F. R. Leavis Arthur Mizener - Essay

Arthur Mizener

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

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"...

(The entire section is 657 words.)