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Shaping the Self: Critical Perspective and Community in Sohrab and Rustum

Shaping the Self: Critical Perspective and Community in Sohrab and Rustum E. FRANCES FRAME To thee only God granted A heart ever new -- To all always open, To all always true. ("Parting," ll. 79-82)1 ost critics agree that Sohrab and Rustum marks a turn in Arnold's work from the exploration of the isolated self's emotional and existential plight, which characterizes such poems as "The Buried Life" and Empedocles on Etna, to what Arnold considered a more objective type of poetry. The poem is thus important because it is vital to understanding this major shift in Arnold's poetics. Further, Daniel Kline has persuasively demonstrated that Sohrab and Rustum is essential for comprehending Arnold's struggle with language.2 I would claim that the poem is crucial for another substantial reason. In Sohrab and Rustum Arnold first confronts not only the limits of language but also the major obstacle to human community with which he will battle throughout his prose: the individual's resistance to recognizing the boundaries of his own knowledge and power. In Sohrab and Rustum Arnold dramatizes this resistance to critical perspective, the role others play in helping the individual reach such perspective, and the cost of the struggle to attain it. Understanding how Arnold is working through these ideas http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Shaping the Self: Critical Perspective and Community in Sohrab and Rustum

Victorian Poetry , Volume 45 (1) – Mar 19, 2007

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 West Virginia University.
ISSN
1530-7190
Publisher site
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Abstract

E. FRANCES FRAME To thee only God granted A heart ever new -- To all always open, To all always true. ("Parting," ll. 79-82)1 ost critics agree that Sohrab and Rustum marks a turn in Arnold's work from the exploration of the isolated self's emotional and existential plight, which characterizes such poems as "The Buried Life" and Empedocles on Etna, to what Arnold considered a more objective type of poetry. The poem is thus important because it is vital to understanding this major shift in Arnold's poetics. Further, Daniel Kline has persuasively demonstrated that Sohrab and Rustum is essential for comprehending Arnold's struggle with language.2 I would claim that the poem is crucial for another substantial reason. In Sohrab and Rustum Arnold first confronts not only the limits of language but also the major obstacle to human community with which he will battle throughout his prose: the individual's resistance to recognizing the boundaries of his own knowledge and power. In Sohrab and Rustum Arnold dramatizes this resistance to critical perspective, the role others play in helping the individual reach such perspective, and the cost of the struggle to attain it. Understanding how Arnold is working through these ideas

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Mar 19, 2007

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