Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism (Including the Biography of the Author)

DigiCat, 16.12.2023 - 302 Seiten
"Culture and Anarchy" is Arnold's most famous piece of writing on culture which established his High Victorian cultural agenda and remained dominant in debate from the 1860s until the 1950s. Arnold's often quoted phrase "culture is the best which has been thought and said" comes from the Preface to Culture and Anarchy. The book contains most of the terms–culture, sweetness and light, Barbarian, Philistine, Hebraism, and many others–which are more associated with Arnold's work influence.

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Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) was a distinguished Victorian-era poet and cultural critic renowned for his intellectual prowess and profound influence on 19th-century literature. Son of the famous Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School, Arnold's upbringing was steeped in intellectual pursuit. After graduating from Balliol College, Oxford, he embarked on a career in education, which paralleled his endeavors in literary criticism and poetry. Perhaps best known for his seminal work 'Culture and Anarchy' (1869), Arnold explored the conflict between human perfectionism and social upheaval, prescribing culture as the antidote to society's ills. Through this text, he coined terms like 'Philistinism' to critique the prevailing materialistic values and 'Hebraism' to highlight rigor and obedience. His refined prose and incisive analysis of the societal fabric have left an indelible mark on the study of culture and social theory. Arnold's literary style, characterized by a blend of eloquence and moral profundity, infused his criticism and poetry with a distinct clarity and depth that resonated with Victorian sensibilities. He was also known for other works such as 'Essays in Criticism' and poems like 'Dover Beach', which reflect his contemplative nature and his preoccupation with the erosion of faith in an increasingly scientific era. Arnold's legacy lives on, as his writings continue to be a subject of scholarly interest and a touchstone for cultural studies.

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