Culture and Anarchy: Landmarks in the History of Education

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 2, 1932 - Literary Collections - 241 pages
2 Reviews
Manifesting the special intelligence of a literary critic of original gifts, Culture and Anarchy is still a living classic. It is addressed to the flexible and the disinterested, to those who are not committed to the findings of their particular discipline, and it assumes in its reader a critical intelligence that will begin its work with the reader himself. Arnold employs a delicate and stringent irony in an examination of the society of his time: a rapidly expanding industrial society, just beginning to accustom itself to the changes in its institutions that the pace of its own development called for. Coming virtually at the end of the decade (1868) and immediately prior to W. E. Forster's Education Act, Culture and Anarchy phrases with a particular cogency the problems that find their centre in the questions: what kind of life do we think individuals in mass societies should be assisted to lead? How may we best ensure that the quality of their living is not impoverished? Arnold applies himself to the detail of his time: to the case of Mr Smith 'who feared he would come to poverty and be eternally lost', to the Reform agitation, to the commercial values that working people were encouraged to respect, and to the limitations of even the best Rationalist intelligence. The degree of local reference is therefore high, but John Dover Wilson's introduction and notes to this edition supply valuable assistance to a reader fresh to the period.
 

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Review: Culture and Anarchy

User Review  - Chris - Goodreads

Often-sluggish prose and repetitive arguments, but rich in irony and with occasional flashes of genius. A plea for greater hellenism in an era where hebraistic literalism was shaken by recent inquiry. A subtle critique of Victorian dogmas that does not merely substitute our own dogmas for them. Read full review

Review: Culture and Anarchy

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

I'm torn here. On one hand, I think the basic idea of culture as the process of self-perfection is grand, and I think Arnold's idea and direction are admirable; on the other, however, it seems that ... Read full review

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Contents

SWEETNESS AND LIGHT
43
DOING AS ONE LIKES
72
BARBARIANS PHILISTINES POPULACE
98
HEBRAISM AND HELLENISM
129
PORRO UNUM EST NECESSARIUM
145
OUR LIBERAL PRACTITIONERS
165
CONCLUSION
202
NOTES
213
BIBLIOGRAPHY
239

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About the author (1932)

Matthew Arnold, a noted poet, critic, and philosopher, was born in England on December 24, 1822 and educated at Oxford University. In 1851, he was appointed inspector of schools, a position he held until 1880. Arnold also served as a professor of poetry at Oxford, during which time he delivered many lectures that ultimately became essays. Arnold is considered a quintessential proponent of Victorian ideals. He argued for higher standards in literature and education and extolled classic virtues of manners, impersonality and unanimity. After writing several works of poetry, Arnold turned to criticism, authoring such works as On Translating Homer, Culture and Anarchy, and Essays in Criticism. In these and other works, he criticized the populace, especially the middle class, whom he branded as "philistines" for their degrading values. He greatly influenced both British and American criticism. In later life, he turned to religion. In works such as Literature and Dogma and God and the Bible, he explains his conservative philosophy and attempts to interpret the Bible as literature. Arnold died from heart failure on April 15, 1888 in Liverpool, England.

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