Leavis: Life, Work and Heritage

  • Steven CranfieldEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


This chapter gives an overview of Leavis’s life and work, his intellectual heritage and legacy. The first part of the life takes us up to the completion of Leavis’s doctoral studies, with an intervening period of nearly four years’ service in the Great War. The middle period is the Leavis of maximum influence, of the establishing of the Cambridge English School, the journal Scrutiny, the major educational statement Education and the university and ground-breaking critical texts such as The great tradition. During this time Leavis, despite institutional discouragement and lack of recognition, exerts considerable sway over the contemporary literary and educational scene. A third stage opens with his retirement from teaching at Cambridge amid the controversy aroused by his valedictory attack on C. P. Snow’s The two cultures. This stage is marked by Leavis’s association with the University of York, and the issuing of several texts on literary and socio-educational themes. The chapter considers the grounding of Leavis’s cultural critique and the subsequent development of Leavis studies.


Leavis Cambridge English Modernism Scrutiny Literary criticism Higher education Matthew Arnold Ortega y Gasset 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Leadership and Professional Development, Westminster Business SchoolUniversity of WestminsterLondonUK

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