F. R. Leavis

F. R. Leavis

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

(born July 14, 1895, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, Eng.—died April 14, 1978, Cambridge) British literary critic. He attended and later taught at Cambridge University. He brought a new seriousness to criticism, believing that the critic's duty is to assess works according to the author's moral position. He cofounded Scrutiny, a journal (published 1932–53) often regarded as his greatest contribution to English letters. His books include New Bearings in English Poetry (1932) and The Great Tradition (1948), in which he reassessed the English novel.

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