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Academic interest in the relations between the sciences and the humanities has never been so high as now, enhanced and nourished by the rise of the new disciplines such as Science Studies and the growth in history and philosophy of science. Waugh wants to contrast the ‘ferocious exclusivity’ of my argument against the ‘multi-perspectival understanding’ that she embraces, but in truth my approach is not so exclusive and hers not so capacious. Atikur Rahman | University English BD LIKE | COMMENT | SHARE & SUBSCRIBE Join … Always expressing his opinions with severity, Leavis believed that literature should be closely related to criticism of life and that it is therefore a literary critic’s duty to assess works according to the author’s and society’s moral position. In his magisterial introduction to the 1993 Canto edition of Snow’s lecture, The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, Stefan Collini suggests that Snow had launched a phrase to name a debate that has been particularly intense in modern civilisations and that the phrase has stuck as a kind of convenient shorthand, but more than this, he demonstrates how the cultural climate at the end of the 1950s and early 1960s was in effect stage-built to receive a performance along ‘two cultures’ lines of such epic proportions: the gloomy traditionalist prognoses of economic decline and post-Imperial retrenchment and national suicide running alongside the modern meritocratic optimism and/or scepticism of a younger generation beholden to and benefitting from educational expansion and access to new social and cultural opportunities. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. Incorporating influences such as jazz, art, literature, philosophy and religion, the beat writers created a new and prophetic vision of modern life … That curious aside about my own disciplinary background suggests that Waugh is the one policing boundaries here, but she is nevertheless correct that, now that a half-century has passed since Snow’s original lecture, I do believe that an archival and contextualized history offers welcome perspective on the controversy. Waugh, for her part, acknowledges the ideological stakes of the controversy, but her analysis treats them as secondary to its epistemological and disciplinary dimensions. I. Leavis, ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’, in F.R. Indeed, every culture has staged its own version of the debate; every culture has witnessed struggles for dominance between rival paradigms of knowledge which have always been struggles also to establish a structure of values formulated within the current terms of the discipline which might not only underpin educational reform but ensure the integrity of a vision of a Good Society, for that particular society. This service is more advanced with JavaScript available, Re-Reading Leavis If I am a disciplinary warrior, I’m a rather disloyal one, but it would make more sense to understand my arguments as directed against interpretations than disciplines. Since the 19th century, literary scholarship includes literary theory and considerations of intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, and interdisciplinary themes relevant to how people interpret meaning. Zangwill, ‘Psychology’ in C.B. Patricia Waugh’s review illustrates the allure, but also the limitations, of an interpretation of the ‘two cultures’ controversy as a conflict between two disciplinary cultures. She writes that I want ‘to “dislodge” or demolish the category of “the two cultures” as a disciplinary contest’, thus conflating my argument against the ‘two cultures’ (a reductive and misleading phrase) with my understanding of this controversy (a disciplinary contest, but much more than that). Ibid., p. 381. But no major discussion of the relation between the arts, humanities and sciences has since proceeded without some positioning of itself in relation to the conceptual space set up by Snow’s phrase. The relevant book would be Michel Foucault. Literature indeed reflects the society, its good values and its ills. Leavis, ’English, “Unrest” and Continuity’, in F.R. She claims that my book overreaches, partly because of its ‘assumption that the skills and perspectives of his own discipline (neither Snow’s nor Leavis’s) might “trump” or correct all others and hold the key to final understanding of what was really going on between them and why it caused such a long-lasting fuss’. Leavis, ‘Eliot’s “Axe To Grind” and the Nature of Criticism’, in F.R. Leavis, as Hutton notes), modernist literary theory was fundamentally animated by the belief in the civilizing mission of literature: ‘All the critics…from Hoggart to Leavis, believed that the study of literature could impart a form of morality which could potentially improve society and teach people how to But surely such assertive confidence begs a number of questions: In what sense are ‘disciplines’ ever ideologically innocent? It is perfectly possible to interpret this statement in an altogether different way. In this sense, Ortolano’s thesis is hardly original, and the case for the controversy reflecting the cultural tensions in post-war Britain is already eloquently made in Collini’s compact and forceful introduction, but what is entirely new in Ortolano’s account is the ferocious exclusivity with which he pursues this argument in order to attempt to expose the idea of a disciplinary contest as almost entirely a smokescreen for an ideological conflict between two models of meritocracy and debates about national decline. For Eliot, increasingly by the 1930s, that experience might only be recovered finally through a return to a Christian society, but for the consistently secular Leavis, only through a fully sensitive response to the formal and expressive organicism of the literary text. Admittedly, it has had to vie for attention with the more publicly acknowledged 150th anniversary of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, but the Snow anniversary has still attracted major international conferences, reviews, essays and comments in arts, science and humanities journals. This is a preview of subscription content, F.R. A. Richards, who had moved from philosophy, under the tutelage of Moore and Russell and Cambridge Realism, to establish the methodological basis for English Studies along the lines of scientific enquiry, ‘objectivity’ and close observation of texts. I do not believe they have been bamboozled exactly, but I am surprised that she does not recognize a difference between participating in a discussion in the terms of its predecessors, and analyzing those terms as our objects of study. Snow reflects at the beginning of his lecture that the term the two cultures’ was very carefully chosen: he was searching, he said, for ‘something a little more than a dashing metaphor, but a good deal less than a cultural map’. T.W. Hereafter S &. Leavis, Notes 127–35 give quotations only from Lukács as there are numerous examples of the same features of Leavis’s work throughout my argument. Derrida’s analysis of the supplement may have some bearing here. F.R. challenged ahistorical invocations of the “two cultures” as a category of analysis’ (p. 258–9). Ultimately I argue that, while the ‘two cultures’ controversy figures as a particular installment within a longer tradition, the ‘two cultures’ dichotomy offers a misleading way of understanding either that controversy or that tradition. The most recent and equally infamous (though more narrowly academic) outbreak of hostilities in disciplinary relations between the humanities and the sciences, dubbed the ‘Science Wars’, followed the publication of the physicist Alan Sokal’s hoax article, ‘Transgressing the boundaries: towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity’, in the cultural studies journal, Social Text in 1996. These positions, it has to be said, are already extremely well-represented in the scholarly literature, for instance by the valuable and various work of John Guillory, Wolf Lepenies, Roy Porter, Jean Starobinski, and Frank Miller Turner, which is by no means to imply that Waugh’s wide-ranging history of ideas and insightful close readings cannot add to that scholarship. The American liberal, Lionel Trilling, described the ensuing furore as a ‘morass of personality-mongering’. Instead, Waugh focuses on my contention that the controversy should be understood as an ideological conflict, if that would deny its disciplinary dimensions, and she rejects my conclusion that the ‘two cultures’ dichotomy offers a problematic way of characterizing either this episode or this tradition. This distinction between a two cultures interpretation and a disciplinary interpretation explains why, contra the impression that Waugh gives, I repeatedly acknowledge the disciplinary dimensions of the controversy. For Waugh, the ‘two cultures’ offers a useful way of explaining the Snow-Leavis episode, but it also defines the conceptual space in a longer tradition. In a later lecture, Leavis denied that there had ever been a debate and that it was simply ‘absurd to posit a culture that the scientist has qua scientist’. Literature is important to society because it reflects cultural values and serves as a tool for teaching those values to others. 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