By F. R. Leavis

Dr Leavis's choice from Scrutiny offers in volumes vital fabric which isn't simply to be had in other places. even though many famous books have already been derived from Scrutiny, those volumes don't replica fabric in these books, and so they provide loads of another way uncollected fabric by way of Dr & Mrs Leavis themselves. the choice concentrates on English literature and literary feedback, and likewise displays Scrutiny's good fortune, from the Nineteen Thirties to the Nineteen Fifties, in commenting at the vital writers of the time. quantity I starts with a suite of reviews through Mrs Q. D. Leavis on educational traditions. There follows a piece of stories of T. S. Eliot, Yeats, Pound, and more moderen poets. sections on 'Literary tradition' and 'The Literary global' touch upon minor writers and on literary lifestyles and associations (including Dr Leavis's celebrated 'Keynes, Spender and foreign money Values').

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One of those who took this newly founded Cambridge Higher Local Examination for women was Mary Paley. Educated like so many Victorian women by mere governesses and fathers, she nevertheless was successful enough to be offered one of the first Cambridge scholarships. Hence the piquant spectacle of the grandson of Paley's Evidences, an Evangelical cleric, bringing his daughter up to Cambridge in '71 to place her in the charge of the sister of the infidel poet Clough (her orthodoxy was in fact gradually undermined, by, as she writes, * Mill's Inductive Logic and Ecce Homo and Herbert Spencer and the general tone of thought').

His critical credo is constantly implied in the essays Hours in a Library (three volumes), Studies of a Biographer (four volumes) and the fragmentary English Literature and Society in the Eighteenth Century. It corresponds generally to the position that we hold to-day: After all, though criticism cannot boast of being a science, it ought to aim at something like a scientific basis, or at least to proceed in a scientific spirit. The 2 9 THE CAMBRIDGE TRADITION critic, therefore, before abandoning himself to the oratorical impulse, should endeavour to classify the phenomena with which he is dealing as calmly as if he were ticketing a fossil in a museum.

Art is not amoral and everything is not as valuable as everything else. Stephen did not apply a moral touchstone naively. In practice the question at issue is, can we or can we not diagnose Sterne's limitations and George Eliot's only partial success as artists in terms of these writers' make-up? Stephen thought he could and we think he did. The position we share with Leslie Stephen has 25 THE CAMBRIDGE TRADITION been admirably stated by Mr L. H. Myers in the Preface to The Root and the Flower', where he says that' Proust, for instance, by treating all sorts of sensibility as equal in importance, and all manifestations of character as standing on the same plane of significance, adds nothing to his achievement, but only draws attention to himself as aiming at the exaltation of a rather petty form of aestheticism.

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