Thursday, May 14, 2009

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] One Two Three More Cultures

As a person doing work between the cultures of art and science in the
University of Cambridge, Snow's characterisation of my own University is
naturally interesting to me.

I should say that within Cambridge, there appears to be little interest in
revisiting the controversy, and I've seen no mention of the anniversary
locally despite this being the birthplace of the term. There is still
substantial pain around Leavis's legacy in our English faculty, and it is
arguably Leavis's intemperate response to Snow's public talk that made the
Two Cultures such big news.

As I understand it, the greatest point of contention was the disdain shown
by Leavis for Snow's popular novels. Leavis believed that Snow had
overestimated his own abilities as an artist, and that the rest of his
argument foundered on this point.

Since then, the popular interpretation of the debate has been that Snow was
arguing for public life in England to take better account of scientific
knowledge. However, it was really the claim of a scientist to artistic
authority that seems to have been problematic, not the other way around.

Alan Blackwell
Reader in Interdisciplinary Design, University of Cambridge
Further details from
Yasmin_discussions mailing list

Yasmin URL:

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.

HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").

HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.