Matthew Arnold was born at Laleham in Middlesex, the son of Dr. Thomas Arnold, the celebrated headmaster of Rugby School. He was educated at Winchester, Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford.
Throughout his career as an inspector of schools, during which he simultaneously held the post of professor of poetry at Oxford for ten years, he strove to improve educational standards in Victorian England by the study of Continental systems and by the application of sound, religiously-based principles.
His poetry was written in the early part of his career, between 1849 and 1867, and is classical and somewhat lugubrious in style. His most famous works include Dover Beach, Tristam and Iseult, Sohrab and Rustum, Thyrsis, an elegy on the death of his friend, Arthur Clough, and The Scholar-Gipsy.
A Life of Matthew Arnold