There is no one conclusion that can be drawn from the different approaches I have taken to Leavis. Indeed, my aim has been to show that there can be no single reading of his work because it is far more diverse and ambivalent than has usually been recognised. To this end, I have approached Leavis from a broadly post-structuralist perspective since such a perspective views any given text, ostensibly at any rate, as inherently plural. In doing so, I hope to have shown that there are affinities between certain aspects of Leavis’s work and parts of poststructuralist thought, though without collapsing the two together.


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  1. 2.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘The Literary Discipline and Liberal Education’, in F.R. Leavis, Valuation in Criticism and Other Essays, ed. G. Singh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986) pp. 167–83, 176. Hereafter LD with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    F.R. Leavis, ‘Valuation in Criticism’, in ibid., pp. 276–84, 280. Hereafter VC with page references given in the text.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Jacques Derrida, ‘Differance’, in Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1982), pp. 1–27, 3.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Firstly, there [can] be no developed thought - thought about life - without a highly developed language. Secondly, the most complete use of the English language... is in the major works of great creative writers. Thirdly, every creative writer of the greatest kind knows that in a major work he is developing thought - thought about life. Leavis, ‘Valuation in Criticism’, p. 287.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    David Parker, ‘The Turn to Ethics in the 1990s’, in The Critical Review Vol. 33, November 1993, pp. 3–14,13. See also Christopher Cordner, ’F.R. Leavis and the Moral in Literature’, in Richard Freadman and Lloyd Rheinhart (eds) On Literary Theory and Philosophy: A Cross Disciplinary Encounter (London: Macmillan, 1991) pp. 60–81.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    For a full discussion of this expression see Jean-Francois Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. Georges Van Den Abeele (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gary Day 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityBedfordUK

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