The Significance of a Personal and National Bildung and Its Nonlinear Nature: Charles Dickens’s Hard Times and Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy

Abstract

Derived from the German philosophy of Bildung, literary works that can be categorized as bildungsroman have mainly focused on the individuals’ maturation and education. This study aims to expand on this notion of Bildung and observe how an individual’s maturation and education ultimately leads to the expansion of such action of becoming on a nationwide scale. By analyzing the relationship between the two different cases of bildung in action in Charles Dickens’s Hard Times and Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, this study aims to analyze in depth the correlation between the individuals’ maturation and the national bildung. The study examines the concepts of individual and national bildungs present in Dickens’s Hard Times, both within the characters at play as well as the Victorian English society immediately following the Industrial Revolution period. Outside the literary and fictional realms, the study finds the notion of the two kinds of bildungs in Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy. By comparing the two observations, the study ultimately suggests that the two bildungs do not necessarily share a chronologically linear relationship between each other.

Keywords: Bildung, Character Development, Culture, Education, Maturation, Victorian Era


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 13-20 (Download PDF)

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