Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold
Culture and Anarchy is a series of essays by Matthew Arnold. According to his view advanced in the book, "Culture is a study of perfection". His often quoted phrase "[culture is] the best which has been thought and said" comes from the Preface to Culture and Anarchy: The whole scope of the essay is to recommend culture as the great help out of our present difficulties; culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world, and, through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of following them mechanically. The book contains most of the terms - culture, sweetness and light, Barbarian, Philistine, Hebraism, and many others - which are more associated with Arnold's work influence.