This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Scrutiny, the English critical journal that exerted so great an influence on the entire Anglo-American literary world from 1932 until its demise about two decades later. Yet important though Scrutiny was, anyone, interested in how and why it mattered can more profitably spend his time on the work of its editor and chief contributor, F. R. Leavis, than by reading through the back issues. It is true that many people besides Leavis himself wrote for Scrutiny and that a few of the Scrutiny regulars—D. W. Harding, L. C. Knights, Marius Bewley, and Q. D. Leavis—were excellent critics in their own right. But it is equally true that they—not to mention their less distinguished fellows—rarely dissented in any significant degree from Leavis’s ideas and judgments. Scrutiny, in short, was Leavis....


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