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F. R. Leavis (1895–1978)

Forfatter af The Great Tradition

39+ Works 1,254 Members 8 Reviews

Om forfatteren

Omfatter også følgende navne: Leavis F.R., Leavis F. R, Frank R. Leavis, Frank Raymond Leavis

Disambiguation Notice:

(eng) The works listed as by "F.R. and Q.D. Leavis" are jointly authored by Leavis and his wife, Queenie Dorothy Roth.

Værker af F. R. Leavis

The Great Tradition (1948) 292 eksemplarer
The Common Pursuit (1900) 160 eksemplarer
New Bearings in English Poetry (1932) 127 eksemplarer
D. H. Lawrence: Novelist (1955) 126 eksemplarer
Dickens the Novelist (1970) 79 eksemplarer
The Critic as Anti-Philosopher (1982) 45 eksemplarer
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1945) — Bidragyder — 31 eksemplarer
Anna Karenina and Other Essays (1967) 23 eksemplarer
A Selection from Scrutiny: Volume 1 (1968) — Redaktør — 21 eksemplarer
Education and the University (1943) 13 eksemplarer

Associated Works

En dråbe negerblod (1894) — Introduktion, nogle udgaver3,037 eksemplarer
The Ambassadors [Norton Critical Edition, 2nd ed.] (1963) — Bidragyder — 136 eksemplarer
Mill on Bentham and Coleridge (1950) — Redaktør, nogle udgaver77 eksemplarer
Shakespeare: Othello (1971) — Bidragyder — 36 eksemplarer
Henry James: Selected Literary Criticism (1978) — Preface — 20 eksemplarer
Complex Fate, The (1967) — Bidragyder — 4 eksemplarer

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Juridisk navn
Leavis, Frank Raymond
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Emmanuel College, Cambridge (BA|1921)
Emmanuel College, Cambridge (PhD|1924)
The Perse School
literary critic
Leavis, Q. D. (spouse)
Rouse, W. H. D. (teacher)
Quiller-Couch, Arthur (teacher)
Scrutiny (founder ∙ editor)
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Downing College, Cambridge
Friends' Ambulance Unit (WWI)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Priser og hædersbevisninger
Companion of Honour (1978)
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Kort biografi
F.R. Leavis was a highly influential British literary and cultural critic. He founded the journal Scrutiny in 1932. F.R. collaborated with his wife Q.D. (Queenie) Leavis on numerous works.
Oplysning om flertydighed
The works listed as by "F.R. and Q.D. Leavis" are jointly authored by Leavis and his wife, Queenie Dorothy Roth.



I mean, it's bloody absurd from start to finish, but Leavis' great passion should be how we all feel about literature. Strong opinions aren't bad, no matter what some would have us believe in the modern era, and we can at least walk away with that moral. And perhaps a willingness to reread Hard Times in case Leavis was right all along...?
therebelprince | 2 andre anmeldelser | Oct 24, 2023 |
Arguably the first media studies text? An early example of a critical approach to popular culture. A starting point for anyone tracing the history of media studies in the UK.
pete_rowanbank | Jul 9, 2023 |
D H Lawrence: Novelist in which Dr F R Leavis makes a case for Lawrence being one of the truly great novelists; clearly setting out his reasons why this is so:

The introduction states that his aim is to win clear recognition for the nature of Lawrence’s greatness as a novelist, concentrating mainly on his two major novels “The Rainbow and Women in Love and some of the novellas and short stories. In the chapter “Lawrence and Art” he firmly refutes T S Eliot’s criticisms, pointing out that Eliot’s attitude to life gleaned from his work is one of distaste and disgust, this is following a line taken up by Flaubert and continued even in the work of Joyce. By contrast Lawrence’s work is life affirming; an intelligence at work that Eliot failed to understand. Leavis then goes onto discuss what he considers to be Lawrence’s minor novels; Aarons Rod, Kangaroo, The Plumed Serpent and Lady Chatterley’s lover.

The chapter Lawrence and Class is concerned with emphasising Lawrence’s ability to transcend class. He is equally at home writing about working class people and mining communities as well as the middle classes and the aristocracy. His powerful observation, his interest in human beings allows him to write with a clear perspective. His writing has a fundamental reverence for life, whatever the class or the race of people he is writing about. His writing has a superiority of moral sensibility over all of his contemporaries and I would say that this has never been equalled since.

Lawrence and Tradition highlights Lawrence’s work as a recorder of essential English history in his two greatest novels. The Rainbow in particular shows the incomparable wealth of the novel as social and cultural history. Leavis sees him carrying on the tradition of George Eliot, but taking it further and deeper than she was prepared to go. Lawrence’s ability to see the whole picture, his wholeness in his response and the intelligence of the great artist allows him to render the vividness of all varieties of life, human and non-human. Leavis quotes many examples from “The Rainbow” to enable him to make his case. Lawrence is able to use his experience; to benefit from his upbringing when writing about working class people as he sweeps through three generations of the Brangwen family providing a document for the times as well as deep analysis of the psyche of a nation.

Leavis then goes on to discuss “Women in Love” which he believes is Lawrence’s finest achievement. It contains a presentation of modern civilization; 20th century England that has never been equalled. He does this through the portrayal of the individual lives of Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, who develop a relationship with Birkin who contains elements of the author in much of what he says and introduces them to his friend Gerald Crich. We follow the struggles of Gerald the industrialist the man who wishes to impose his will on everything that he comes across, and we follow him inexorably throughout the course of the novel to his death a burnt out man in the whiteness of the snow. In this novel Lawrence shows the individual life in its inescapable relations with others. He had never been so sure of his powers as he probes the depths of feelings of his characters and the dialogue sparkles as they play out the forces of their psyche, which at times they seem to have no knowledge of, or are unable to control. The novel has great structure to it and hardly a page goes by when there is not some new insight into the characters and their actions. There are fine examples from thy book provided to underline Leavis’s reading.

In discussing the short story “The Captains Doll” Leavis says that we are made to reflect with a fresh wonder:

“that never was there a greater master of what is widely supposed to be the novelist’s distinctive gift: the power to register, to evoke, life and manners with convincing vividness - evoke in the ‘created’ living presence that compels us to recognise truth, strength and newness of the perception it records. To say that he exercises it incomparably over the whole social range doesn’t suggest the full marvel.”

Leavis saves his greatest praise for the Novella “St Mawr”. He calls it a dramatic poem that presents a creative and technical originality more remarkable than T S Eliot’s “The Waste Land”. He claims that at the end of the 180 odd pages it is if we had had a representative view of the civilized world. St Mawr does contain some of Lawrence’s finest writing and there is an undeniable power in the story telling that does have the feel of a dramatic poem. The writing here seems to flow, everything about it seems just right. Lawrence captures the wonder and reverence of life perfectly, in the colloquialisms and the slang of the speech of the two grooms or the intimate tete-a-tetes between the mother and the daughter. And in the background their looms the iconic figure of the stallion St Mawr; the life force of the story.

Leavis points out that the short stories in themselves make a lasting claim for the greatness of Lawrence. He wrote more than 50 and only a handful of these could not be considered great art. There is tremendous variety in the social context and the presentation of his characters contain such force and reality because they are inseparably studies of the society to which they belong. I think the word studies is appropriate to most of these tales. They are not journalist short stories that surprise and delight the reader with a cunning twist at the end; they do however surprise and delight the reader with writing that reveals at firsthand Lawrence’s insight into human experience. Leavis examines about a dozen of the tales highlighting Lawrence’s skills, his use of irony that never seems malicious, his use of speech that reveals so much of his characters. He has a tremendous ear for accents and dialects. Leavis claims that taken together the short stories represent one of the major creative achievements of literature.

I agree with most of what Leavis says although I think he has been too much seduced by the power of St Mawr, fine story though it is. He is also overly pre-occupied with refuting past criticism of Lawrence’s work and has a particular bone to pick with T S Eliot that leads him to compare St Mawr with The Wasteland. His intention from the start was to secure Lawrence’s place in the canon of English writers and he certainly achieves this. His method of close reading of selections from the text does serve to make his points particularly well. He does miss some tricks however; there is hardly any analysis of Lawrence’s style and method, which broke new ground I think in contemporary writing and by limiting himself to the novels he ignores one of the finest poets of the 20th century as well as a superb essayist and letter writer, It should be remembered that the book was published in 1955 and so more recent criticism of Lawrence has not been taken into account.

I am glad I read this as it has re-kindled my interest in Lawrence. Really no one has ever written quite like him and much contemporary literature falls far short of the standards set by him.
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baswood | Jun 10, 2012 |

Back in my Cambridge undergraduate days, we Natural Scientists had a joke about the guy studying English who did not want to look out of the window in the morning, because then he would have had nothing to do in the afternoon. But as I have got more interested in sf criticism, I have felt that maybe I did miss something by not sampling what was on offer in terms of literature studies in the department which was still resting on its laurels from the glory days of Leavis (or rather the Leavises). So I picked up this volume to get a sense of what, if anything, I have been missing.

Well, it's as I expected in one way: Leavis is very judgmental and allows little room for argument. The first half-sentence affirms that "[t]he great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad", and the rest of the book is an elaboration of the greatness of the latter three (Jane Austen having received a separate book of her own). Not having read much of the authors in question, let alone of those who Leavis dismisses as less than great, I can only really react by assessing whether or not Leavis gives me a fresh understanding of those books that I have in fact read, and also by taking his recommendations of books I haven't read as potential future reading.

Leavis does not really satisfy me on the first count. His concept of "greatness" is nowhere clearly enough defined for me to feel whether or not I agree with it, let alone whether or not it's a useful criterion for assessing the quality of a novel. We all know that there are good books and bad books, and most of us will agree that, say, Pride and Prejudice is good, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is bad, and American Gods is good but flawed. Not everyone will do so: there are plenty of people who find Austen's prose impenetrable, Bach deep and meaningful, or Gaiman either indigestible or worthy of uncritical admiration. It is sometimes nice to imagine that there are vaguely objective criteria out there which one can appeal to, and I had sort of hoped that Leavis would fairly clearly signpost what those criteria might be. But he doesn't.

However, if I take Leavis' analysis as an expression of taste, his taste is sufficiently close to mine (we diverge on Wuthering Heights, where I know that I am in the minority who find the book pretty unappealing, but are agreed on Middlemarch and Heart of Darkness) that I did find his recommendations of other novels worth reading, including several by writers outside his chosen few, very interesting.
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nwhyte | 2 andre anmeldelser | Oct 30, 2010 |


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