Leavis, F(rank) R(aymond)
F(rank) R(aymond) Leavis 1895–1978
English critic and editor.
Leavis is often cited as one of the most important and influential literary critics of his time. Fully committed to the belief that literature is an important social and moral force, Leavis argued persuasively that the study of literature should be seen as a vital pursuit. He further asserted that the critical study of literature demands a disciplined expertise. In Leavis's opinion, emotional, biographical, and historical approaches to literary criticism reveal little about a given text. Instead, he felt that literary inquiry requires a scrupulous examination of texts and a "searching critical intelligence."
Throughout his career, Leavis was partial to writers who represented a morality characteristic of rural communities prior to the Industrial Revolution. In the face of what he called the "crisis in modern culture," Leavis demanded that literature evoke a positive view of life and promote values he deemed essential to the preservation of a humanistic culture. Ultimately, Leavis judged a work by the type of moral values it affirmed. This part of his critical method is extremely vulnerable to disapproval, particularly because Leavis never offered a fully developed theory to support his views. Rather, he believed that theorizing and philosophizing serve only to distract the critic from the primary and difficult task of evaluation.
Leavis remains a seminal figure in the history of modern literary criticism. Scrutiny, the renowned literary journal which Leavis edited, is considered representative of critical writing at its best. Leavis was also a lecturer in English at Cambridge University for nearly three decades and, in the words of Eric Bentley, "one of the few people who welcomed English as a serious university subject, and welcomed it for what it is, not what you can turn it into or reduce it to."
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 21-24, rev. ed. and Vols. 77-80 [obituary].)
D. W. Harding
It is the distinction of [New Bearings in English Poetry] that it consistently treats poetry as one of the major products of normal human activity, and the making of poetry as being at least as responsible an occupation as, say, scientific research. In fact the quality of the book may be indicated by saying that an intelligent scientist (if he were free from conventional preconceptions about literature) could read it without getting exasperated and without a sense of lacking initiation. It is only those for whom poetry is a cult with initiates, or an archaic pursuit surviving as a pastime, like archery, who will complain that the book is esoteric. They will be puzzled by the constant implication that a poet's 'magnificent qualities of intelligence and character' are the concern of a critic of his poems. They will be irritated by the assertation that there are in the present age 'no serious standards current, no live tradition of poetry, and no public capable of informed and serious interest.'
As a consequence of his point of view much of Mr. Leavis's criticism of poetry becomes, in a certain limited sense, a criticism of the poet's personality. Not that he is a moralist or psychopathologist manqué. He sets out to confine himself 'as strictly as possible to literary criticism, and to remember that poetry is made of words.' Yet he makes it clear, for instance in condemning the bulk of Ezra Pound's poetry, that his only...
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There are obvious dangers attendant on any criticism which assumes that there are absolute standards of perfection against which we can measure works of art. The critic who starts off with this assumption is driven as he proceeds to elaborate and define his measuring rod of what art should be. Before long he is in danger of usurping the creative function: we find that he has unconsciously invented a schematic poetry of his own, which is simply the kind of poetry he might have written had he been poet instead of critic. Instead of remaining a student with limited but sensitive reactions to poetry, he has become an unconscious creator with a highly developed sense not of what poetry is but of what it ought to be….
Dr. Leavis seems not so much an example of the poet turned critic because he cannot write poetry as of the critic turned lecturer and don because he cannot write criticism. His mental habitation is a world not of what poetry but of what criticism ought to be. Poetry is his excuse for approving, attacking or reconstructing the judgments of other critics; above all for elaborating a world in which the existence of all values in poetry is made to depend on what is said about it. (p. 350)
Dr. Leavis really seems to have an almost Berkleyan view of poetry, assuming, that is, that criticism is God. Poetry, one would gather, exists simply in the minds of the critics, and poets become 'dislodged' or...
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H. M. McLUHAN
[It is not] possible to arrive at a critical evaluation of a poem or an age from the point of view of rhetorical exegesis, as one can see in the work of Richards and Empson. Basically a rhetorical exegesis is concerned with indicating the "strategy" employed by a writer in bringing to bear the available means of persuasion. One can go on indefinitely describing the situation from which the strategy emerges, elaborating whole psychological and political treatises without ever reaching the point of critical evaluation.
It is impossible to survey here the critical achievement of F. R. Leavis, but it is clear on every page that his method is that of an artistic evaluation which is inseparable from the exercise of a delicately poised moral tact. He is not a critic of isolated comments as the mere titles of his works show. For example, New Bearings in English Poetry is concerned with assessing the precise changes in the poetic climate which have occurred in consequence of the impact of Yeats, Eliot, Hopkins, and Pound on our language. On the other hand, Revaluation "was planned," he tells us, "when I was writing my New Bearings in English Poetry,… indeed, the planning of one book was involved in the planning of the other."
The function of both these books is, with reference to particular poets and poems, to show what has happened to that existing order of traditional English poetry, of which Mr. Eliot...
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It would be hard to over-rate the importance of Mr. Leavis' [The Great Tradition] for the present time. The critical problem of the novel is stirring once more, and unless Mr. Leavis is simply ignored, it will be impossible again to deal with the English novel, as we have in the past, as if the great novelists of its central tradition did not exist, as if, consequently, freaks and fakes like Djuna Barnes and Ronald Firbank were serious matters, authentic minor novelists like Virginia Woolf major novelists. There is probably a real risk that Mr. Leavis will be ignored; he has all the thorniness and some of the real defects of the man who is hell-bent on doing us all good. He talks much too much about the "adult" and the "mature" mind when he only means his own, and is especially insistent on this identification when he is attacking some writer like Thackeray who is conventionally respected; he refers with uncalled-for scorn to "the reader whose demand [does not go] beyond 'the creation of character' and so on" and who therefore likes Trollope; he allows himself to 'be romantically ironic about readers who make so bold as to be offended by these habits.
But if his manner is not exactly ingratiating, its final effect is to convince you of his earnestness and honesty. His opening sentence—"The great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad"—is perfectly calculated to evoke protest. Actually...
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[What] is the immediate and total impression of [The Common Pursuit]? Dr. Leavis's criticism is nothing if not personal (the word is not meant in a depreciatory sense); my assessment of it will therefore be personal too. Re-reading, then, in one volume essays which (most of them) I had read before scattered over several years, the effect for me was—let me say frankly—one of a profound satisfaction. To describe the satisfaction a little more precisely I should say that it was the satisfaction of seeing a pavement well-laid. The individual stones one had noticed before, and they were of pleasing shape and colour; but now that they can be taken in as a whole there is the added pleasure of observing that they fit. Even 'added pleasure' will not do. For it is not merely the enumerative addition of the more pleasure in the same kind, like one more stone; but the completing kind of knowledge that further enumeration is at best only confirmation of, at worst even redundant to, what can now be taken as an overruling design.
Having thus dared to burn my critical boats, let me be more explicit. Here, I think, is the most precious quality of Dr. Leavis's criticism: that, without any easy superficial play with pretty metaphors like 'pattern'—so often a dodge to escape examination of details or a short cut to finding relations which one expects to find but can't put one's fingers on … his reaction to the most varied work is...
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J. B. Priestley
There could be, no doubt, a standard of literary values so high, so icily severe, that in its sight a Virginia Woolf would possess nothing but a slender talent. But from this height a Dr. Leavis would not exist at all. His loudest screams could never be heard. His claim to write even one sentence worth reading could not be accepted. This is where the arrogantly dogmatic, absolutist critic, behaving more like the Grand Inquisitor or Calvin than a sensible man of letters, walks into a trap. For if our time is so precious that we should not waste it reading a hundred reputable authors, from Fielding to Day-Lewis, then why should we waste any time reading or listening to Dr. Leavis? This question may not occur to undergraduates, who are impressed by fierce dogmatism, because they are themselves inclined towards intolerance, sweeping generalisations, knock-you-down judgments, hell-for-leather criticism, and sit up half the night opening bottles of beer and roaring this stuff at one another. So when Dr. Leavis tells his audiences that Mr. Auden has never advanced beyond the undergraduate stage, he should be careful, for his own success with undergraduates might be explained by the fact that his critical methods and temper have much in common with those of the average second-year man. It is the critic that is not conducting a permanent quarrel with everybody, that has sensible relative values, that does not divide writing into literature and rubbish, that...
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Nothing will be gained by beating about the bush. To my astonishment, I found [D. H. Lawrence: Novelist] both difficult to read and unsatisfactory in several fundamental respects. At its best, Mr. Leavis's study of Lawrence is as good as, or better than, his essays in The Great Tradition or in The Common Pursuit. But one of the factors that account for its excellence, the author's strong emotional ties to his subject, tends to make him see virtues that are not there, and to overlook flaws that should have been discerned with the aid of the critical tools he employs. (p. 123)
We cannot trace, however, all the defects of Mr. Leavis's book to his reverence for Lawrence. We must go to his critical method, if we are to gain an adequate understanding of them. (p. 127)
What is astonishing about Mr. Leavis's critical theory is that, however sound it may be, it is anything but novel. It is also clear that his guiding preoccupation is moral. He is interested in discovering whether art ministers to life directly, or whether it does so indirectly, as a means of exploring imaginatively the consequences of actions. When we ask how, on Mr. Leavis's view, the artist achieves the presentment of life or reality, he gives us this answer: By observing faithfully and by recording truthfully what he observes. But beyond this, Mr. Leavis does not go. He does not show interest in the exploration of executive techniques...
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That Dr. Leavis approaches literature with a singular intensity is presumably by now a commonplace; and the intensity is usually thought of, I imagine, as manifesting itself primarily in Dr. Leavis's insistence upon the need for making continual strenuous discriminations and in the rather rigorous kind of engagement that he has often been involved in with other critics. But what is equally important, and much less frequently remarked upon, is that the intensity derives, fundamentally, from his no less formidable willingness to respond to a literary work with a completeness and an essential humility that are, one dares to say, all too rare at the present time…. [Dr. Leavis] approaches a literary work … as potentially the action of an individual who has the power to see, feel, experience and understand more than himself and from whom he may actually be able to learn something that will aid him in living, as a truly civilized being, to the full reach of his nature. (p. 142)
In Revaluation, New Bearings in English Poetry, and The Great Tradition, taken together, he has carried out nothing less than a sustained and radical reassessment of English poetry and fiction from the seventeenth century to the present day. In this formidable undertaking, it need hardly be said, Dr. Leavis's powers of generalization manifest themselves throughout. But they are powers that are so governed by a precise sense of the kind of audience...
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R. J. Kaufmann
[I mean] to recommend Leavis as a thinker, a "critical thinker" whose subject matter is the moral (not the moralistic) use of literature. The stress must fall equally on moral and literature, for it is precisely the distinction of Leavis that he has had the tact and intelligence largely to preserve this balance. (p. 248)
Seen from one perspective, Leavis's whole work is a series of wide-ranging, superlatively intelligent, violently partisan responses to the repellent and central fact of modern hugeness. Leavis joins Lawrence (whom he resembles as well as admires) in working to make it "impossible for us to ignore the nature of our loss" in our passage into the sought after privileges of life in the modern welfare state. Since it has never been his delusion that the world's change can be prevented, his mission has been the vitally direct one of preservation and practical continuity. Consequently, his work has had to be sociological as well as conventionally literary. In fact, it bears everywhere the traces of his realization that the ground held by literature had to be enlarged if she was to survive; hence we are periodically annoyed by that lack of finish which symptomizes the inspired co-ordinator of facts and insights which otherwise would have not been linked in the minds of his contemporaries. (pp. 249-50)
[The] rapidly maturing social sciences are a set of vocabularies and techniques for coping with the...
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J. B. Bamborough
One thing is certain: when the literary history (and for that matter, the social history) of England in the mid-twentieth century comes to be written, Leavis's influence is something which the historian will have to take into account…. [Leavis] has affected—and very often profoundly affected—the response to literature of perhaps thousands of students and readers, and if we allow 'influence' to cover every kind of effect (including violent and hostile reaction), it would be true to say that in the last thirty or more years hardly anyone seriously concerned with the study of English literature has not been influenced by him in some way. This could hardly be said of any other critic in the period except Mr. Eliot. Yet despite the extent of his power, the literary historian writing in, say, fifty years' time may find it very difficult to say exactly how important Leavis was, and in precisely what way, and he may find it impossible to discriminate between Leavis's influence and that of others, to disentangle the Leavis strand in the web of our period's cultural history. The reason for this is simple and basic. From the vantage-point of the historian, Leavis will be seen (as it is less easy to see him now) as a follower and not a leader, as part of a movement and not as an originator, and what may seem to us now important and vital differences between his work and that of others may seem in fifty years' time so subtle and tenuous as to be...
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Criticism, as Leavis conducts it, is the relevant, delicately attentive analysis of a complete response to literature; it is a commentary upon the act by which one enters into as full as possible a possession of the experience given in the words. When sensibility is made articulate there will be found in it elements of judgement and discrimination. But they are explicit in the account only because they are implicit in the response. They are distilled by the experience itself, not items carted in from outside. The method of Culture and Environment is the prolongation of this activity into the business of daily life. Culture and Environment shows a mind skilled and scrupulous in the critic's art interrogating its experience in the face of contemporary conditions, and finding there grounds for particular judgements and for a consistent general attitude. Without this poised attention to the texture of our experience—Leavis insists—the unavoidable accommodation to the environment becomes, in the context in which adjustment has to be made today, a helpless and total assimilation. (pp. 119-20)
[Leavis's effort] was to open a connection between sensibility and practical judgement, and to deploy the resources of literary taste in the interests of general civility; and to do this by bringing into conscious relation and articulate contrast the structure of our finest responses with the assumptions of our daily action. His...
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I am, I fear, too much of a theorist not to feel strongly the ambiguity, shiftiness, and vagueness of Leavis's ultimate value criterion. Life. In its implications and rejections it brings out the limitations of Leavis's concept of literature and the narrow range of his sympathies. Life for Leavis is first of all simply realist art—not merely in a sense of copying or transcribing a social situation, a dramatic, objective rendering of life, of course, but as we find it in Shakespeare and the English novel of the nineteenth century. In practice, Leavis has no sympathy for stylized, conventionalized art, the art defined in Ortega's Dehumanization of the Arts. This serious ideal of Life makes Leavis also suspicious of art which is merely playful, rococo, ornamental, aesthetic, formalistic in a narrow sense, while his optimism makes him hostile to out-and-out pessimists such as Hardy or Flaubert. Leavis's taste is rooted in nineteenth-century critical realism, to which he manages to add the early poetry of T. S. Eliot and a selection from the novels of D. H. Lawrence; The Rainbow and Women in Love in particular. He is really deeply hostile to what could be called modernism or avant-garde: to Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Auden, Dylan Thomas, to almost every author who has become prominent in the last thirty years. He clings, as I suppose we all do, to the discoveries of his youth: Conrad, Lawrence, Hopkins, the...
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Like certain writers of narrow, characteristic force, Leavis has set aside from the currency of language a number of words and turns of phrase for his singular purpose…. "Close, delicate wholeness"; "pressure of intelligence"; "concrete realisation"; "achieved actuality"—are phrases which carry Leavis' signature as indelibly as "high seriousness" bears that of Matthew Arnold.
The list is worth examining. It does not rely on jargon, on the shimmering technical obscurities which mar so much of American New Criticism. It is a spiky, gray, abstract parlance, heavy with exact intent. A style which tells us that Tennyson's verse "doesn't offer, characteristically, any very interesting local life for inspection," or that "Shakespeare's marvelous faculty of intense local realisation is a faculty of realising the whole locally" can be parodied with fearful ease. But what matters is to understand why Leavis "writes badly," why he insists on presenting his case in a grim suet of prose.
His refusal of elegance is the expression of a deep, underlying Puritanism. Leavis detests the kind of "fine" writing which by flash of phrase or lyric surge of argument obscures thinness of meaning or unsoundness of logic. He distrusts as spurious frivolity all that would embroider on the naked march of thought. His manner is easy to parody precisely because there lies behind it so unswerving a preoccupation with the matter in hand, so...
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That F. R. Leavis is a first-rate critical personality is certain, but that is by no means the same thing as saying that he is a first-rate literary critic. No doubt he has at times achieved that stature; at other times not at all. (p. 289)
What I chiefly like about Leavis' work are its Johnsonian qualities: the robustness, the firmness, the downrightness. He is not one to beat around the bush, to play the diplomat, to cultivate ambiguity, or to shun controversy. A critic in the Arnoldian tradition, he aspires, in his own words, "to the highest critical standards and the observance of the most scrupulous critical discipline"—an admirable aspiration in the attainment of which, however, he has, to my mind, failed quite as often as he has succeeded. For he is plagued by all the defects of his virtues. What I have in mind is not his plain speaking, of course, but rather the esprit de sérieux animating many of his critical pronouncements. It expresses itself in a kind of provincial moralism (by no means to be equated with the "marked moral intensity" he so esteems in his literary preferences), a protestant narrowness of sensibility, basically puritan; resulting in what seems to me the thoroughly unjustified rejection of Flaubert, Joyce, and other important literary artists of the modern line, a tendency to elevate "English studies" to the status of a major force in the shaping of culture if not of society itself, and his endless...
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George A. Panichas
For the shortcomings in Leavis' criticism we have cause for regret. Magnanimity, after all, is not without its place in the humane tradition of learning. But genius, mutatis mutandis, has its failings. In the end, I think, we shall remember Leavis (and Scrutiny) not for his hardness, or his harassments, but for disciplining us in how to read; for trying to save us from that "spiritual Philistinism" with its "implicit belief that the only reality we need take account of in ordering human affairs is what can be measured, aggregated and averaged"; for helping us to travel beyond the shadow line separating what is dull and dead from what is compellingly alive in our responses to literature as it has its significances and values in our lives and ultimately in the continuity of our culture. No student of English literature, and surely of any literature, can ignore the nature of this achievement in all its greatness of strength and integrity. (p. 388)
Leavis is the only other modern critic who shares with Eliot the honor of representing the critical discipline at its influential best. Together these two men provide a picture of great practicing critics writing in the English language, concerned with the formulation and the maintenance of "standards of discrimination," with specifying principles, and with a discipline to adhere to in terms of constantly coalescing literary and cultural positions. Ultimately, it should be...
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The problem of the practical critic who has ambitions as a social moralist as well is to stretch his microscopically intricate method of analysis into a medium of prophecy; his texts have to become tablets, his readings utterances of unalterable law, the corpus of his favourites an embattled cell of opponents to 'the American blankness' or the 'technologico-Benthamite civilisation'. As F. R. Leavis has declined from a critic into a lay preacher, he has turned what used to be a style of critical argument into one of rhetorical assertion. He no longer investigates texts, but plays games of skittles with them, setting up Antony and Cleopatra against All for Love or Conrad against Marry at or Lawrence against Tennyson. Formerly he used to respect the collaborative reader's murmured 'Yes, but—'; these days he briskly curtails discussion, saying that 'no one worth arguing with' would disagree.
The Living Principle is a work of reminiscential pugilism, fighting the old battles over again; those Scrutiny years in the trenches have the same mesmeric appeal that Namur and the site of his disabling wound had for poor Uncle Toby. Some new opponents are swiped at, a revisionist disciple (D. W. Harding) is rebuked, but despite the organicism of its title the book has a hasty, improvised look; it suspiciously resembles the turnedout contents of a bottom drawer. Critically, it makes some apt points against Eliot, demoting...
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Up to, and more or less including, the D. H. Lawrence book of 1955, [Leavis's] work has a singular coherence. Revaluation and New Bearings mapped out the terrain of English poetry; The Great Tradition and D. H. Lawrence, Novelist did the same for the novel. Leavis's views on teaching were given in Education and the University and in his introduction to Mill on Bentham and Coleridge, and the latter also indicated his line on 19th-century English thought. Any lacunae remaining were filled by the sparkling essays of For Continuity and The Common Pursuit. Even after 1955, the discussion of prose fiction was further extended by such studies as those of individual works by George Eliot, Mark Twain, Henry James and Joseph Conrad which are found in Anna Karenina and other essays….
Around 1963, however, a new era had begun. It heralded Leavis's retirement from lecturing at Cambridge and was marked by the publication of his Richmond Lecture on C. P. Snow and the Two Cultures. No lecture ever received more publicity. Partly it was a question of tone. One remembered the wry ironies of New Bearings and The Common Pursuit which were the results as much of the necessity for compression as of acerbity of temperament. But now one reeled before what amounted to a rhetorical onslaught. In 1963, the ironist was replaced by the prophet….
[Leavis's lecture on...
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A new book by Leavis on Lawrence,… some two decades after the ground-breaking [D. H. Lawrence: Novelist], might well have been an extraordinary event. I, for example, welcomed Thought, Words and Creativity with enthusiasm and high expectations. Here would be, I hoped, the provocative after-thoughts, the final corrections and extensions of understanding, the serenely authoritative wisdom that accrues to a powerful mind which has contemplated a subject for fifty years. But judged by these expectations, Thought, Words and Creativity is a very great disappointment. Leavis offers few new insights or even fresh ideas, demonstrates a remarkable lack of awareness of the other work on Lawrence which has been done since 1955, seems totally ignorant of modern cultural plurality (which has promoted both unspeakable vulgarity and philistinism, and deeply assimilated appreciation for Lawrencean values), and most sadly of all, rehearses all the old grievances against T. S. Eliot, which had provided Leavis with the polemical impetus of his earlier book. Indeed, Thought, Words and Creativity has so little of value to readers interested in Lawrence, as opposed to those interested in Leavis, that one is forced to conclude that Oxford has published it as an act of homage to Leavis's past greatness.
Leavis takes as his departure point T. S. Eliot's judgment, made in the thirties, that Lawrence was "incapable of what is...
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R. P. Bilan
The extensive critique of the Four Quartets which F. R. Leavis presents in The Living Principle (1975) perhaps brings to an end the lengthy history of his increasingly ambivalent response to T. S. Eliot. Beginning, in effect, as a disciple of Eliot's criticism and as the main advocate of his early poetry, Leavis has been led, with an almost inevitable logic, to a major confrontation with his one-time mentor. This revaluation of Four Quartets is particularly revealing of Leavis's basic assumptions, for in opposing Eliot's sense of reality he is forced to bring his own view of life to a new point of explicitness. (p. 151)
When the Four Quartets originally appeared Leavis accorded them the highest possible praise. In his review of the poems, entitled 'T. S. Eliot's Later Poetry' (1942), Leavis explicitly commended the exploration of the complexities of experience below the doctrinal or conceptual religious frame…. Leavis was totally appreciative of Eliot's poetry here, but in a slightly later review, 'Approaches to T. S. Eliot' (1947), he returned again to the question of Eliot's limitations as a critic, especially those revealed in his predominantly negative response to Lawrence. None the less, Leavis's assessment remained generally positive.
The publication of D. H. Lawrence: Novelist (1955) marks the decisive turning-point in Leavis's attitude towards Eliot. Hereafter his original...
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The humanist criticism of the nineteenth century persists in the work of F. R. Leavis. As critic and teacher for over forty years and as editor of Scrutiny, Leavis has been the modern embodiment of this critical tradition. His work provides an excellent measure of its present strengths and weaknesses. Against increasing skepticism about the legitimacy of high culture, Leavis has passionately argued that at stake in the defense of what he calls the great tradition is not simply English as a discipline but the creative spirit itself. (p. 69)
Leavis's work is most interesting and most problematic when he conceives of literature and society as threatened by the same corruptive forces. Against those forces he invokes the theme of vitality, of present life. (p. 75)
For Leavis the present moment is without life, because it has cut itself off from what is alive in the tradition…. Modern life is not merely the subject of modernist literature, it is in some sense its source for style and form. Fragmentation, deliberate incoherence, the absence of organic development (marked by a beginning, middle, and end) are converted from mere negatives to aesthetic values. Thus Joyce, or Leavis's version of Joyce, is anathema, and to the extent that Eliot "cultivates" the fragment and the still life, he is the object of severe censure.
Leavis's increasing ambivalence toward Eliot has corresponded with the...
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The greatest problem of criticism has always been to work with a sound understanding of the relationship between literary qualities and the values of life in general; the major errors have come either from treating literature too simply in terms of general ethics, or from trying to explain literary values in dissociation from other values. What Leavis developed was a language for evaluating emotion—in terms essentially of one's attitude to one's own emotions: was one nourishing them for their own sake or for the pleasure of the ego, or were they truly defined by their object? Underpinning the particular discussions he had a general account of the interdependence between fine distinctions of emotion and fine distinctions of language in any culture. He was then able to demonstrate that the nuances of suggestion that made particular words right or wrong in poetry did so because they conveyed acceptable or unacceptable attitudes to emotion, in the process of expressing it. Involved in this criticism was a picture of the individual nature, which could either be shapeless and chaotic, at the mercy of every whim of the ego, or could have the delicate whole organisation that would make fine and right feeling possible: the coherence and delicacy of this organisation being married, again, to the coherence and delicacy with which language was used—ideally in poetry.
Of course such an account does not cover all the ground; Leavis had a subtle...
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