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date: 19 September 2020

Culture and Anarchy 

Source:
The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature
Author(s):
Dinah BirchDinah Birch, Katy HooperKaty Hooper

A sequence of essays by Matthew *Arnold, published as a book in 1869. This work sets out Arnold's central arguments about the place in modern society of ‘culture’. Arnold laments the aggressively partisan attitudes of the landed ‘Barbarians’, the lower‐class ‘Populace’, and especially the ‘Philistine’ middle class, whose suspicion of state power, notably in the realm of education, he regards as dangerously self‐defeating. He accuses the Philistines of blind complacency and of overemphasizing the value of ‘Hebraism’ (essentially Protestant moral vigilance) at the expense of the equally vital tradition of ‘Hellenism’ (the Renaissance and Enlightenment cultivation of beauty and truth for their own sakes).... ...

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