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T.S. Eliot and Matthew Arnold
In the recent modernism readings, I was assigned with the advanced reading. Within this reading it described the relationship between T.S. Eliot and Matthew Arnold. This relationship more or less being that T.S. Eliot wanted to surpass (and did surpass) Arnold by all means necessary, and I found this strange because in the academy it seems that Eliot and Arnold are decently close, I mean they're coworkers in this world we can assume, but I find this strange because I'd imagine they wouldn't like each other. Maybe I'm reading into this too much, but I'm curious what you guys think.
This is a good point that you brought up. I don't think they dislike each other but I think they definitely disagree on a lot of their views. I feel like surpassing people is in T.S Eliot's nature. Modernism is looking at past literature and building off it and trying to make it better. T.S Eliot said that historicism is filled with different loop holes and mistakes and I think modernism does its best to fix those. Professor Arnold is obviously upset with the idea of modernism because it challenges his historicism concept. But I wouldn't say they dislike each other because I do think they have respect for each other.
I think that we see a lot of authors have this idea of being close friends but adversaries. We have this idea in the high culture author that was Eliot and Arnold. I think that this is shown as a we maybe have different ideas but we are friends because we like to argue. Arnold was dead by Eliot's time so this friendship is one made by our gamemaster. Like I said we do see this is many academic settings they are both men of learning they are there for the thrill of the debate so I think you kinda have to see it that way. that they're intelligence brings them closer
@jacksonvon The point you make about them being friends despite arguing about ideas and beliefs is a topic I've been spending a lot of time looking at recently. I think the comparison you make here is a fair one. Even though they come from two different times we see how they could have friendly conflict but see each other's points of view.
I think this is interesting as well because after reading the few responses that are on here I see two different things that spark a question of my own. Persephone had stated near the end of their post on how they think that these two have opposing views but yet they are coworkers, and in some type of way having to work together. But Jackson brings up the idea on how they weren't alive at the same time and this is made up and part of the game. So I guess my question would have to be, does anyone know if there was a time they collaborated on a work? Even with opposing views and different lifetimes?
@alechayosh07 I'm not quite sure. This is an interesting inquiry, though. I feel like we have a lot of getting to know the professors to do still. As I watch more videos, I learn more of their tactics. Their responses are quite helpful.
As both were very prominent thinkers of their separate times, they have to have had mutual respect. In some of Elliot's early work, he has similar ideas to Arnold and even sites his work occasionally. Later Elliot begins to see himself as a superior intellect to Arnold and even begins to disparage and insult Arnold. While they started after Elliot begins to see himself as superior, he gains a bit of an ego and thinks of Arnold is a coward.
@xwing37 I read the modernism reading that compare Arnold and Eliot. In that it talked about in great length about how far Eliot went to bash Arnolds views. He wrote books on it. I think I disagree with you point that they dont dislike each other and rather I would say that Eliot did not like Arnold but Arnold was okay with Eliot. Yes, they do have some in common but not enough that they would be friendly with one another
I think that Eliot's views of himself surpassing Arnold are shown in the academy even though they are coworkers. The first thing that I think is most important to remember is that Eliot is the headmaster of the academy, Arnold is a professor. They work together, but Eliot is in a position of more power than Arnold is. The Oedipus Complex from Freud states that Eliot had to "kill" Arnold in order to surpass him, which he did in becoming the headmaster of the academy. Also, if you notice the way they interact with each other in the videos, Eliot speaks in a way that shows he views himself as wiser than Arnold. In the video with them both in Eliot's office with one of the students, I believe Arnold made some sort of argument against what the boy said (or something like that, I honestly don't really remember it that well), and Eliot kind of responded in a way that critiqued the thinking of both Arnold and the student. While these videos obviously aren't Eliot and Arnold actually interacting with each other, and they never did interact, they were created to reflect what an interaction between the two may have been like, so I think it's interesting to see Eliot's reaction to Arnold reflected in a simulated conversation.
@stella I agree that they had a mutual respect- to an extent. In the modernism reading, it talked about how Eliot was constantly bashing Arnold's opinions and views. Perhaps they were going at each other constantly because they have some sort of respect for each other, maybe even jealousy? I could be wrong, but it's just a thought.
@nicole I agree there were moments and scenes where it seemed as though there was some tension between the professors. But, both Arnold and Eliot seem to be very smart and insightful so there is a high level of respect. I think that this is why they constantly seem to be butting heads on clashing modernist and historicist views. It seems like they both know that each other can handle a debate and are worthy of each others viewpoints-- however different they may be. Again, them seeming so insightful, they know that a true rivalry would be unnecessary and their corrections actually benefit both sides; both seeing another point of view and bettering their own arguement.
@savhoisington I agree. I think that both these men have thought so indepthly about each of their theories, so the presence of another person like them must be exciting and challenging. Having a person who understands literature in the same way would make it a good challenge for each of their theories because they would be questioned in new and complicated ways that they would have to respond to which would make their argument much stronger. It can also be taken note of that these men agree on quite a few major points as well which would help them to get along and learn to see eye to eye on a few things.
@alechayosh07 Sorry I should've been more clear. When I saw coworkers I don't mean in real life, but in the academy. I imagine there is some type of reason Mr.Chisnell would've put Arnold as the first professor, given the opposing beliefs with the headmaster. I suppose even though their opinions are different, they can still get along, but I imagine the headmasters want to surpass him to the point of "killing" him like @nicole had mentioned would maybe put a dent in their relationship....
@snowyyeti, while this is true, I feel like they both have a competitive nature. While Eliot does bash his views I think that it is part of this competitive nature. Obviously they're going to disagree with each other and argue their points for as long as possible. But I still wouldn't consider them to dislike each other. I would almost consider them as competitive colleagues. Because in the long run they both have one goal and it's to better the understanding of how literature is read and interpreted.
@jacksonvon Hmmm this is a good point you bring up and i wouldn't have thought to think about it that way. I definitely would say I agree though. I think your point about "the thrill of the debate" was good. They both are very intelligent in their fields of study and even though arnold was dead far before Eliot's time I bet that he wishes they were around together to hash out their differences (using words of course).
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