Portal:Leslie Stephen Lecture

Leslie Stephen Lecture

bi-annual lecture at the University of Cambridge since 1907; endowed by his friends, with the specification that it be on "some literary subject, including therein criticism, biography and ethics;" named for Leslie Stephen

year subject author
1907 Samuel Johnson: the Leslie Stephen lecture, delivered in the Senate House, Cambridge 22 February 1907 Walter Alexander Raleigh
1909 Tennyson: the Leslie Stephen lecture William Paton Ker
1911 Principles of Biography: The Leslie Stephen Lecture delivered in the Senate House, Cambridge, on 13 May 1911 Sidney Lee
1913 Gray's Letters[1] T. H. Warren[2]
1915 Poetry and national character; the Leslie Stephen lecture delivered at Cambridge on 13 May 1915 (external scan) W. Macneile Dixon
1917 Jonathan Swift: the Leslie Stephen Lecture delivered before the University of Cambridge on 26 May 1917 Charles Whibley
1919 Pope: the Leslie Stephen lecture delivered before the University of Cambridge 10 May 1919 (external scan) J. W. Mackail
1921 [3]
1923 Classical and romantic : the Leslie Stephen lecture delivered at Cambridge, 3 May 1923 H. J. C. Grierson
1925 Pope: the Leslie Stephen Lecture for 1925 (external scan) Lytton Strachey
as of 2021, post 1926 are not not clearly in the public domain, exceptions may exist. Odd year to even year variaion occurs from circa early 1970s.
1927 David Hume and the Miraculous, Leslie Stephen Lecture Alfred Edward Taylor
1929 Progress in Literature: The Leslie Stephen Lecture 1929 Lascelles Abercrombie
1931 Chaucer John Masefield
1933 The name and nature of poetry A. E. Housman
1935 Jane Austen David Cecil
1937 Leslie Stephen: The Leslie Stephen lecture delivered before the University of Cambridge on 27 May 1937 Desmond MacCarthy
1939 Leslie Stephen and Matthew Arnold as critics of Wordsworth : Leslie Stephen lecture 1939 John Dover Wilson
1941 [4]
1943 [4]
1945 [4]
1947 Tennyson's two brothers: the Leslie Stephen Lecture Harold Nicolson
1949 [5]
1951 The mechanism of satire Edmund Valpy Knox
1955 Three Episodes in the Life of Kaiser Wilhelm II ... The Leslie Stephen Lecture John Wheeler Wheeler-Bennett
1957 The Sense of the Past ... The Leslie Stephen Lecture, 1957 Cicely Veronica Wedgewood
1959 Charles Townshend: his character and career Lewis Namier and John Brooke
1961 Lloyd George: Rise and fall A. J. P. Taylor
1963 Samuel Richardson[6][7] Angus Wilson
1965 [8][7] George N. Clark
1967 The sovereignty of good over other concepts Iris Murdoch
1969 Disraeli and Gladstone Robert Blake
1972 Morality and pessimism Stuart Hampshire
1974 The art critic and the art historian Quentin Bell
1976 Is history becoming a social science? : The case of contemporary history (1977) Alan Bullock
1979 The sheep and the ceremony Richard Wollheim
1982 Conyers Middleton Hugh Trevor-Roper
1985 Real Presences: The Leslie Stephen Memorial Lecture, 1985 George Steiner
1988 Joy or Night: Last Things in the Poetry of W. B. Yeats and Philip Larkin (1993) Seamus Heaney
1995 Leslie Stephen and the New Dictionary of National Biography H. C. G. Matthew
1999 Leslie Stephen and Derivative Immortality Jonathan Steinberg
2005 Changing conceptions of national biography: the Oxford D.N.B. in historical perspective Keith Thomas
2008 Claire Tomalin
2010 The Dark Sixteenth Century Colm Tóibín
2012 Brotherly Biography: Leslie Stephen and Life-Writing Hermione Lee


Some of the even year lectures of the 20th century may be year of publication of the lecture, rather than the year of address. Compiling the list has found inexact references and the information should be check for truthfulness

Other lecturers of undetermined years are

  • Isaiah Berlin
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, Norfolk Antiquary [9]

Found reference to RudyardKipling c.1930 which seems to be an invitation to present.[10]


  1. No evidence that the lecture took place, or was published. (Wikisource contributor note)
  2. The Times Issue: 40061, p. 14, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1912
  3. Unable to find a published work, nor a person being appointed to deliver the presentation. (Wikisource contributor note)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 cannot find evidence that it will held in this year; neither announcement of speaker nor publication (Wikisource contributor note)
  5. Aberdeen Journal Issue: 29491, p. 4 Saturday, July 9, 1949, notes the BBC broadcast of the lecture without stating detail (Wikisource contributor note)
  6. The Times, Issue: 55676, p. 12, Tuesday, Apr. 16, 1963
  7. 7.0 7.1 Can find not indication that the talk was published, though scheduled (Wikisource contributor note)
  8. The Times, Issue: 56300, p.12, Tuesday, Apr. 20, 1965
  9. Author: Alan Noel Latimer Munby; The Times Literary Supplement, Issue: 3714, p.24, Friday, May 11, 1973
  10. sussex.ac.uk