Mapping Arnold in America

Mapping Matthew Arnold's North American Lecture Tour (1883-1884): An Interactive GIS Digital Humanities Project
Dr. Shannon N. Gilstrap (Associate Professor of English, University of North Georgia)
Woody Depew (GIS Student, University of North Georgia)

Right click this Interactive Map or (Mac users) click with two fingers this Interactive Map and "Open in a New Tab" to begin exploring Arnold's lecture tour. Click on each location to learn more about Arnold's time there and to see past and present pictures of the locations, as well as archival material.

"WE HAVE SEEN HIM ARRIVE! ... He has harsh features, supercilious manner, parts his hair down the middle, wears a single eyeglass and ill-fitting clothes." (Extract from American newspaper; qtd. Arnold The Letters of Matthew Arnold V.387)

From October 24, 1883, until March 8, 1884, Matthew Arnold engaged in a whirlwind lecture tour of the United States and Canada, venturing as far south as Richmond, VA, as far west as Wisconsin, and as far north as Quebec, Canada. At the instigation of no less a personage than Andrew Carnegie, Arnold joined in what Nicholas Murray describes as "the explosion in the 1860s of British lecture-tours, supported by specialist agencies" (A Life of Matthew Arnold 318). Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde had paved the way before Arnold came, and Arnold's works - poetry and prose, literary criticism and religious scholarship - were widely read and known by Americans and Canadians alike. Arnold therefore, unlike Wilde, had a lot to declare - including his genius - when he stepped off of the steamship Servia in New York with wife Fanny Lucy and daughter Lucy in tow.

The interactive map (created by Dr. Gilstrap) and four static maps (created by Woody Depew, using GIS mapping technology provided through the University of North Georgia) visually present Arnold's movements through North America. In the interactive map, by clicking on a location, a pop up window appears that establishes the dates and physical locations of each lecture, provides past and present location pictures & archival materials, presents the context of that lecture, and contains links providing more information about the location.

Static Map: Click here to view a static map.

Critical articles that use the maps and their contents to explore some facet of Arnold's first North American lecture tour:

New! "Tailing the Scholar Gypsy," an invited blog entry for the upcoming Placing the Author: Literary Tourism in the Long Ninteenth Century conference, held at the Elizabeth Gaskell house, is ready for reading.

Arnold on the Rails by Shannon N. Gilstrap

Some funding for this mapping project was provided by a Shott Scholarship from the University of North Georgia.

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Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold
A rare photograph of Arnold smiling