The Great Tradition Revisited

  • Norman Page


One of the most interesting unwritten books of our time was promised, or at least adumbrated, in the second sentence of F. R. Leavis’s The Great Tradition. 1 I suppose some of us can still recall the frisson of astonishment with which, more than a quarter of a century ago, we read the opening sentence of that book — a sentence reminiscent in its resonant, uncompromising simplicity of the opening of Genesis:

The great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad …


Moral Intensity Corroborative Evidence Great Tradition Late Fifty Secret Agent 


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  1. 27.
    P. N. Furbank and F. J. H. Haskell, ‘E. M. Forster’, Paris Review, I (1953) p. 39.Google Scholar
  2. 28.
    P. N. Furbank, ‘The Personality of E. M. Forster’, Encounter xxxv (Nov 1970) p. 65.Google Scholar
  3. 29.
    Duke Maskell, ‘Style and Symbolism in Howards End’, Essays in Criticism, XIX (1969) pp. 292–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1976

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  • Norman Page

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