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The Imagination in "The Vanity of Dogmatizing" and "The Scholar-Gipsy": Arnold's Reversal of Glanvill

David Moldstad
Victorian Poetry
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Summer, 1987), pp. 159-172
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40002092
Page Count: 14
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The Imagination in "The Vanity of Dogmatizing" and "The Scholar-Gipsy": Arnold's Reversal of Glanvill
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Abstract

In adapting the tale of the scholar-gypsy from Glanvill's "The Vanity of Dogmatizing," Arnold preserves the outline, but so alters the spirit of it in context that in important ways his poem is a counterstatement of Glanvill's original. In Glanvill, the scholar-gypsy is an anomaly within a general skeptical argument that treats the imagination as largely misleading. In Arnold, the scholar-gypsy is ideal and central, the imagination trustworthy, and the poet identifies with the errant scholar, not wholly, but as much as he honorably can. An understanding of Arnold's reshaping of Glanvill's tale sheds light on his particular commitment to the imagination at this time in his life.

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