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Meetings in 2021










19 January  

Bob Clarke on Historical Reflections on the 'Two Cultures' Controversy (1959-1962)

In May 1959, the scientist and novelist C. P. Snow delivered at lecture in Cambridge, entitled 'The Two Cultures' -ostensibly they were the Sciences and the Humanities. He argued for a great expansion of scientific education in Britain, but he also deplored the lack of mutual understanding between the two cultures. In February 1962 the Cambridge literary scholar F. R. Leavis responded to Snow via another Cambridge lecture in which he attacked Snow ferociously in terms that most commentators found shocking. As both lectures were published, the controversy became very well-known across the English-speaking world. Through this talk we will attempt to understand the controversy within a broader historical context, delving back as far as 1798. We will see that 'Science vs The Humanities' is not the only Cultural Polarity that is being addressed in this debate. In  our discussion we can reflect on how the individual issues that separately exercised Snow and Leavis retain their relevance today. Notes


16 February




16 March




20 April




18 May




15 June




20 July




21 September 2015




19 October




16 November



21 December 2021