F. R. Leavis


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Leavis, F. R.

(Frank Raymond Leavis) (lē`vĭs), 1895–1978, English critic and teacher. Leavis was one of the most influential literary critics of the 20th cent. A formidable controversialist, he combined close textual analysis with a commitment to moral seriousness and provided a carefully constructed canon of worthwhile recent English literature. His works include New Bearings in English Poetry (1932), The Great Tradition (1948), The Common Pursuit (1952), D. H. Lawrence, Novelist (1955), and Anna Karenina and Other Essays (1968). He was editor and cofounder of the influential quarterly Scrutiny from 1932 until its demise in 1953. From 1936 to 1962, Leavis was a fellow at Downing College, Cambridge. He excoriated "mass culture" in his writings on education and society: Mass Civilization and Minority Culture (1930), Education and the University (1943), and English Literature in Our Time and the University (1969). Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope (1972) was a collection of lectures. He was married to Q. D. LeavisLeavis, Q. D.
(Queenie Dorothy Leavis), 1906–81, British literary critic; wife of F. R. Leavis. After studying at Cambridge, she wrote Fiction and the Reading Public (1932), which analyzed the market for different types of fiction among readers).
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Bibliography

See studies by F. Mulhern (1978), and F. P. Bilan (1979).

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At this point there entered the debate one of the literary intellectuals, the almost archetypal figure of a literary critic in the shape of F.