A Selection from Scrutiny: Volume 2 by F. R. Leavis

By F. R. Leavis

Quantity 2 of a variety from Scrutiny opens with Mrs Leavis's a lot quoted reviews, which jointly shape 'A serious thought of Jane Austen's Writings'. There follows a bit of stories of novelists (Dorothy Richardson, Gissing, Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Henry James), and Mrs Leavis's learn of Edith Wharton. Then there are 3 of James Smith's essays: the prestigious 'Preliminary Survey' of Wordsworth; the both celebrated 'On Metaphysical Poetry' and the research of As you're keen on It. a bit on 'The English culture' reprints experiences of Jefferies, Beatrice Webb, Sturt and Piers Plowman.

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Nor is there anything of the other drama conducted in London between Edmund and Mary except retrospectively in Edmund's reports to Fanny. Characters are separated and distributed about the country for little other reason than that they may write to one another. Fanny's going to Portsmouth, which has been condemned by critics on aesthetic grounds as marring the unity of the novel, was, I believe, devised for the 1808-9 version as an opportunity for all the Bertram and Crawford complications to be cleared up in letters to and from Fanny, leaving only a Conclusion by the author to wind up, a conclusion differing from that of Lady Susan only in having more characters to polish off.

LEAVIS ( l 9 4 l ) c Lady Susan9 into

She is not at all a stock character, as the others are, who are merely indicated in relation to Lady Susan and her intrigues. Thirdly, there is the situation created by Lady Susan's irruption into the life of Churchill: the hero oscillating between doubts as to the reality of his idealization of Lady Susan, his self-deception, and his uncertainty of his mistress's affection for him, is watched by a sister in more than sisterly distress (with the added exasperation of a woman whose husband is being imposed on by a sister-in-law), and whose feelings are set down with more than the requisite exactness; parallel to this sister's, we have reported the feelings of the subordinate heroine, Frederica, who similarly watches the hero deceiving himself all round, but watches with the despair of a hopeless passion.

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