Society

Our Task of Remembrance

History is a strange book. From 1853 to 1856 the British and the French empires, allied with the Ottoman Turks, fought the Crimean War against the Russian empire of Tsar Nicholas. Matthew Arnold’s great poem “Dover Beach” was first formed in the early 1850s but not published until 1867. It is not “about the Crimean War” nor is it simply “about” the ancient Peloponnesian War that it is said to reference. But Arnold’s poem is about his present time, a sense of the age, and the “we” of the third-last line includes us easily in its scope. It ends:  Ah,…

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