F. R. Leavis Peter Conrad - Essay

Peter Conrad

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

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...

(The entire section is 1087 words.)