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Shaping BeliefCulture, Politics, and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Writing$
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Victoria Morgan and Clare Williams

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311369

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315688

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‘Scrupulously Empty Phrases’ and the Silent Work of Matthew Arnold: Belief in the Action of Writing

‘Scrupulously Empty Phrases’ and the Silent Work of Matthew Arnold: Belief in the Action of Writing

Chapter:
(p.209) 12. ‘Scrupulously Empty Phrases’ and the Silent Work of Matthew Arnold: Belief in the Action of Writing
Source:
Shaping Belief
Author(s):
Kate Campbell
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781846315688.003.0012

This chapter explores prevailing approaches to Arnoldian culture that interpret it as virtually a belief in itself and as something detached from society. It considers Matthew Arnold's dedication to praxis, in which he emphasises cultural production as a means of social transformation, and argues that culture is a fundamental medium of exchange not only for the spreading of ideas but also as an aesthetic field. In this sense, belief in culture meant belief in the possibility of socio–political transformation, with culture playing a key role in the articulation of intellectual and aesthetic forms of liberalism. The chapter also discusses Arnold's belief in writing as a form of action by analysing two of his works, ‘Democracy’ and Culture and Anarchy.

Keywords:   Matthew Arnold, cultural production, social transformation, culture, belief, liberalism, writing, action, Democracy, Culture and Anarchy

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