Culture and Literature
Culture and Literature

Culture and Literature

Culture is always a contentious topic, and grasping it is like unearthing a deep-sea pearl. It is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group in society. People acquire savoir-faire about culture from their surroundings by observing and implementing it in their day-to-day behavior. Culture enhances erudition in a specific group of people, encompassing language, religion, social habits, music, and arts. Nobody is born with culture; instead, they learn from their society.

Culture aids in the differentiation of people of a group from others based on their practices, beliefs, and tradition. People acquire culture being part of society. Transmission of culture takes place due to the learning habit of the person. Culture can be modified or invented for the welfare of human beings. Culture affects human lives as well as their values. Culture provides ethical values, justified behavior, dress code familiar to a group of people and teaches the norms to live in the society. Matthew Arnold said culture is a study of perfection in his famous work Culture and Anarchy. He said culture is economically and socially beneficial for human beings as it escalates the living standards of life and proliferates well-being for both individuals and society. He defined authentic culture in Culture and Anarchy.

According to Arnold, culture can be attained through acquiring the best knowledge. The opening chapter of Mathew Arnold’s book Culture and Anarchy contains Jonathan Swift’s famous phrase sweetness and light. He defined sweetness as a sense of beauty and light as active intelligence. Arnold divided the society into three classes Barbarians (they belong to aristocratic people, concerned with privilege and enjoyment), Philistines (they belong to middle-class people, money-making, atheists), Populace (poor people, violent for prejudice). Raymond Williams analyzed culture into three levels: ideal, documentary, and social. Perfect refers to values in life, the documentary is the structure of analytical work, and social denotes a particular manner of existence.



Ms. Neelam Sharma

Assistant Professor, Department of English

Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth


June 20, 2023

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