Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Writers, Readers, and ReputationsLiterary Life in Britain 1870-1918$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Philip Waller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 February 2020

The Great Tradition

The Great Tradition

Chapter:
(p.175) 5 The Great Tradition
Source:
Writers, Readers, and Reputations
Author(s):

Philip Waller (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.003.0005

The idea of a ‘Great Tradition’ in English literature, made famous in F. R. Leavis's book of that title in 1948, had 19th-century origins in the concern of many critics — among them Henry James and Leslie Stephen — to distinguish superior from inferior literature and to define a canon of works of permanent value. This was considered a patriotic as well as educative duty. However, the membership and pecking order of the canon caused much debate; and its constituents looked different in 1918, not only from Leavis's in 1948, but from those on whom critics could agree in 1870 or 1900. The assessment made of writers in The Dictionary of National Biography provides one such measure. This chapter draws on a variety of sources to explain the changing appreciations over the period that occurred in respect of Jane Austen, Robert Browning, Dickens, George Eliot, George Meredith, Ruskin, Sir Walter Scott, Swinburne, Tennyson, Thackeray, and Trollope.

Keywords:   great Tradition, canon, dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .