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Aesthetic Seminar. 'The Two Cultures' Revisited: Reflections on the Hatred of Literature

William Marx. Professor of Comparative Literature at Paris Nanterre University, and a Honorary Fellow of the Institut universitaire de France and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.

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Thursday 17 November 2016,  at 14:15 - 17:00

On 7 May 1959, at the University of Cambridge, the scientist and novelist C.P. Snow gave a lecture that became instantaneously famous worldwide. Its title was ‘The Two Cultures’. It presented the scientific culture and the literary culture as two opposites of inequal value as academic disciplines, and inequal usefulness in the modern world. A heated argument ensued, with the critic F.R. Leavis as the main defender of literature. More than half a century later, what lessons can be drawn from such an episode and controversy? Has C.P. Snow’s lecture still retained some topicality? Is the hatred of literature still in the air? And, last but not least, is it still worth defending literature?


The lecture is open to the public.

Speaker: William Marx