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« Albert Einstein on Compound Interest -- and Reality | Main | The title sequence of "Ocean's 11" (1960) by Saul Bass »

June 16, 2022


Really interesting, David. I have barely read Leavis but always found his listing of Great Noevlists, who made the cut and who did't, tedious and just unhelpful. Does anyone remember Snow either? The answer is to read the books you refer to...

When I was at Cambridge 1958-60, the controversy seemed to settle around Leavis vs. David Daiches, who professed an inclusive, joyful reaction to literature that seemed to me a more cogent reason to spend your life at it than the furious "standards" of Leavis. But the latter had a fiercely loyal following, no doubt of it. No, I think, his influence has not lasted. You can say the same of Daiches, though forty years later a very bright student came into my office with a copy of his "Milton," saying, "I've finally found someone who can explain Paradise Lost to me!" There's legacy in that.

Thank you, Janet Burroway, for the excellent comment. And Rachel, I doubt anyone born in this century has heard of either Leavis or Snow, but the debate was fascinating, the outcome alas one-sided.

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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