THE PURGING EFFECTS OF CULTURE- A SPECULATIVE ANALYSIS OF MATTHEW ARNOLD’S 'SWEETNESS AND LIGHT'
Culture, Jacobinism, Light, Religion, Sweetness
Culture and Anarchy is a notable sociopolitical essay of Matthew Arnold. He was motivated by his desire to correct
content provincialism and arrogance of the English society. In 1704 Jonathan Swift wrote of beauty and intelligence as two noblest of things, “sweetness and light.” In 1869 Matthew Arnold made Swift’s latter phrase- a touchstone of Victorian sensibility- as the title of the first chapter of his Culture and Anarchy. Arnold believes that culture should be sought out of curiosity- a liberal and intelligent eagerness about things of mind. According to him the place of curiosity is desire. It is desire that make somebody pursue. The work of desire is to see things as they are and if it is pursued by an intelligent person with an impartial understanding of mind, such curiosity leads us to real culture. .Culture is worthwhile because it reminds us of what’s important and renews our passion for “sweetness and light.” When true culture is achieved, true greatness occurs and social disparities will be destroyed.