Two Takes on Two Cultures

Same material revisited at intervals — the C.P. Snow 1959 Rede lecture (The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution) and the F.R. Leavis 1962 Richmond lecture (The Two Cultures?).

Two concluding paragraphs

From a Parliamentarian on the 40th anniversary — Dr Ian Gibson — all about seeking consensus
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/feb/28/highereducation.uk

Agreements, even temporary, preliminary ones, will only be achieved if contributors have to play according to rules that reach beyond the different forms of knowledge. Just like MPs, everyone taking part in a public debate should be forced to declare any interests they might have that could influence their judgement. What we need to solve our dilemmas are not the so-called objective technicians CP Snow dreamt of, but improved rules of public discourse.

From a literary critic on the 50th anniversary — Stefan Collini — all about debunking
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/aug/16/leavis-snow-two-cultures-bust

From one point of view, Leavis might not seem an obvious recruit to any putative “slow criticism” movement. As he himself wryly notes, one Italian periodical described him as “puritano frenetico”, and the intense, combative address of his printed voice does not at first conjure up the process by which the patient accretion of alternative descriptions, almost geological in the pace of its operation, modifies existing sensibilities. Anger operates at a faster tempo, and the Richmond lecture is a deeply angry performance. But closer familiarity with his much-remarked upon syntax suggests that it should be seen as, precisely, a straining against the limits of sequential exposition in the interests of recognising the simultaneity and inter-relatedness of considerations that are flattened by others into blandly self-contained propositions, which in turn congeal into cliche. To be disturbed into an awareness (however uneasy or resistant) of this process is to start to register the power of his critical voice. In these terms, perhaps Leavis’s lecture, whatever its flaws, may still be thought to have a claim on our attention, even if opinion remains divided over whether it should be considered a minor classic of cultural criticism.

Public discourse needs improving — is that a cliche?

And so for day 2430
08.08.2013

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