In his efforts to articulate confused feelings about religion, society, and sex, Arthur Hugh Clough spoke for his whole period, but since his ideas and forms of expression were unorthodox, he was not recognised as a great Victorian poet, until later writers had tuned us in to poetry like his, which attempts psychological realism, often uses the words and rhythms of ordinary speech, and allows contradictions to float unresolved in an element of wry humour. His poetry was largely the product of a brilliant mind and an over-active conscience. The former brought him all the prizes at Rugby, a scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, and a Fellowship at Oriel. The latter was mostly due to his mother, who taught him to feel like an outpost of English culture during his early childhood in America, and to Dr Arnold, his headmaster and proxy-father, who taught him to feel like an outpost of Christian morality in an otherwise wicked world.
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