Matthew Arnold's life was profoundly shaped by the influence of his father, Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School from 1828. One of Lytton Strachey's four “eminent Victorians”, Thomas Arnold was a leading education reformer in the nineteenth century, instilling in Rugby, where “anarchy tempered by despotism” had prevailed, an ethos of honour, moral rectitude and personal commitment. He developed the system of prefects, to set an example to younger pupils, and altered the curriculum to allow for the formation of character as well as the dry scholarship of the mind. He himself remained a remote figure in the school, however: “the Rugby schoolboy walked in a holy dread of some sudden manifestation of the sweeping gown, the …
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Wallace, Jennifer. "Matthew Arnold". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001
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