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What Good are the Arts?

What Good Are the Arts? Book CoverCentre for Cultural Policy Studies Seminar Series

Date: Tuesday 23rd January at 17:00

Venue: The Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre

Speaker: Professor John Carey, chief literary critic of The Sunday Times, former Merton Professor of English, Oxford University, and former chair of the Man Booker International Prize (2005).

Carey's recent book What Good Are the Arts? engaged both public and academics in its outspoken criticisms and viewpoints, tackling big questions like ‘what is a work of art’? ‘Is high art superior’? ‘Do the arts make us better people’? ‘Is art like religion’? Carey attacked what he saw as outdated assumptions, which he thinks still determine our understanding of art, our cultural values and our arts policies.

In this talk he will outline the arguments and ideas presented in his book, and staff and students are invited to marshal their responses. This is an evening of critical engagement on art, society and the kind of culture we think we want.

John Carey

John Carey

A distinguished critic, reviewer and broadcaster and one of the country's best-known and respected academics, John Carey was born in Barnes in 1934. He was evacuated to Nottingham during the war and then, on returning to London, went to a grammar school in East Sheen and then on to St John's College, Oxford. After national service and a period as Senior Scholar at Merton College, he held academic posts at Christ Church, Balliol, Keble and St John's before being appointed Merton Professor of English Literature in 1976. He retired in 1999.

His literary critical works include The Violent Effigy: A Study in Dickens's Imagination (1975), Thackeray: Prodigal Genius (1977) and John Donne: Life, Mind and Art (1981). His other books include The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992), three anthologies for Faber: The Faber Book of Reportage (1987), The Faber Book of Science (1995) and The Faber Book of Utopias (1999), and Pure Pleasure: A Guide to the Twentieth Century's Most Enjoyable Books (2000). His latest book, What Good Are the Arts?, was published in June 2005.

This seminar series is organised by the research students of the Centre for Cultual Policy Studies.