A critical life
One peculiarly inappropriate observation may be worth commenting on. Edmund Wilson was a critic whose work Leavis recommended on at least one occasion, but he was a very minor figure. However, Hawtree extols his wide range, contrasting this with Leavis's dwelling on "a few authors". I have just looked at the contents page of Leavis's The Common Pursuit and find that it contains the names of Eliot, Milton, Hopkins, Swift, Pope, Johnson, Shakespeare, Bunyan, Henry James, Wyndham Lewis, Lawrence, Keynes and EM Forster (and this is only one of the 20 Leavis volumes listed by MacKillop). What one can perhaps agree is that the authors he wrote about were invariably ones worth reading. Moreover, reading his criticism invariably leads one back to the author with increased understanding and enjoyment.
FRANK WHITEHEAD 26 Victoria Road, Sheffield