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Two Cultures? The Significance of CP Snow

Leavis has important and enduring things to say about the mechanics of intellectual celebrity

Two Cultures? The Significance of CP Snow by FR Leavis (Cambridge University Press, £12.99)

“It is a bad tone, an impermissible tone.” So wrote Lionel Trilling of FR Leavis’s 1962 lecture on CP Snow, reissued this month in a new edition, with an introduction by the historian Stefan Collini. Leavis’s attack on Snow’s celebrated philippic against the ignorance of science displayed by “literary intellectuals” is unsparing. The Two Cultures, Leavis writes, “exhibits an embarrassing vulgarity of style.” And although he protested that his response to Snow contained “no personal animus,” it is undeniably…

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