Timetable of the discussion day

A Discussion Day, West Lodge, Downing College, Cambridge, 22 September 2003

9.45 - 10.15 Registration & Coffee
1.00 - 2.00 Buffet Lunch
4.00 Tea & Depart

Registration, lunch and refreshments in the West Lodge & Maitland Room; discussion meeting in the Old Music Room.

Viewpoints from:

  • Michael Bell (Warwick)
  • Ben Brown (playwright)
  • Gary Day (De Montfort)
  • Bob Eaglestone (Royal Holloway)
  • David Gervais (Hon Fellow, Reading)
  • Mary Grover (Sheffield Hallam)
  • Chris Joyce (Surrey)
  • Ian MacKillop (Sheffield
  • Neil Roberts (Sheffield)

Topics include:

  • Comparisons with: Dilthey, Bakhtin (vis-à-vis French post-structuralism), Adorno on mass culture, Wittgenstein as dramatic subject
  • Leavis on language ('or let us rather say a language for there is no such thing as language in general') and 'responsibility'
  • His survivability
  • His responses to French literature
  • The rhetoric of QDL
  • Why we should still read him (and her)

The day is intended to be largely conversational in style, only lightly structured, picking up the themes of Leavis's early engagement with René Wellek and his later adducing of Polanyi and Marjorie Grene as intellectual allies, and his evident (circumspect) interest in Wittgenstein. Critics have noted points of comparison between Leavis's work and aspects of the philosophy of Husserl and Heidegger (and that of Theodor Adorno) - points which may be developed in relation to some of the topics shown above; but it is intended to leave room for discussion of other aspects of his work, considered as an integral whole, centred in literature.

Downing College, Cambridge CB2 1DQ
Tel: 01223 334800 (porter's lodge) 334860 (conference office)
Main gate: Regent Street
Public car park: Lion Yard, Downing Street

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> View outline of the discussion day


I am reminded of a conversation I had many years ago with the Professor of English from a very provincial American university. 'But when', I was finally moved to ask, 'do they read Shakespeare as literature?' 'We hold', he replied, 'that the men have no right to have an opinion about Shakespeare till they can explain every word in every single line; they can go on then to read him as literature.' 'And when do they do that?' 'When they go down.' 
FRL 'Literary Studies: a Reply'