This study defines the relationship between humanism and liberalism by comparing the two Victorian figures who were most concerned with the preservation of humanistic values in a free and democratic society: Matthew Arnold and John Stuart Mill. The book sets apart Arnold and Mill from their contemporaries and points out their similarities to one another in discussions of their theories of history, poetry, their celebration of the contemplative life and their willingness to welcome democracy. At the same time it examines the differences between the two men, which he uses to create a dialogue between humanism and liberalism on the question of how a high cultural ideal can be realized in democratic society.
1. Representative Man 2. The Noisy Conflict of Half-Truths 3. Fathers and Sons 4. A Smack of Hamlet 5. The Utility of Poetry 6. The Best That Is Known and Thought in the World 7. Culture and Liberty