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).

References in periodicals archive ?
Eliot into the Leavisite school of Literary Criticism.
Certainly these texts cannot be understood or rendered valuable in Leavisite terms that privileged densely symbolic highbrow literature or in the nationalist terms that would later dominate university literature courses in Canada.
It had on the one hand the inheritance of the Leavisite literary criticism it was trying to escape from, and on the other the crude Marxism it had rejected.
As I will show, Belsey herself writes about English studies from a distinctive position, summoning French theory to interrogate the residual empiricism and moralism of the Leavisite tradition in English letters, while mobilizing the interventionist energies of the British academic left to query what she perceives as quietist and often antiquarian tendencies in the American academy.
The literary press in Britain has eagerly taken up the Leavisite slack, moonlighting as the moral advocate of the self-consciously middlebrow.
There is no trace of Leavisite pickiness in his choice of examples as he also invites us to think about and then enjoy some splendidly uncanonical works like chapbooks, the Russian lubki and modern Japanese manga.
Ngugi's concern with the relationship between literature and the educational system is, according to Gikandi, a symptom of his inability to overcome the ideology embedded in the Arnoldian and Leavisite basis of his formal education at Alliance High School and Makerere University: "[w]hile the gist of Ngugi's essays on the teaching of literature in the postcolony was his critique of the continuing hegemony of English in Kenya schools, he was not troubled by the fact that his view that literature reflected 'the life of a people' in words and images was, in effect, an endorsement of colonial Englishness" (GIKANDI, 2000, p.
Unapologetically Leavisite and patronizing in his conception of a "common reader," Kiberd seeks a reader who is an "amateur," is seemingly "innocent" and "naive" in interpretation, has an "ordinary" job and needs a piece of "wisdom literature," such as Ulysses, to learn how to sanctify and get the most out of everyday life.
Not, I hasten to add, that studying English in South Africa's Leavisite English departments ended up being entirely devoid of embarrassment.
In a delightfully vicious send-up of a Leavisite academic article, Ethan Coen, writing in the introduction to the published screenplay of Big Lebowski as "Sir Anthony Forte-Bowell [.
You will be happy to know that he thought it was worth watching, but it is almost impossible for me to describe the earnestness, the pain, the visible writhings of his moral and intellectual conscience (this was the approved Leavisite style of operation) with which he made the case for what was after all just a movie, but one which he painstakingly placed in an intermedia, interdisciplinary summum bonum, summa cum laude canon-to-end-all-canons trinity of ultimate greatness along with Plato's Symposium and Mozart's Cosi fan tutte.
The lost object of the literary text--or the literature-and-philosophy principle that later emerged as "theory," to use Redfield's terms--did function to conceal its nationalist operations through the fantasy of Leavisite culture surrounding it in earlier times.