Scope and Contents
This collection consists of letters written to and from Sir Edwin Arnold. The letters to Arnold come from Hall Caine, Lord Brassey, Archbishop of Canterbury Benson, Lady Jeune, Dean Reynolds Hole, Augustin Daly, and Reverend Joseph Parker. The letters written by Arnold are addressed to E. Walford, Sir John Lubbock, the Baroness, Burdette, Coutts, and others. The letters refer to invitations and personal matters.
Permission to publish from the Sir Edwin Arnold correspondence must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Sir Edwin Arnold was born on 10 June 1832, in Gravesend, near London. During the last five decades of the nineteenth century, Arnold gained great popularity as an influential London journalist and best-selling poet of the Orient.
Arnold attended King's School in Rochester, King's College in London, and, University College, Oxford. In 1852 he won the Newdigate Prize in poetry for "The Feast of Belshazzar"; the following year, when he was twenty-one, his first book of verse, "Poems, Narrative and Lyrical," was published. In 1854 Arnold married Katharine Elizabeth Biddulph. After leaving Oxford, he taught for two years as a master at King Edward's School, in Birmingham. In 1856, he accepted the position of principal of the government Deccan College at Poona, in the state of Bombay, India. At the same time, he became a fellow of Bombay University, and for the extent of his six-year stay in India, he studied Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and Turkish.
As a consequence of his wife's illness (Katharine Arnold died in 1864) and the death of their young child, Arnold left India in 1861 to pursue a new career in England. He applied for a position with the London Daily Telegraph and was accepted. Thereafter, until his semiretirement in 1888, he served as news-, editorial-, and leader-writer, subeditor, and editor of the "Telegraph."
In 1879 Arnold published the long narrative poem, , a romantic rendering of the experiences and ideas of Siddârtha Gautama, later to become the Buddha. "The Light of Asia" achieved astounding commercial success in England and America and, in translation, throughout the world.
Arnold died on March 24, 1904.
Excerpted from: Kogan, B.R. (1985). Edwin Arnold. "Dictionary of Literary Biography: Victorian Poets After 1850," 35, 9-13.