"British and American intellectuals began to formulate ideas about so-called great books from the mid-1800s to 1920. English critic Matthew Arnold's writings served as the fountainhead of ideas about the 'best' books. But rather than simply buttress the opinions of highbrow cultural elites, he also inspired those with dreams of a democratized culture. From Arnold and from efforts such as Sir John Lubbock's '100 Best Books,' the pursuit of the 'best' in books spread in both Victorian Britain and the United States. The phrase 'great books' gained currency in the midst of profound technical, cultural, educational, and philosophical changes. Victorian-era literature professors in America rooted the idea in both education and popular culture through their encouragements to read. Finally, the idea explicitly took hold on college campuses, first with Charles Mills Gayley at the University of California at Berkeley and then John Erskine's General Honors seminar at Columbia University."