F. R. Leavis George Steiner - Essay

George Steiner

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

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...

(The entire section is 2101 words.)