project Gutenberg.

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  • Clough, Blanche, and J. A. Symonds, eds. The Poems and Prose Remains. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1869.

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    Volume 1 includes eleven prose items, some incomplete (reprinted in Vol. 1 of Blanche Clough, ed., Prose Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough, 2 vols. [London: Macmillan, 1888], omitting Clough’s review of F. W. Newman’s The Soul). Primary source for Clough’s essays until Trawick 1964.

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  • Gollin, Richard M., Walter E.Houghton, and Michael Timko, eds. “Clough: A Descriptive Catalogue.” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 71 (1967): 55, 58, 71–92, 173–199.

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    Part 2 of the standard bibliography itemizes “The Prose of Clough,” including many prose pieces still in manuscript form. Revised as Arthur Hugh Clough: A Descriptive Catalogue—Poetry, Prose, Biography and Criticism (New York: New York Public Library, 1968).

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  • Greenberger, Evelyn Barish. Arthur Hugh Clough: The Growth of a Poet’s Mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970.

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    Study of the social and political assertion of Clough’s religious and political prose developed from the author’s 1967 PhD thesis, “The Morals of Intellect: A Study of Arthur Hugh Clough’s Political and Religious Prose, 1837–1853.” Uses unpublished and manuscript materials not in Trawick 1964.

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  • Mulhauser, F. L., ed. Clough, Arthur Hugh: Correspondence. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1957.

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    Prints 571 letters, complete or in part, and includes a “Catalogue of All Known Letters” (totaling 1,311 items). Fullest modern edition, but far from complete. Omits a number of significant letters included in posthumous works edited by Blanche Clough (see Primary Works).

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  • Trawick, Buckner B., ed. Selected Prose Works of Arthur Hugh Clough. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1964.

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    Still the fullest edition of Clough’s prose, but has been criticized for errors (see Greenberger 1970). Prints thirty-three items, ten previously unpublished. Groups essays according to topics that include language and literature, economics and politics, religion and ethics, and miscellaneous others.

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Rugby and the Arnolds

Clough’s time at Rugby school was formative. Headmaster Dr. Thomas Arnold (b. 1795–d. 1842) was dedicated to making the rough public school a Christian school producing Christian gentlemen. Clough worked hard to live up to Arnold’s ideals and became an exemplary all-rounder characterized by earnestness and a highly developed conscience. He formed life-long friendships with the headmaster’s sons Matthew Arnold (b. 1822–d. 1888) and Thomas (“Tom”) Arnold (b. 1823–d. 1900). Clough’s development in life and reception after death were for a long time conceived of as dominated by the Arnolds, father then son. See Strachey 2009 (cited under Influence and Reception) on “Dr. Arnold” for an influential early-20th-century view of the psychological damage caused by the charismatic headmaster’s idealism. Woodward 1954 discusses the Rugby context, laying the blame instead on Clough’s attachment to his mother, while Tillotson 1953 explores the shared culture of Rugby and Oxford. Clough was for a long time overshadowed by his more prominent friend, Matthew Arnold, through Arnold’s two poetic tributes: “The Scholar-Gipsy” (1853) and “Thyrsis” (1865) (see Arnold 1979, cited under Influence and Reception). Lowry 1932 makes an early challenge to this model, and modern critical studies including DeLaura 1969 and Deering 1978 seek to differentiate Clough’s poetics from Arnold’s, often through close comparison of shared tropes and ideas (Johnson 1956), in order to reclaim Clough’s originality and prescience (Bristow 1995). Kline 2007 contextualizes the two authors in relation to Victorian philological debates, and Kline 2004 extends the religious context of the Clough-Arnold relationship to the Tractarian influence of John Keble.

  • Bristow, Joseph. “‘Love, let us be true to one another’: Matthew Arnold, Arthur Hugh Clough, and ‘our Aqueous Ages.’” Literature and History 4.1 (1995): 27–49.

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    Discusses water in Clough and Arnold as figuring mid-Victorian sexual and social disruptions, especially same-sex relations. Distinguishes a recuperative hydraulic energy associated with passion in Clough.

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  • Deering, Dorothy. “The Antithetical Poetics of Arnold and Clough.” Victorian Poetry 16 (1978): 16–31.

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    Views Arnold’s traditional poetics and Clough’s modern poetics as representing the two poles of Victorian critical debate. Firmly identifies Clough as a modernist.

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  • DeLaura, David D. “Arnold, Clough, Dr. Arnold, and ‘Thyrsis.’” Victorian Poetry 7 (1969): 191–202.

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    Uses Matthew Arnold’s account of reading Clough’s Letters and Remains in 1865 to reinterpret Arnold’s presentation of Clough in “Thyrsis,” and the fondness and frictions of their friendship.

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  • Johnson, Wendell Stacey. “Parallel Imagery in Arnold and Clough.” English Studies 37.1 (1956): 1–11.

    DOI: 10.1080/00138385608596966Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Good introductory essay on the question of mutual influence in the poetry of Arnold and Clough.

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  • Kline, Daniel. “‘For rigorous teachers seized my youth’: Thomas Arnold, John Keble and the Juvenilia of A.H. Clough and Matthew Arnold.” In John Keble in Context. Edited by Kirstie Blair, 143–159. London: Anthem, 2004.

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    Comparative study of Clough and Matthew Arnold’s responses to the powerful theological influences of Dr. Arnold’s muscular Christianity and John Keble’s Tractarianism.

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  • Kline, Daniel S. “Educated Speech: Victorian Philology and Literary Languages of Matthew Arnold and Arthur Hugh Clough.” PhD diss., Ohio State University, 2007.

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    Reappraises both poets in relation to Victorian philology’s central tenet that language indexes cultural health, and locates their changing views of language in relationship to the Victorian educational establishment (see also Timko 1991, cited under Oxford and Religion).

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  • Lowry, Howard Foster. The Letters of Matthew Arnold to Arthur Hugh Clough. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1932.

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    Important introduction makes significant corrections to earlier views of the Arnold-Clough relationship, and gives one of the earliest critical arguments for Clough’s shaping influence on Arnold.

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  • Tillotson, Kathleen. “Rugby 1850: Arnold, Clough, Walrond, and In Memoriam.” Review of English Studies 4.14 (April 1953): 122–140.

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    Uses a fictionalized eyewitness account of Arnold and Clough first reading Tennyson’s In Memoriam in 1850, and their mutual friend Theodore Walrond, to explore cultural and intellectual relations between Rugby school and Oxford University.

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  • Woodward, Frances J. The Doctor’s Disciples: A Study of Four Pupils of Arnold of Rugby: Stanley, Gell, Clough, William Arnold. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954.

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    Chapter 3 (pp. 127–179) is a detailed introduction to Dr. Thomas Arnold’s influence on Clough’s intellectual and spiritual evolution at Rugby school and beyond, which argues that Clough’s later problems were less caused by Arnoldism than his excessive attachment to his mother.

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Oxford and Religion

Clough has long been defined by his time as a brilliant scholarship student at Balliol College (1838–1842), and as a tutor and fellow at Oriel (1842–1848). Most general overviews and biographies include at least one chapter on how he was pulled first toward the devotional and ascetic side of John Henry Newman’s High Church Tractarianism, through his tutor W. G. Ward, and then toward the interest in German biblical scholarship, which led to the agnosticism that ended his Oxford career (Kenny 2005). Shaw 2002 sets the interaction of Clough’s poetics and spiritual struggles in a wider literary and theological context. See Kenny 1990 for Clough’s own perspective on the resulting intellectual and spiritual struggles. Clough’s Oxford career began the myth of his “failure”; Clough so viewed his second class degree and several attempts before passing the Oriel examinations. Clough’s habit of taking undergraduates on reading parties to Scotland in the summer vacations is reimagined in The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich, and Timko 1991 approaches this pedagogical angle in relation to university reform. Kenny 1988 sheds distinctive light on the Oxford context through comparison with the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Clough’s Modernity

Clough is often identified as the most “modern” of the Victorian poets (see Deering 1978, cited under Rugby and the Arnolds), and scholars regard Amours de Voyage as his most modern poem (see Goode 1969, cited under Amours De Voyage). The conjunction of Clough’s formal experimentation in relation to genre and metrics, and his engagement with religious and intellectual controversies has stimulated recent critics interested in tracing debates about modernity back through the Victorian period. Armstrong 1993 and Wainer 2005 reexamine Clough in the context of radical politics and critiques of class and social relations. Booth 2000 and Maynard 1993 focus on Clough’s challenge to contemporary morality and a culture of prudery, and Sharpe 1985 anticipates Maynard in scrutinizing Clough’s critique of the city. Dingley 2001 analyzes the association of sexuality with a representative new space of modernity, the railway carriage.

  • Armstrong, Isobel. “The Radical in Crisis: Clough.” In Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics. By Isobel Armstrong, 175–200. London: Routledge, 1993.

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    Wide-ranging and stimulating account of Clough’s radical politics and poetics in the Bothie and Amours, relating his work to contemporary Chartist poetry.

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  • Booth, Howard J. “Male Sexuality, Religion, and the Problem of Action: John Addington Symonds on Arthur Hugh Clough.” In Masculinity and Spirituality in Victorian Culture. Edited by Andrew Bradstock, Sean Gill, Sue Morgan, and Anne Hogan. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230294165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses Symonds’s interest in Clough in letters and his work assisting Blanche Clough in editing Clough (see Clough 1869, cited under Primary Works), focusing on their shared concerns of skepticism, sexual mores, and vocation, and in particular Dipsychus as a model of “double-mindedness” in relation to religion, sexuality, and masculinity.

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  • Dingley, Robert. “Closely Observed Trains: The Railway Compartment as a Locus of Desire in Victorian Culture.” Cahiers Victoriens et Edouardiens 53 (2001): 111–139.

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    Detailed reading of Clough’s short poem “Natura Naturans” (1849), contextualizing its meditation on the naturalness of sexual instinct in relation to newly eroticized spaces of modernity, such as the railway compartment.

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  • Maynard, John. “From Cloister to ‘Great Sinful Streets’: Arthur Hugh Clough and the Victorian ‘Question of Sex,’” In Victorian Discourses on Sexuality and Religion. By John Maynard, 39–84. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

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    Argues that Italy’s sensuous qualities provoked Clough to conduct a serious interrogation of Victorian conventional morality. Explores the theme of prostitution in stimulating revisionary interpretations of “Easter Day” and Dipsychus, correcting earlier critics’ views of Clough’s lack of prudishness by emphasizing the role of repression.

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  • Sharpe, William. “Confronting the Unpoetical City: Arnold, Clough, and Baudelaire.” Arnoldian 13.1 (1985): 10–22.

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    Builds on earlier discussions of Clough’s critique of Wordsworth’s detachment from politics and urbanization, in invoking Walter Benjamin’s urban theory to characterize Clough as an urban poet.

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  • Wainer, Stephanie Kuduk. Republican Politics and English Poetry, 1789–1874. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    Identifies Clough as a major poet writing in a tradition of republican poetry and poetics that is not so much didactic as using form and language indirectly to explore republican ideas and sentiments.

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Influence and Reception

The three posthumous editions published by the poet’s widow in the 1860s (see Primary Works) helped establish Clough’s late Victorian reputation and popularity, and his shorter poems were well known. Clough’s critical standing remained lower than Arnold’s, however, and Arnold’s elegy “Thyrsis” contributed to the view of Clough as a faint-hearted “despairer” (Arnold 1979). A critical reaction set in during the 1890s (see the essays by Swinburne and Saintsbury in Thorpe 1972), and Strachey’s cruel portrait of Clough’s subordination to a powerful Florence Nightingale (Strachey 2009) prepared the ground for Clough’s disappearance during the general demotion of major Victorian poets by the new criticism. Some popular revival can be traced to Winston Churchill quoting “The Struggle” in a 1941 pro-American wartime broadcast. Clough’s doubt and questioning meant he was first in line for critical recuperation during the invention of Victorian studies in the late 1950s. The first modern edition (1951) stimulated a wave of book-length critical studies and biographies in the 1960s and 1970s (see Biographies and General Overviews), consolidated by an invaluable Critical Heritage collection (Thorpe 1972) and the standard edition, Mulhauser 1974 (cited under Primary Works). Clough’s works were not very amenable to the growth of critical and cultural theory after the 1980s, but are enjoying a modest revival (Ryan 2003), partly due to the rise of literary tourism studies (Ulin 1999, cited under The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich; Cronin 2008). Clough criticism is not regularly featured in the journal Victorian Poetry’s annual Guide to the Year’s Work, but see Barish 1983 and Scott 1993 for occasional updates on recent scholarship.

  • Arnold, Matthew. “‘The Scholar-Gipsy’ and ‘Thyrsis.’” In The Poems of Matthew Arnold. 2d ed. Edited by Kenneth Allott and Miriam Allott, 355–369 and 537–550. London and New York: Longman, 1979.

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    Arnold’s two influential poetic tributes to Clough in the standard Longman Annotated English Poets edition. “The Scholar-Gipsy” (1853) imagines Clough as a “shepherd” on a spiritual quest. A major Victorian achievement in pastoral elegy, “Thyrsis” (1866) famously characterizes Clough as a “Too quick despairer.”

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  • Barish, Evelyn. “The Year’s Work in Victorian Poetry, 1982: Arthur Hugh Clough.” Victorian Poetry 16 (1983): 282–285.

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    Summarizes significant contributions to Clough studies from 1979 to 1982, noting a growing critical consensus on the centrality of juxtaposition and opposition in Clough’s aesthetics.

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  • Cronin, Richard. “Byron, Clough, and the Grounding of Victorian Poetry.” Romanticism 14.1 (2008): 13–24.

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    Lively account of Byron’s influence on Clough’s engagement with tourism and tourist poetry.

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  • Ryan, Vanessa. “Why Clough? Why Now?” Victorian Poetry 41.4 (2003): 504–512.

    DOI: 10.1353/vp.2004.0022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses reasons for a 21st-century critical revival of Clough, presenting him as a case study for the compatibility of cultural criticism and formalism.

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  • Scott, Patrick G., assisted by Daniel Robinson. “Arthur Hugh Clough: 1983–92.” Victorian Poetry 31.1 (1993): 293–303.

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    Summarizes significant contributions to Clough studies from 1983 to 1992, noting the impact of selections in Christopher Ricks’s New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987) and selected editions such as McCue 1991 (cited under Primary Works).

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  • Strachey, Lytton. Eminent Victorians. Edited by John Sutherland. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Clough makes a cameo appearance in three out of four of Strachey’s satirical biographies as a representative Victorian who lost his faith. Strachey’s portrait of Clough as psychologically damaged by the forceful personalities of Dr. Arnold and Florence Nightingale is vivid, but had a detrimental effect on the poet’s critical reputation. Originally published in 1918 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons).

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  • Thorpe, Michael, ed. Clough: The Critical Heritage. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1972.

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    Invaluable compilation of contemporary reviews and reception, with an introductory survey of critical responses to 1970 (pp.1–27). Includes sections on the Bothie, Ambarvalia, obituary tributes, Letters and Remains of Arthur Hugh Clough (1865), The Poems and Prose Remains (1869), plus “Later Estimates (to 1920).”

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LAST MODIFIED: 03/02/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199799558-0016

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