John Arnold has lived in Melbourne for most of his life. He has worked as a librarian, bookseller and in various academic roles at the National Key Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University.
Arnold has been involved in research into the history of publishing in Australia for many years. He has published in the area, including Imagined City: Melbourne in the Mind of its Writers (1983), The Oxford Literary Guide to Australia (associate editor, 1987). He is General Editor with John Hay of The Bibliography of Australian Literature and was a long term collaborator on AustLit.
Arnold is also a member of the editorial committee of the History of the Book in Australia Project and co-editor of Volume Two, 1890-1945 of that work (2001). He is the son of Lurline Stuart (q.v.)