Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) is often numbered among the greatest poets of the Victorian era. He himself claimed in 1869 that
"My poems represent, on the whole, the main movement of mind of the last quarter of a century"
Critics often agree with Arnold's self-assessment and prize his poetry for its record of the religious and philosophical crises of the self in the Victorian period.
His poem "Dover Beach" plays a central role in Ian McEwan's book Saturday.