On the 22nd of June 2017, the University of Sussex is hosting a special edition of the BBC Radio 3 programme Free Thinking, which will mark the 150th anniversary of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy with a panel discussion in front of a live audience.
Arnold argued that modern life was producing a society of ‘Philistines’ who only cared for material possessions and hedonistic pleasure. As a medicine for this moral and spiritual degradation, Arnold prescribed ‘culture’, which he defined as ‘the best which has been thought and said in the world’, stored in Europe’s great literature, philosophy and history. By engaging with this heritage, he argued, humans could develop towards a higher state of mental and moral ‘perfection’.
The discussion, hosted by the writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet, will discuss the significance of Culture and Anarchy, and its legacy in ongoing arguments for the value of culture and the humanities.
The speakers on the panel will be:
Tiffany Jenkins (sociologist of heritage, author of Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of the Past Ended up in Museums, and Why They Should Stay There).
Simon Heffer (writer, author of High Minds: the Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain).
Stella Duffy (writer and co-director of the Fun Palaces campaign).
Will Abberley (lecturer in Victorian literature at Sussex).
The discussion will be followed by an audience Q & A.
Everyone is welcome to join us for this unique event. Please book your free place here.