Divided on divide 2

November 18, 2005

Brian Morton's article is a travesty of the famous F. R.

Leavis-C. P. Snow controversy - which did not spark a furious debate between the contenders, as Snow did not reply to Leavis.

Leavis's central argument was not against some encroachment of science upon literary culture, but that to see literature and science as forming separate "cultures" is to wholly misunderstand the nature of culture in itself. Literature and other studies form a humanistic understanding, for which science cannot be a substitute: therefore knowledge of scientific laws, no matter how fundamental, cannot replace literacy with all that it entails.

It is ironic that Morton thinks Snow is largely forgotten, since his contribution to debate was to make shallowness and cliched views respectable in discourse.

Nigel Probert


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