F. R. Leavis John Harvey - Essay

John Harvey

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

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...

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