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The Work of the Modern Language Association of America
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 December 2020
In one of his most characteristic essays Matthew Arnold has discussed the literary influence of academies. He reminds us that “In the bulk of the intellectual work of a nation which has no centre, no intellectual metropolis like an academy .... there is observable a note of provinciality.” This note of provinciality, he further says, is due to one or both of two causes: (1) To remoteness from a “centre of correct information;” and (2) to remoteness from a “ centre of correct taste.” Remoteness from a centre of correct information gives rise to provinciality of ideas; while remoteness from a centre of correct taste gives rise to provinciality of style. Arnold declares, for example, that Addison, though free from provinciality of style, is yet provincial in his ideas. He is not a moralist of the first rank, says Arnold, because “he has not the best ideas attainable in or about his time, and which were, so to speak, in the air then, to be seized by the finest spirits. . . . He is provincial by his matter, though not by his manner.”
- Research Article
- Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 1899
Address of the President of the Central Division of the Modern Language Association of America, at its Annual Meeting held at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb., December, 1898.