Abstract

If 'Culture and Conduct', as T. S. Eliot claimed, made up the twin poles of Matthew Arnold's thought, then Arnold's notion of culture has been ceaselessly debated ever since he propounded it, but his conduct has been largely forgotten, dismissed as so much 'Victorian ballast', in Raymond Williams's phrase. Arnold opened Culture and Anarchy by declaring himself 'a Liberal tempered by experience, reflection, and renouncement', and this essay revisits the Arnoldian conception of conduct by focusing on 'renouncement' and demonstrating that it forms the basis of his philosophical pessimism and is the master key to his rhetorical style.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1471-6836
Print ISSN
0008-199X
Pages
pp. 307-327
Launched on MUSE
2009-11-18
Open Access
No
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