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The impact of machines

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Richard Staley.

More than thirty years before the ‘Two Cultures’ debate came into the national consciousness, I.A. Richards, the leading light of the nascent English school at Cambridge, was writing of ‘the transference from the Magical View of the world to the scientific’, combined with ‘the more sinister potentialities of the cinema and the loud-speaker’ as grave challenges to his young discipline. One of Richards’s best students, Humphrey Jennings, became a film-maker and author of the compendium ‘Pandaemonium: The Coming of the Machine as Seen by Contemporary Observers’, which charted a version of this ‘central dominant change’ in worldviews. This talk explores an unofficial but significant interest in the history of science within ‘Cambridge English’ which stood in partial opposition to the latterly dominant F.R. Leavis.

This talk is part of the Twentieth Century Think Tank series.

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