The Importance of being Frank: Criticism, Collaboration, Pedagogy in F. R. Leavis
Leavis is often thought of as a naively moral critic, concerned with the moral content and tendency of the work to the exclusion of other values which might be covered by the term aesthetic. To the contrary, the imaginative component in creativity is crucial to his conception of literature, and its relation to history. Since he effectively worked out for himself an understanding of literature, language, and the making of history, this chapter is partly devoted to an exposition of Leavis's thought through these parallels. It illuminates the agon of personality and impersonality in Leavis and shows the intrinsic difficulty for him of collaboration. In this respect, he is a latter-day Rousseau, required to instantiate the virtues he affirms, and with a built-in propensity to paranoia.
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