Culture and Anarchy (Oxford World's Classics)
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'The men of culture are the true apostles of equality.'
Matthew Arnold's famous series of essays, which were first published in book form under the title Culture and Anarchy in 1869, debate important questions about the nature of culture and society that are as relevant now as they have ever been. Arnold seeks to find out 'what culture really is, what good it can do, what is our own special need of it' in an age of rapid social change and increasing mechanization. He contrasts culture, 'the study of perfection', with anarchy, the mood of unrest and uncertainty that pervaded mid-Victorian England. How can individuals be educated, not indoctrinated, and what is the role of the state in disseminating 'sweetness and light'?
This edition reproduces the original book version and enables readers to appreciate its immediate historical context as well as the reasons for its continued importance today, in the face of the challenges of multi-culturalism and post-modernism.
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fact and brute force, and for business the Welsh needed to learn English, but an appreciation of the Welsh language as a historical form would provide an injection of spiritual –– indeed, ‘Greek’ –– power into English culture.39 This incorporative strategy, which sought to preserve a historical culture 36 M. Arnold, On the Study of Celtic Literature, Super, iii. –. 37 Letters, iv. –; . 38 M. Arnold, ‘Puritanism and the Church of England’, Super, vi. . 39 M. Arnold, On the
Testament or the Imitation, calls life a learning to die: Phaedo, . The understanding of Solomon: Kings : –; Proverbs : –. New Testament: Philippians : ; John : ; Galatians : ; Romans : . The moral virtues . . . are with Aristotle but the porch and access to the intellectual: Ethics . viii. That partaking of the divine life . . . Plato expressly denies to the man of practical virtue merely: Republic, end of book , –; cf. Phaedo, –. See also pp. , ,
human family is at variance with our strong individualism, our hatred of all limits to the unrestrained swing of the individual’s personality, our maxim of ‘every man for himself.’* The idea of perfection as an harmonious expansion of human nature is at variance with our want of flexibility, with our inaptitude for seeing more than one side of a thing, with our intense energetic absorption in the particular pursuit we happen to be following. So culture has a rough task to achieve in this country,
reforms may with time grow. At any rate, we ourselves must put up with our friends’ impatience, and with their reproaches against cultivated inaction, and must still decline to lend a hand to their practical operations, until we, for our own part at least, have grown a little clearer about the nature of real good, and have arrived nearer to a condition of mind out of which really fruitful and solid operations may spring. In the meanwhile, since our Liberal friends keep loudly and resolutely
were, the appointed frame and prepared vessel of our best self, and, for the future, our best self’s powerful, beneficent, and sacred expression and organ,––we are willing and resolved, even now, to strengthen against anarchy the trembling hands of our Barbarian Home Secretaries, and the feeble knees of our Philistine Alderman-Colonels; and to tell them, that it is not really in behalf of their own ordinary self that they are called to protect the Park railings, and to suppress the London roughs,