In: KulturPoetik 2008, Heft 1


Claude D. Conter


Die Entstehung der zwei Kulturen im 19. Jahrhundert




When C. P. Snow introduced his much-debated thesis of the Two Cultures in 1959, the origin of the two paradigms of the artistic and scientific modes of perception was not recognized. This paper aims to remedy this shortcoming. It explains how literature itself contributed substantially to the growing rivalry between the Two Cultures. It did this primarily as a result of the professionalisation of the literary industry in the 1830s, as shown in the increasing influence of economics and importance of technology. The emergence of the Two Cultures continues the lines of divergence of two rival concepts of literature, »belles lettres« and »popular literature«. This process of differentiation is accompanied by the loss of the discursive function held by literature since the Enlightenment.