F. R. Leavis

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Leavis, F. R.

Leavis, F. R. (Frank Raymond Leavis) (lēˈvĭs), 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. Leavis.


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

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A PG Phillips B RS Thomas C FR Leavis D TE Howard 11.
As Matthew Francis pointed out in a piece marking the 50th anniversary of the speech, Wilson's declaration of intent took place against the backdrop of a public argument between scientist CP Snow, who had accused the ruling classes of being "natural Luddites" and literary critic FR Leavis; in essence, it was science versus culture, a destructive polarisation whose effects can still be felt.
How come that the revered literary critic and Austen champion FR Leavis missed that one?
On the way we talked about literature and the impact of FR Leavis, the great Cambridge Shakespearian scholar, on the writing of Eleanor Rigby, and Paul's feelings on the likelihood that his songs will still be sung in 500 years' time.
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