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Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) was among the most important public intellectuals in 19th-century England. A renowned poet, he held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry and was a preeminent cultural critic of the time, one whose works continue to be read today. It is less well known that he was also an educational reformer with wide practical experience as an inspector of schools and author of official reports on foreign education. Arnold’s theory of education centers on the idea that “culture” must be regarded as the normative social value and that acquisition of culture must be extended across class divisions by state-supported schools. In the long debate between proponents of science-based and literature-centered education, Arnold was a leading voice for the value of the humanities. ...

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