York Conference on Leavis and Modernity

Event Date: 
Friday, October 28, 2016 - 17:00 to Saturday, October 29, 2016 - 17:10

Provisional Programme for the York Conference 28/29 October is as follows:

The Leavis Society in collaboration with the Department of English & Related Literature and the Centre for Modern Studies at the University of York

Leavis and the Confrontation with Modernity

University of York, 28-29 October 2016

The conference will explore the origins and development of Leavis’s thought in relation to modernity, its impact on literary and cultural criticism between the wars, and its contemporary relevance. The period covers the foundations of ‘Cambridge English’ during and after the First World War, the inception of The Criterion in the 1920s and of Scrutiny in the 1930s, the ascendency of T. S. Eliot and of Bloomsbury, the place of  D. H. Lawrence and the increasing global reach of modern American mass culture.

Conference booking form Please download and complete this form and return it by email to Glenys Willars glenyswillars@sky.com
Friday 28

17:00                 Leavis Society AGM in the Leavis Room, Derwent College

19:00                 Welcome to the conference by Professor David Attwell, Head of the Department of English & Related Literature followed by a Public lecture in the Bowland Auditorium


Rosenberg's War - "Iron, Honey, Gold"
by Jean Liddiard, author of Isaac Rosenberg: the Half Used Life and editor of his
Selected Poems & Letters

Jean Liddiard was taught at Cambridge by both F. R. and Q. D. Leavis.  She is a former Press Officer of the National Portrait Gallery and is an Associate of Newnham College Cambridge.   In her lecture, Jean Liddiard will draw out the relationship between Rosenberg's poems and his comments on them in his letters.  She will refer to Leavis's war experience and discuss his admiration for Rosenberg and that of his student and later colleague on the board of Scrutiny, D. W. Harding, one of Rosenberg’s early editors.  
(Chair: Chris Joyce)

Followed by a drinks reception sponsored by the Department of English & Related Literature and the Centre for Modern Studies

The Selected Poems and Letters of Isaac Rosenberg, edited by Jean Liddiard, will be available for purchase at the event and in Waterstones bookshop.


Saturday 29       Conference in the Treehouse,  Berrick Saul Building
                        Refreshments in situ except lunch in the foyer

08:45                Registration                                      

09:30-10.00       Remarks on Jean Liddiard’s lecture and on Leavis and the First World War

                       Chair: Chris Joyce

10.00-11.00       Jeremy Tambling on Leavis, America and the Modern; Q&A & discussion 

                       Chair: Paul Filmer            

11:00-11.15          Break              

11:15-12:45       Michael Bell on Poetry, History and Myth: the Case of F. R. Leavis
                               Heward Wilkinson on Does McLuhan Destroy Leavis?
                       Chair: Jeremy Tambling

12:45-13:45        Buffet lunch (in foyer)

13:50-15:00        Paul Filmer on Modernity versus Continuity in Leavis (on the early socio-cultural criticism)
                        followed by Q&A & discussion chaired by Peter Sharrock, Chair of the Leavis Society, who will also read a short paper by the late Barrie Mencher.
                        Chair: Peter Sharrock


15:10-16:00         Steven Cranfield on Scrutiny and Education: the Leavises and the ‘Will to  Modernity’
                                Richard Storer
on Leavis, Meiklejohn, and Universities:  the Idea of ‘a New Idea'
                        Chair: Michael Bell

16:00-16:15         Break

16:15-17:10        James Smith, Chris Joyce and others on New Writings on Leavis
                                Peter Sharrock
on The Leavis Society – a Look Forward
                                Closing remarks: John Roe (Professor Emeritus, University of York
                        Chair: Peter Sharrock

Conference registration fee
includes Friday evening lecture, drinks reception, Saturday’s conference, lunch and refreshments:                                   

Leavis Society members - £25
Non-members - £60 (includes 1 year’s Society membership)
Students, including Society members - £10

Booking form

Accommodation (not included)

Single (£52.80 per night) and double room (£90.00 per night)
en suite accommodation available on campus at Franklin House, Alcuin College
and should be booked directly, not through the Society.

Follow Franklin House link below to make an inquiry or book online. Early booking is advised.

Maps and Directions for venues:

How to get to the University of York

How to find the Leavis Room Derwent College (AGM)

How to find Berrick Saul Building on campus

How to book campus accommodation and get to Franklin House (if booking University accommodation)

How to find alternative accommodation if staying off-campus