Re-reading Leavis: valuing literature(s) in our time

Event Date: 
Monday, September 18, 2017 - 10:00 to Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 17:00


Call for Papers
Annual conference: ‘Re-reading Leavis: valuing literature(s) in our time’
Downing College, Cambridge

The Leavis Society invites papers for its annual conference to be held on 18 and 19 September in Downing College, Cambridge.

F. R. Leavis was one of the most influential literary critics in the twentieth-century, known for his insistence on the humanistic value of literature – the value of literature in human life. For Leavis, and literary humanism generally, literature offers insights into the human condition of a kind that cannot be obtained by other means. Since the 1980s, the focus on literature has relaxed in schools and universities to bring in film, media and performance. This year's conference will reflect on the waning place of literature in our time, and examine whether and how potential to counter this can be drawn today from Leavis's critical work.

Confirmed speakers include: Iain Bailey, Catherine Belsey, Michael Bell, Philip Davis, Bob Hayward, Michael Silk, James Smith, Joel Swann, Jeremy Tambling and Heward Wilkinson.

Submissions of abstracts are invited for 20-30 minute papers. The deadline for submission of abstracts or papers is 31 July. Please email them to Glenys Willars at

The Leavis Society is sponsoring a public debate on Why Literature Matters, to be held at the New College of the Humanities in London on 17 May 2017.

If you would like to join the Leavis Society, please visit our website: