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Culture and Anarchy
Culture and Anarchy

First published in 1869, Culture and Anarchy debates questions about the nature of culture and society. Arnold asks what good culture can do and how it can best be disseminated. This edition reproduces the first book version and enables readers to appreciate its historical context and its continued importance.


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via Andrew Francis on 5/28/2019, 12:16:18 PM

authored-by Matthew Arnold on 5/28/2019, 12:16:18 PM

references Jules Michelet on 5/28/2019, 12:18:25 PM

excerpt The sectary's *eigene grosse Erfindugen*, as Goethe calls them,-- the precious discoveries of himself and his friends for expressing the inexpressible and defining the undefinable in peculiar forms of their own, cannot but, as he has voluntarily chosen them, and is personally responsible for them, fill his whole mind. He is zealous to do battle for them and affirm them; for in affirm them he affirms himself, and that is what we all like. XX on 5/28/2019, 12:34:13 PM

excerpt But now the iron force of adhesion to the old routine,--social, political, religious,-- has wonderfully yielded; the iron force of the exclusion of all which is new has wonderfully yielded. The danger now is, not that people should obstinately refuse to allow anything but their old routine to pass for reason and the will of God, but either that they should allow some novelty or other to pass for these too easily, or else that they should underrate the importance of them altogether, and think it enough to follow action for its own sake... 9 on 5/28/2019, 12:53:33 PM

excerpt Faith in machinery is, I said, our besetting danger; often in machinery most absurdly disproportioned to the end which this machinery, if it is to do any good at all, is to serve; but always in machinery, as if it had a value in and for itself. What is freedom but machinery? What is population but machinery? What is coal but machinery? What are railroads but machinery? What is wealth but machinery? What are, even, religious organizations but machinery? Now almost every voice in England is accustomed to speak of these things as if they were precious ends in themselves, and therefore had some of the characters of perfection indisputably joined to them. 14 on 5/28/2019, 1:00:20 PM

excerpt From the moment of reading that, I am delivered from the bondage of Benthem! The fanaticism of his adherants can touch me no longer. I feel the inadequacy of his mind and ideas for supplying the rule of human society, for perfection. 39 on 5/28/2019, 1:16:16 PM

excerpt [Culture] seeks to do away with classes; to make the best that has been thought and known in the world current everywhere; to make all men live in an atmosphere of sweetness and light, where they may use ideas, as it uses them itself, freely,-- nourished, and not bound by them. 42 on 5/28/2019, 1:20:25 PM

excerpt ... the men of culture are the true apostles of equality. The great men of culture are those who have a passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their time; who have labored to divest knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanize it, to make it efficient outside of the clique of the cultivated and learned, yet still remain the *best* knowledge and thought of the time, and a true source, therefore, of sweetness and light. 42 on 5/28/2019, 1:25:07 PM

excerpt When I began to speak of culture, I insisted on our bondage to machinery, on our proneness to value machinery as an end in itselfm without looking beyond it ro rhe end for which alone, in truth, it is valuable. Freedom, I said, was one of thise things which we thus worshipped in itself, without enough regarding the ends for which freedom is to be desired. 47 on 5/28/2019, 1:29:43 PM

excerpt The modern spirit has now almost entirely dissolved those habits, and the anarchical tendency of our worship of freedom in and for itself, of our superstitious faith, as I say, in machinery, is becoming very manifest. 50 on 5/28/2019, 1:33:49 PM

excerpt Having, as I say, at the bottom of our English hearts a very strong belief in freedom, and a very weak belief in right reason, we are soon silenced when a man pleads the prime right to do as he likes... 53 on 5/28/2019, 1:36:30 PM

references Thomas Carlyle on 5/28/2019, 1:38:44 PM

excerpt We fix upon some object, which in this case is the production of wealth, and the increase of manufactures, population, and commerce through free-trade as a kind of one thing needful, or end in itself; and then we pursue it staunchly and mechanically, not to see how it is related to the whole intelligible law of things and to full human perfection, or to treat it as a piece of machinery, of varying value as its relation to the intelligible law of things vary, which it really is. 200 on 5/28/2019, 1:52:02 PM

excerpt If we look at the world outside us we find a disquieting absence of sure authority. We discover that only in right reason can we get a sure source of authority; and culture brings us towards right reason. 164 on 5/28/2019, 2:02:39 PM

excerpt But what we are concerned for is the thing, not the name; and the thing, call it by what name we will, is simply the enabling ourselves, by getting to know, whether through reading, observing or thinking, the best that can at present be known in the world, to come as near as we can to a firm intelligible law of things, and thus a to get a basis for a less confused action and a more complete perfection than we have at present. 165 on 5/28/2019, 2:05:11 PM

excerpt In all directions our habitual caused of action seem to be losing efficaciousness, credit and control, both with others and even with ourselves. Everywhere we see the beginnings of confusion, and want a clue to some sound order and authority. This we can only get by going back upon the actual instincts and fources which rule our life, seeing them as they really are, connecting them with other instincts and forces, and enlarging our whole view and rule of life. 140 on 5/28/2019, 2:11:00 PM

references Sweetness and light on 5/29/2019, 12:55:39 PM

excerpt The whole scope of the essay is to recommend culture as the great help out of our present difficulties; culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world; and through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of following them mechanically. 2 on 6/17/2019, 7:04:41 PM

excerpt Culture looks beyond machinery, culture hates hatred; culture has one great passion, the passion for sweetness and light. 23 on 6/17/2019, 7:12:19 PM

excerpt This is the social idea; and the men of culture are the true apostles of equality. The great men of culture are those who have had a passion for diffusing, for making prevail, for carrying from one end of society to the other, the best knowledge, the best ideas of their time; who have laboured to divest knowledge of all that was harsh, uncouth, difficult, abstract, professional, exclusive; to humanise it, to make it efficient outside the clique of the cultivated and learned, yet still remaining the best knowledge and thought of the time, and a true source, therefore, of sweetness and light. 23 on 6/17/2019, 7:13:09 PM

references Instrumental and value on 6/30/2019, 8:16:36 PM


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