Encounter, the CIA, the IRD and the relationship of British intellectuals with the Establishment

Posted: 10 January 2012

Friday 20 January 2012
Time: 6-8pm
Venue: The Senate Room, the Institute of English Studies, Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU

In 1967 it was revealed that the magazine Encounter had been secretly financed by the CIA since its foundation. Stephen Spender, its British co-editor, resigned. Its American editor Melvin Lasky stayed on. Whereas the CIA aspect has received much publicity and been the subject of several academic studies, the involvement of the British co-sponsors, the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, has largely been ignored. This symposium will discuss the extent to which editorial decisions were compromised by the magazine's secret sponsors, what were the differences in outlook and policy between the CIA and the IRD, and what damage was caused by the revelation of its secret agenda. Though the symposium will concentrate on Encounter, it will also discuss the larger question of Anglo-American cultural relationships.

Speakers: Jason Harding (Durham University, currently writing a book on Encounter); Maren Roth (writing a biography of Melvin Lasky and supervisor of the Lasky papers in Munich); James Smith (New College, Oxford; currently writing a book on British intellectuals and the Establishment); Matthew Spender (son of Stephen Spender); Frances Stoner Saunders (author of Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War)

This event is free. For more information please contact Jon Millington, Events Officer, Institute of English Studies (jon.millington@sas.ac.uk / 020 7664 4859) or Robina Pelham Burn, Director of the Stephen Spender Trust (rpb@stephenspender.org / 01323 452294)

Source: The Stephen Spender Trust

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