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The ‘Third Realm’

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Abstract

The ‘third realm’1 is a way of conceiving the poem as being both independently ‘there’ and ‘there’ as a product of discussion. The ‘third realm’ is what distinguishes ‘literary-critical analysis’ from mathematics, scientific... philosophico-logical [or] biographical, psychological descriptions’.2 Leavis expands his idea of literary critical analysis as follows:

Analysis & in so far as it aims at establishing a favourable judgement, is the process of justifying the assumption that a poem which we take to be a real poem stands between us in what is in some sense a public world. Minds can meet in it and there is so essential a measure of concurrence as to its nature and constitution that there can be intelligent — that is, profitable — differing about what precisely it is. It is neither merely private, nor public in the sense that it can be brought into a laboratory, quantified, tripped over, or even pointed to — the only way to point to particulars in it is to put one’s finger on given spots in the assemblage of black marks on the page — and that assemblage is not the poem. The poem is a product and, in any experienced actual existence, a phenomenon, of human creativity the essentially collaborative nature of which it exemplifies in diverse distinguishable modes. And yet it is real.

Keywords

Scientific Management Mass Culture Literary Criticism Literary Work Culture Industry 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Thought, Language and Objectivity’, in F.R. Leavis, The Living Principle: English As a Discipline of Thought (London: Chatto & Windus, 1975) pp. 19–69, 36. Hereafter TL & 0 with page references given in the text. Leavis claims, though without explaining why, he ’threw out years ago’ the ’formulation of the ‘third realm’, nor does he explain why he feels the need to restore it here. In any case, the phrase can be found passim throughout his work.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Thought, Meaning and Sensibility: The Problem of Value Judgement’, in F.R. Leavis, Valuation in Criticism and Other Essays, ed. G. Singh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) pp. 285–97, 287. Hereafter TM & S with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Luddites? Or There Is Only One Culture’, in F.R. Leavis, Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion and Social Hope (London: Chatto & Windus, 1972) pp. 77–99, 98. Hereafter TIOC with page references given in the text. For what Leavis means by. ’human’ see ibid., p. 94.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Literature and Society’ in F.R. Leavis, The Common Pursuit (Harmondsworth: Penguin/Chatto & Windus, 1962 /1993) pp. 182–94, 187. Hereafter L & S with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Judgement and Analysis’, in Leavis, The Living Principle: English As a Discipline of Thoughts, pp. 71–154, 90. Hereafter J& A with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
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  7. 7.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Mutually Necessary’, in F.R. Leavis, The Critic As AntiPhilosopher, ed. G. Singh (London: Chatto & Windus, 1982) pp. 186–208, 190. Hereafter MN with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
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    Jacques Derrida, ‘Differance’, in Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1982) pp. 3, 27, 9.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 18.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ibid., p. 9. See also p. 13: ‘An interval must separate the present from what it is not in order for the present to be itself, but this interval that constitutes it as present must, by the same token, divide the present in and of itself, thereby also dividing, along with the present, everything that is thought on the basis of the present... every being and... substance or the subject.’Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 26.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., p. 11.Google Scholar
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  15. 15.
    I am thinking of criticism as a system in so tar as it has a certain methodology. This is a clumsy term to use in respect of Leavis but it is partly justified by his demand that criticism should be disciplined, relevant and precise in order to realise what is there in the text.Google Scholar
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    Derrida’s comments on ‘the trace’ seem relevant here. 5ee llerrida, ’Différance’, p. 24.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., p. 3.Google Scholar
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    The idea of language as a system or a structure seems to be a good instance of Adorno’s remark that ‘the bureaucratic way of thinking has become the secret model for a thought allegedly still free’, T.W. Adomo, Negative Dialectics, trans. E.B. Ashton (London: Routledge, 1973/1990) p. 32.Google Scholar
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  38. 74.
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    The dominance of the optical metaphor in Leavis’s criticism may be accounted for by his empiricism. Traditionally, ’empiricist inquiry is limited by its schematic reliance on optical models of cognition and judgement, a reliance that leads to highly problematic analogies between language and visual perception and to the mistaken belief that interpreting a text is like ‘seeing’ an object. (Jules David Law, The Rhetoric of Empiricism: Language and Perception from Locke to I.A. Richards (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993) p. 2.)Google Scholar
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  42. 79.
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    Wittgenstein, quoted by Leavis in ‘Mutually Necessary’, p. 208. The quotation comes from Norman Malcolm’s Memoir of Wittgenstein (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958) p. 39.Google Scholar
  47. 88.
  48. 89.
    Barry Cullen, “’I thought I had provided something better” - F.R. Leavis, Literary Criticism and Anti-Philosophy’, in Gary Day, The British Critical Tradition (London: Macmillan, 1993) pp. 188–212, 197.Google Scholar
  49. 90.
    ‘What parades as progress in the culture industry, as the incessantly new which it offers up, remains the disguise for an eternal sameness’. T.W. Adorno, ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered’ in Adomo, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, pp. 85–92, 87.Google Scholar
  50. 91.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Anna Karenina: Thought and Significance in a Great Creative Work’, in F.R. Leavis, Anna Karenina and Other Essays (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973) pp. 1–32, 18, 32. Hereafter AK with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
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    Meaning is that which is represented by a text; it is what the author meant by his use of a particular sign sequence; it is what the signs represent. Significance, on the other hand, names a relationship between that meaning and a person, or a conception or a situation or indeed anything imaginable’. (E.D. Hirsch, The Aims of Interpretation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976) p. 8.)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Gary Day 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityBedfordUK

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