"Culture and Anarchy" by Matthew Arnold

Culture and Anarchy Matthew Arnold, Samuel Lipman

Rethinking the Western Tradition
Publication date:
27 Apr 1994
Yale University Press
256 pages: 235 x 156mm

Culture and Anarchy is one of the central texts of the western intellectual tradition and has helped to shape thinking about the tasks and requirements of culture and civil society. The book is particularly relevant now, however, because it articulates many issues about culture and cultural politics that are being intensely debated today. In the past decade, Culture and Anarchy has been the subject of discussion by both the cultural right and the cultural left, beloved by the one because it asserts the primacy of reason over the anarchy of doing as one likes, and despised by the other because it champions what many liberals consider an elitist model of culture.

This new edition of Culture and Anarchy addresses this debate by including specially commissioned essays by Maurice Cowling, Gerald Graff, Samuel Lipman, and Steven Marcus that analyze Arnold's ideas from divergent political and literary perspectives and link them to contemporary concerns over the health of western culture in an increasingly multicultural society. The edition reprints for the first time in unaltered form the original 1869 text of Culture and Anarchy, providing valuable insight into Arnold's authorial intent; it is supplemented by a useful glossary of names, terms, and events and an introduction by Lipman that places Arnold in his time and discusses his initial reception and continuing importance today.

"A hundred and twenty-five years after it was first published, a new edition of Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy?the classic defense of high culture against the depredations of modernity?is still an event. This is a work that speaks to us directly, even intimately; a work that still sets a challenge."?John Gross, Commentary

"[A] useful new edition of Culture and Anarchy . . . an excellent way of exploring discursively this poetic insight, which many observers may find prophetic of our present-day cultural predicament."?Frederick Turner, National Review

"Arnold?s Culture and Anarchy seems a natural selection?the perfect ?lightening rod??for Yale?s interesting series, ?Rethinking the Western Tradition.?"?Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism