The Two Cultures

The Two Cultures is the title of an influential 1959 lecture by British scientist and novelist C.P. Snow.

Its thesis is that the breakdown of communication between the "two cultures" of modern society - sciences and the humanities - was a major hindrence to solving the world's problems. As a trained scientist who was also a successful novelist, Snow was well placed to pose the question, though his ideas were derided by the literary establishment led by F. R. Leavis. Published in book form, Snow's lecture was nonetheless widely read and discussed, leading him to write a follow-up, The Two Cultures: A Second Look, in 1959.

The term has entered the general lexicon as a shorthand for differences between what might be called the qualitative and quantitative outlooks on life.

copyright 2004