In 1870 he published a volume of criticism, The Poetry of the Period, which was again conceived in a spirit of satirical invective, and attacked Tennyson, Browning, Matthew Arnold and Swinburne in no half-hearted fashion.
In this direction lies Chapelizod, said to take its name from that Iseult whom Tennyson, Matthew Arnold and Wagner made a heroine; beyond which is Lucan connected with the city by tramway.
None the less, in the issue, it is the very element which goes beyond an appeal to facts - it is the depth and purity of Butler's moral nature - which fascinates the reader, and wins praise from Matthew Arnold or Goldwin Smith or even Leslie Stephen.
Her nights were spent in writing, which seemed in her case a relaxation from the real business of the day, playing with her grandchildren, gardening, conversing with her visitors - it might be Balzac or Dumas, or Octave Feuillet or Matthew Arnold - or writing long letters to Sainte-Beuve and Flaubert.
Apart from the Churches, men like Carlyle and Matthew Arnold - with whom he had much in common - influenced him; while Herbert Spencer in England and Comte in France afforded the antithesis needful to the dialectical development of his own views.