In 1841, he won an open scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. His father died suddenly of heart disease in 1842, and Fox How became his family's permanent residence.During his residence at Oxford, his friendship became stronger with Arthur Hugh Clough, another Rugby old boy who had been one of his father's favourites. Arnold's poem Cromwell won the 1843 Newdigate prize.
William Wordsworth was a neighbour and close friend.
In 1836, Arnold was sent to Winchester College, but in 1837 he returned to Rugby School where he was enrolled in the fifth form.
He graduated in the following year with a 2nd class honours degree in Literae Humaniores (colloquially Greats).
In 1845, after a short interlude of teaching at Rugby, he was elected Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford.
In 1865, Arnold published Essays in Criticism: First Series.
Essays in Criticism: Second Series would not appear until November 1888, shortly after his untimely death.
He spent many dreary hours during the 1850s in railway waiting-rooms and small-town hotels, and longer hours still in listening to children reciting their lessons and parents reciting their grievances.
But that also meant that he, among the first generation of the railway age, travelled across more of England than any man of letters had ever done.
Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools.
He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator.