The Two Cultures is the first part of an influential 1959 Rede Lecture cultures essay British scientist and novelist C. The talk was delivered 7 May 1959 in the Senate House, Cambridge, and subsequently published as The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.
The lecture and book expanded upon an article by Snow published in the New Statesman of 6 October 1956, also entitled The Two Cultures. A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying, Can you read? I was speaking the same language. In 2008, The Times Literary Supplement included The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution in its list of the 100 books that most influenced Western public discourse since the Second World War.
Leavis called Snow a “public relations man” for the scientific establishment in his essay Two Cultures? The article attracted a great deal of negative correspondence in the magazine’s letters pages. In his 1963 book Snow appeared to revise his thinking and was more optimistic about the potential of a mediating third culture. Stefan Collini has argued that the passage of time has done much to reduce the cultural divide Snow noticed, but has not removed it entirely. Stephen Jay Gould’s The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox provides a different perspective.