Tom Arnold (literary scholar)

Last updated

Thomas Arnold
Born(1823-11-30)30 November 1823
Staines, Surrey, England
Died12 November 1900(1900-11-12) (aged 76)
Dublin, Ireland
OccupationSchool inspector, teacher, writer, academic
Period Victorian
Subject History of literature
Julia Sorell
(m. 18261888)
Josephine Maria Benison
(m. 1890)
Children9 (including Mary Augusta, William, Julia and Ethel)
Family tree Huxley-Arnold family tree.svg
Family tree

Thomas Arnold (30 November 1823 – 12 November 1900), also known as Thomas Arnold the Younger, was an English literary scholar.



He was the second son of Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School, and his wife Mary Penrose. He was the younger brother of the poet Matthew Arnold and older brother of author and colonial administrator William Delafield Arnold. After gaining a first class degree at University College, Oxford, Arnold grew discontented with Victorian Britain and attempted to take up farming in New Zealand. Failing to make a success of this career, in 1850 he moved to Tasmania, having been invited to take the job of Inspector of Schools by Governor William Denison. Soon after arriving in Hobart, he fell in love with and married Julia Sorell, granddaughter of former Governor William Sorell. [1] They had nine children (four of whom died young), among them: Ethel, who was a suffragist and child model; [1] Mary, who became a novelist under the name Mrs Humphry Ward; Julia, who married Leonard Huxley, the son of Thomas, and gave birth to Julian and Aldous; and William Thomas the journalist. [2] After being widowed in 1888, Arnold married for a second time in 1890, to Josephine Maria Benison, daughter of James Benison, Ballyconnell, County Cavan, Ireland.

While in Tasmania, Arnold converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, a move which angered his Protestant wife sufficiently to cause her to smash the windows of the chapel during his confirmation. The marriage was to be plagued by domestic strife over religious loyalty until Julia's death. At the time, Tasmania would not employ Catholics in senior civil service positions, and so in 1857 the family moved back to England. Arnold took a job teaching English literature at the Catholic University in Dublin, and wrote A Manual of English Literature (1862), which became a standard textbook. He resigned from the university in 1862 to become head of classics at The Oratory School in Birmingham. He left in 1865, when a letter he had written insisting that he would need a higher salary to continue at the school was interpreted by Cardinal Newman as a tendering of resignation.

Arnold opened a private tutoring establishment in Oxford, and began to attend Church of England services. He edited a number of important literary works, including Beowulf . In 1876 he stood for election to the Chair of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. Finding that some supporters were campaigning for him as the "Anglican" candidate, he felt this put him in a false position; on the eve of the election he announced his intention of being reconciled to the Catholic Church. It is unlikely that this had much effect on the election, but family tradition maintained that he had cast away a great opportunity for a scruple. After a period of financial hardship, in which his main occupation was editorial work for the Rolls Series, Arnold returned to Dublin in 1882 as professor of English literature at University College, teaching to the end of his life in 1900. One of his last students was James Joyce.


As author

As editor

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary Augusta Ward</span> British novelist (1851–1920)

Mary Augusta Ward was a British novelist who wrote under her married name as Mrs Humphry Ward. She worked to improve education for the poor setting up a Settlement in London and in 1908 she became the founding President of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richard Whately</span> English academic, philosopher, and theologian

Richard Whately was an English academic, rhetorician, logician, philosopher, economist, and theologian who also served as a reforming Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin. He was a leading Broad Churchman, a prolific and combative author over a wide range of topics, a flamboyant character, and one of the first reviewers to recognise the talents of Jane Austen.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Longman</span> British publishing company

Longman, also known as Pearson Longman, is a publishing company founded in London, England, in 1724 and is owned by Pearson PLC.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Arnold</span> English educator and historian (1795–1842)

Thomas Arnold was an English educator and historian. He was an early supporter of the Broad Church Anglican movement. As headmaster of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841, he introduced several reforms that were widely copied by other noted public schools. His reforms redefined standards of masculinity and achievement.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Henry Taylor (dramatist)</span> English playwright and poet

Sir Henry Taylor was an English dramatist and poet, Colonial Office official, and man of letters.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terence MacManus</span>

Terence Bellew MacManus was an Irish rebel who participated in the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. Sentenced to death for treason, he and several other participants were given commuted sentences in 1849 and transported for life to Van Diemen's Land in Australia. Three years later in 1852, MacManus escaped and emigrated to the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Sorell</span> British army officer and colonial administrator (1775–1848)

William Sorell was a soldier and third Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Musquito</span> Indigenous Australian bushranger and resistance leader

Musquito was an Indigenous Australian resistance leader, latterly based in Van Diemen's Land.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Davey (governor)</span> British marine and colonial administrator (1758–1823)

Thomas Davey was a New South Wales Marine and member of the First Fleet to New South Wales, who went on to become the second Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land.

Anthony Fenn Kemp was a soldier, merchant and a deputy judge advocate of the colony of New South Wales. He was one of the key participants in the "Rum Rebellion" that removed William Bligh, the appointed governor of the colony, and established an interim military government. He was later permitted to settle in Van Diemen's Land and became a successful merchant and farmer there.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Bramston (bishop)</span>

James Yorke Bramston was an English-born bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Vicar Apostolic of the London District from 1827 until his death in 1836.

Andrew Bent was a printer, publisher and newspaper proprietor, active in Australia. He established the first successful newspaper in Tasmania, was the first Australian newspaperman to print a newspaper free from government control, and the first Australian printer to be imprisoned for libel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Walter Shirley (priest and historian)</span>

Prof. Rev. Walter Waddington Shirley (1828–1866) was an English churchman and ecclesiastical historian.

William Thomas Arnold (1852–1904) was an Van Diemen's Land-born, English writer and journalist. He was a writer for The Manchester Guardian for seventeen years.

Elizabeth Whately was an English writer and the wife of Dr Richard Whately, Protestant Archbishop of Dublin. She wrote and edited a number of fictional, religious and educational works, although little of her writing appeared explicitly under her own name.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ethel Arnold</span>

Ethel Margaret Arnold was an English journalist, author, and lecturer on female suffrage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julia Huxley</span> British biographer and writer

JuliaHuxley was a British scholar. She founded Prior's Field School for girls, in Godalming, Surrey in 1902.

William Gellibrand (1765–1840) was a nonconformist preacher in England who left the United Kingdom at the end of 1823 for Van Diemen's Land. He settled there, with family including his son Joseph Tice Gellibrand, and ran a successful farm and commercial business.


  1. 1 2 Anne M. Sebba, 'Arnold, Ethel Margaret (1864/5–1930)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 6 Nov 2017
  2. Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Arnold, William Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). Vol. 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co.