F. R. Leavis

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This is a critical introduction to the educational thought of F. R. Leavis (1895-1978), the greatest English literary critic of the twentieth century, providing the first in-depth examination of Leavis's ideas in relation to contemporary mass higher education. During the course of a long, prolific and controversial academic career, which saw him take issue with figures such as Wittgenstein, T. S. Eliot and C. P. Snow, Leavis became one of the most articulate advocates for the idea of the university as 'a centre of consciousness and human responsibility' in the face of what he saw as the relentless technological drive of civilisation. With the journal Scrutiny which he co-founded, as well as his critical writings, Leavis became a decisive influence on generations of teachers in Britain and overseas. Widely misrepresented as narrowly elitist, his ideas about 'the creative university', with their radical, student-centred approach to teaching, constitute a powerful resource for a higher education system grappling with the contradictory demands of continuity and change. Based on original research, the study provides an overview of Leavis's life, work and heritage and his educational world view, and a comprehensive exploration of Leavis's pedagogy from theoretical and practical perspectives. It also includes a first-hand account by the author of being taught by Leavis in person.


StevenCranfield is Senior Lecturer in Pedagogic Research in Higher Education at theUniversity of Westminster. He is the author of papers, articles, chapters andbooks on health, management and leadership, education and the creative arts. AtWestminster he is course leader of the MA in Higher Education and he jointlyco-ordinates the Higher Education And Theory (HEAT) network and the Translaborateresearch group, a transdisciplinary forum exploring the confluence of ideas oftranslation and collaboration. His books include Training matters (Health Education Authority, 1994), Developing change management skills(with Valerie Iles, 2004) for the UK's National Health Service, and Of purest blue (with Claudio Tedesco,Get A Grip, 2010), an edited co-translation into English of the eminent Spanishpoet Francisco Brines. He is a contributing author to Enhancing teaching practice in higher education (edited by HelenPokorny and Digby Warren, Sage, 2016). Having studied English as anundergraduate with F. R. Leavis, he worked for many years as a healthcareprofessional, going on to teach, consult and research with a number ofuniversities and national and intergovernmental bodies. During the 1990s hereturned to Leavis as the subject of his doctoral research. He is Vice-Chair ofthe Leavis Society.    

1 Introduction: the Heretic Who Survived?.- 2 Leavis: Life, Work and Heritage.- 3. Leavis's Educational World-View.- 4 Leavis and Pedagogy: Critical 'Theory'.- 5 Leavis and Pedagogy: Critical Practice.- 6 Leavis and the Creative University.- 6 Leavis and the Creative University.            

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F. R. Leavis
The Creative University
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Springer International Publishing
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