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Apostles, The

The Cambridge Apostles

a society founded for discussion and debate at Cambridge University in 1820 under the title ‘the Cambridge Conversazione Society’. Because they were twelve in number and tended towards evangelical Christianity, the founding members became known as ‘the Apostles’. In the course of the nineteenth century, the society developed into a forum for radical nonconformity and intellectual speculation. Under the presiding influence of G. E. Moore, the society entered its most celebrated era in the early years of the twentieth century, when its membership included Rupert Brooke, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, J. M. Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Lytton Strachey, and Leonard Woolf. Ludwig Wittgenstein was briefly an active member in 1912. The society was associated with the recruitment of Soviet agents during the 1930s, when Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess were influential members. Lord Annan, Eric Hobsbawm, Jonathan Miller, Karl Miller, and Lord Rothschild are among the more recent distinguished Apostles. Membership of the society is by invitation and its procedures are traditionally cloaked in secrecy. Since the early 1970s women have been admitted. The Cambridge Apostles by Richard Deacon appeared in 1985.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Agha Shahid Ali Biography to Ardoch Perth and Kinross