‘Cambridge Criticism’ beyond Cambridge: An International Conference

Event Date: 
Thursday, June 29, 2017 - 09:00 to Saturday, July 1, 2017 - 17:00

Tsinghua University, Beijing

Recent years have seen a revival and a new growth of interest in the phase of English literary and cultural criticism known as ‘Cambridge Criticism’ or ‘Cambridge English’.  That phase – from the early 1920s (soon after the founding of the English Faculty at Cambridge) to the mid-1930s – is especially associated with the work of I. A. Richards and his pupil William Empson.  Richards is often identified as the progenitor of the American ‘New Criticism’ (though he himself demurred).  He had a close association with T. S. Eliot, a major influence on the contemporary poetry and criticism.

       Another important figure, whose thought and practice eventually moved in a different direction from the others, is F. R. Leavis, about whom much new writing has appeared over the last ten years or so.  Like those mentioned, Leavis was a close reader and textual critic but his work also concerned itself more than theirs with the cultural context of literature and with the problems of valuation in criticism.

       These critics, and others of the period, have long held great interest for Chinese scholars, particularly in the contemporary intellectual climate.  This major international conference will re-assess their work and relevance today in China and internationally.  It falls in the centenary year of the founding of the English Tripos at Cambridge. The principal organiser is Professor Li Cao at Tsinghua University, an international authority on the subject (see her ‘Cambridge Critics and China’, Cambridge Quarterly 41 (1) 2012).

       The registration fee in GBP will be £150, which will cover a reception, lunches, coffee breaks, conference pack and (for an additional £30) a trip to the Forbidden City on day 3. Accommodation (twin rooms) will be available in guest houses on Tsinghua Campus. The price will be 538 to 598 Chinese Yuan per night (average around £65 at present exchange rates). Bookings should be made through Miss Xiong Wenyuan at wy14@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn.

       Confirmed participants are urged to apply for visas and to book their flights at the earliest possible time. For further details, including confirmed speakers, or to propose a paper, please contact Dr Zhang Ping at vv73@tsinghua.edu.cn or Dr Chris Joyce at chris.joyce.1969@pem.cam.ac.uk co-convenor in the UK.

* More details, including exact times to be posted soon.