Memoirs of a Leavisite
The Decline and Fall of Cambridge English
David Ellis is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Kent. His previous books include 'Death and the author: how D. H. Lawrence died, and was remembered' (OUP, 2008) and 'Literary Lives: Biography and the search for understanding' (EUP, 2003).
Preface 1. Holloway 2. First Impressions 3. Sanctimonious prick? 4. Close reading 5. Time out 6. QDL 7. Class 8. Politics 9. France 10. The Richmond lecture 11. Loose end 12. Research 13. Theory 14. Australia 15. Shakespeare, Stendhal and James Smith 16. Teaching in the UK 17. Lawrence 18. …and Eliot 19. Epilogue Acknowledgements Bibliography Index
A personal memoir cannot pretend to be an easy introduction to the study of literature; yet the modest frankness with which he shows his colours, with no attempt to disguise personal preferences and standards (rather too cheerful to be strictly “Leavisian”), makes this “confession” a richly rewarding joy to read.
Archive fur das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen
Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, faculty, general readers.
Choice, Vol. 51. No. 07
David Ellis's final affirmation that the approach that Leavis advocated still provides the best insurance that he has come across against "the tendency of institutions to churn on regardless, quite cut off from any initial social aim or utility" resonates in the mind after one has closed this brief, tactful and deceptively quiet book.
Times Literary Supplement
I loved two works of non-fiction that could have been written just for me - Alwyn W Turner's A Classless Society and David Ellis's Memoirs of a Leavisite.
Leo Robson The New Statesman, 'Books of the Year 2013'
I also enjoyed David Ellis's Memoirs of a Leavisite (Liverpool University Press), an autobiography that, while providing first-hand evidence of Leavis's influence on university English departments the world over, distinguishes itself from many a work by Leavisite hands by its note of self-deprecation.
D. J. Taylor Times Literary Supplement 'Books of the Year 2013'
A memoir of beautifully evoked ghosts.
Times Higher Education
[A] wise, patient and delightful book.
A beautifully written, engaging and informative work ... It gives vivid and witty accounts of both F.R. and Q.D. Leavis’s fraught and often fractious relationships with colleagues and contemporaries, but the tone is never malicious or one-sided. Above all, it is a book about the role that literature might play in a life.
Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford
Size: 239 x 163 mm
Publication: March 28, 2013