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English as a VocationThe 'Scrutiny' Movement$
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Christopher Hilliard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695171.001.0001

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Origins and Destinations

Origins and Destinations

(p.72) 3 Origins and Destinations
English as a Vocation

Christopher Hilliard

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an anatomy of the Downing English School. It reconstructs the undergraduate population from 1932 until Leavis's retirement in 1962 using archival records and establishes the social background of these students. The chapter goes on to identify the professions in which Leavis's pupils clustered and considers the connections and disconnects between their Cambridge education and their subsequent careers. The most common career choice was teaching, and significant numbers went on to become publishers, BBC staff, actors, and directors. Others made use of their training in professions alien or inimical to Leavis, such as advertising. Still others went on to careers in business or the professions. As well as being the leader of a movement, Leavis was a college teacher like other college teachers, working with undergraduates for whom literature would not be a vocation.

Keywords:   Downing College, Cambridge, grammar schools, public schools, working class, social mobility, meritocracy, Education Act 1944, Peter Hall, literary journalism

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