Heward Wilkinson's blog

Green Leavis

Not Anti-Science but ‘Green’ before green was mainstream


“ 'They have the future in their bones,' said Lord Snow of his scientific friends. His intention was plainly euphoric, but we can't help thinking of those unintended consequences of man's mastery which already manifest themselves in his bones. Lord Todd, of course, is professionally more interested in the chemical control of nature than in the potentialities of nuclear fission. My point, however, at the moment is that the Snow-Todd mode of thought, or non-thought, eliminates cultural continuity, excluding thus any more adequate idea of 'society' than that which belongs to Social Studies.”


Leavis, FR. (1972) 'Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope' in Nor Shall My Sword, p. 182, London: Chatto and Windus


QD Leavis on Wuthering Heights

"I would make a plea, then, for criticism of Wuthering Heights to turn its attention to the human core of the novel, to recognize its truly human centrality. How can we fail to see that the novel is based on an interest in, concern for, and knowledge of, real life? We cannot do it justice, establish what the experience of reading it really is, by making analyses of its lock and window imagery, or by explaining it as being concerned with children of calm and children of storm, or by putting forward such bright ideas as that ‘Wuthering Heights might be viewed at long range as a variant of the demon-lover motif’ (The Gates of Horn, H. Levin) or that ‘Nelly Dean is Evil’ ---these are the products of an age which conceives literary criticism as either a game or an industry, not as a humane study.

Milton's Verse

'Here, if this were a lecture, would come illustrative reading-out—say of the famous opening to Book III. As it is, the point seems best enforcible (though it should be obvious at once to anyone capable of being convinced at all) by turning to one of the exceptionally good passages—for everyone will agree at any rate that there are places where the verse glows with an unusual life. One of these, it will again be agreed, is the Mulciber passage at the end of Book I:







The hasty multitude Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise

And some the Architect: his hand was known

In Heav'n by many a Towred structure high.

Where scepter'd Angels held thir residence.

And sat as Princes, whom the supreme King

Exalted to such power, and gave to rule.

Reply to Richard Stotesbury on behalf of 'Pseuds Corner'

Reply on behalf of 'Pseuds Corner'

‘Readers may be excused for supposing at this point that they have strayed into Private Eye’s pseuds corner.’ Richard Stotesbury (http://www.stotesbury-reviews.com/?page_id=21)

In the spirit of Gaunilo’s reply to Anselm of Canterbury ‘On behalf of the fool’, I venture an all-too-incomplete reply, to Richard Stotesbury’s somewhat evangelical attack on the Leavis Society, on behalf of 'Pseuds Corner'. One is reminded of the interchange between Boswell and Johnson over Johnson’s pamphlet ‘Taxation no Tyranny’ (1778):

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