Leavis at York 2013

Friday 18 October 2013, 6.00PM to 19 October 2013

A conference of presentations and discussions about the life, thought and work of the English critic and educationalist F. R. Leavis (1895 – 1978) and the continuing influence of these on contemporary debate.

This autumn the second ‘Leavis at York’ international conference will take place at the University of York on 18-19 October 2013. (For the 2010 conference programme click here.) The event is being organised by the Leavis Society in conjunction with the Centre for Modern Studies and the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York. Leavis had a productive association with York during the 1960s and 70s, not long after the university’s inception, having been invited there by J. P. Brockbank, the first Head of the Department of English and Related Literature. The Department continues to administer the F. R. Leavis fund which supports research activities of students and staff at the University. In addition, the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University houses the Leavis-Brockbank letters. The conference will, we hope, also complement the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the University.

The broad theme of the conference will be Leavis’s thought and work during the period of his association with York (1965-77). During this period Leavis issued a number of important books, essays and addresses, marking a new phase in his literary, social and educational thought. The period was also one of remarkable change and ferment in higher education and society globally, opening up creative processes, tensions and faultlines that continue to this day.

Confirmed speakers to date include:

Friday 18 October (evening)

  • Christopher Ricks – Inaugural speaker, ‘A conflict of reports’. Currently Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University and Visiting Professor, New College of the Humanities, London.

Saturday 19 October (day)

  • Professor Richard Wilson – Keynote speaker, ‘Leavis and the Theatre’. Currently Sir Peter Hall Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Kingston University.
  • Ian Robinson – author of The English Prophets (Edgeways, 2001), on ‘Leavisian thought’.
  • Dr Daniele Moyal-Sharrock – University of Hertfordshire and President of the British Wittgenstein Society, on ‘Leavis, Wittgenstein and Harrison: literature and the enactment of the ethical’.
  • Professor Jeremy Tambling – University of Manchester, on ‘Leavis and Dickens’.
  • Dr Richard Storer – Leeds Trinity University, and author of F. R. Leavis (Routledge, 2009) on recent studies of Leavis as a teacher.
  • Professor Michael Bell – Warwick University, and author of F. R. Leavis (Routledge, 1988) on ‘Creativity in the teaching of F. R. Leavis’.

The event will also mark the first public meeting of the Leavis Society, to be held on campus on Friday 18 October at 4 pm. Membership and subscription details of the Society are available from the Administrator, Glenys Willars, at: glenyswillars@sky.com. Benefits will include reduced conference fee and selected books at discounted prices.

The conference will be on Friday 18 October from 6.00 pm – 9.00 pm and on Saturday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. The event will be held in the Humanities Research Centre on the main Heslington campus.


To register please contact Glenys Willars glenyswillars@sky.com

A limited number of rooms on campus for overnight accommodation on Friday and Saturday may be available. For more information, go online at http://www.yorkconferences.com/ and click on Bed & Breakfast and then on Click here to check availability. This should take you to a page called Accommodation search:https://www.yorkconferences.com/secure/york-conferences/bed-and-breakfast.aspx. Once here choose Franklin House. This is a venue on campus that is a short walk from the conference venue. Payment by debit or credit card.

For other queries about the conference programme please contact Dr Steven Cranfield at: s.cranfield@westminster.ac.uk

The conference programme will be posted here:


Location: Humanities Research Centre, Berrick Saul Building, University of York

Admission: Conference fee: £25. Leavis Society members, £10. Fee includes conference programme, refreshments and buffet lunch.