Culture and Anarchy

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A collection of essays by M. Arnold, published 1869. This work contains many of Arnold's central critical arguments.

The first chapter is devoted to his concept of culture as ‘sweetness and light’, a phrase adopted from Swift's The Battle of the Books; Arnold presents culture as the classical ideal of human perfection, rather than ‘a smattering of Greek and Latin’. Subsequent chapters set forward his definitions of Barbarians, Philistines, and the Populace, and contrast the spirit of Hebraism (as manifested in primitive Christianity and Protestantism) with that of Hellenism, with its aim of seeing ‘things as they really are’; both are important contributions to human development and should not be mutually exclusive.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Matthew Arnold (1822—1888) poet, writer, and inspector of schools

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