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English as a VocationThe 'Scrutiny' Movement$

Christopher Hilliard

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199695171

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695171.001.0001

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Origins and Destinations

Origins and Destinations

(p.72) 3 Origins and Destinations
English as a Vocation

Christopher Hilliard

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an anatomy of the Downing English School. It reconstructs the undergraduate population from 1932 until Leavis's retirement in 1962 using archival records and establishes the social background of these students. The chapter goes on to identify the professions in which Leavis's pupils clustered and considers the connections and disconnects between their Cambridge education and their subsequent careers. The most common career choice was teaching, and significant numbers went on to become publishers, BBC staff, actors, and directors. Others made use of their training in professions alien or inimical to Leavis, such as advertising. Still others went on to careers in business or the professions. As well as being the leader of a movement, Leavis was a college teacher like other college teachers, working with undergraduates for whom literature would not be a vocation.

Keywords:   Downing College, Cambridge, grammar schools, public schools, working class, social mobility, meritocracy, Education Act 1944, Peter Hall, literary journalism

In December 1954, William Walsh, a lecturer in education at the University of Edinburgh, returned to Downing College to address the Doughty Society on ‘The Literary Critic and the Education of an Elite’. Like practically everyone else in attendance, Walsh had been taught by F. R. Leavis, the college literary society's de facto patron. Walsh admitted that ‘the idea of an élite was, in many ways, anti-democratic’, though he saw some justification for the ‘common prejudice against such ideas in the existence of such an intellectual group as the “Bloomsbury” one, which, being a clique unconcerned with the general cultural situation, was a betrayal of the values of a proper élite’. He went on to outline the sort of education appropriate to an élite. Walsh characterized Leavis's ‘idea of a University’ as a synthesis of Arnold and Coleridge. Leavis would not have agreed, but other aspects of Walsh's talk hewed closely to his own arguments. Echoing Education and the University, Walsh held that literary criticism was ‘the most living discipline’ and that there was ‘no value’ in the ‘idea of a “general” education’. ‘The central intelligence and coordinating consciousness could only be prepared for by the discipline of literary criticism.’ The discussion after the paper was largely taken up by the question of whether Arnold belonged in ‘the great line of English critics’, and whether there were ‘any grounds for hope. Dr Leavis argued that “Scrutiny” had had a strong influence’.1 For thirty years Downing College was the site of Leavis's most direct and practical efforts to educate a critical élite. The college was the institution where he had the most scope to establish an ‘English school’ of his own design.2 Leavis built his reputation as a teacher on his supervisions. However well he had prepared, Raymond O’Malley remembered, ‘discussion brought (p.73) out implications, layers, references, ironies, simple meanings, that I had missed or misunderstood; his special capacity was always that of bringing out what is “there.” … There was nearly always this sense of discovery, for teacher as for taught, in the supervisions.’3 As the Downing school became established, however, Leavis entrusted supervisions to research students or Scrutiny collaborators, such as Gordon Cox, Geoffrey Walton, James Smith, Wilfrid Mellers, Ian Doyle, Harold Mason, Geoffrey Strickland, Morris Shapira, and John Newton (who as secretary of the Doughty Society had taken the notes on Walsh's paper). Leavis's own teaching took the form of seminars, which he led as many as four mornings every week.4

The seminars could be electrifying, but they were seldom reciprocal. They were billed as discussion groups but ‘inclined to monologue’.5 The notes members took read like collections of Leavis's table talk: ‘Shakespeare hasn’t written it all down: Dryden always does’; ‘ “Have read”—an instruction in the perfect imperative tense— … the 18th century novels (Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, Pamela, Clarissa)—casually or “in your bath—don’t waste time on them.” ’6 One pupil of the late 1940s and early 1950s thought that Leavis's ‘personal teaching … was not by the time I knew it particularly good. He gave no one-to-one tutorials and was not very interested in his pupils or in bringing them out or personally encouraging them.’7 In Leavis's defence, another Downing undergraduate from the same period remarks that there is ‘more than one way of being a good teacher, of which his was inspiring a life-long love of the subject and a suggestive intelligence which planted seeds which it was up to us to nurture both as students and subsequently’.8

As we have seen, at Downing Leavis had great latitude in deciding whom to admit to study with him. Nearly all the 335 men who read (p.74) English as undergraduates at Downing between 1932 and 1962 had deliberately chosen Leavis and he had deliberately chosen them. ‘I don’t think anyone ever went to Downing by accident’, the director Trevor Nunn told a fellow alumnus.9 This chapter analyses the origins and destinations of these undergraduates, their paths into and out of Downing English. The reconstruction of the cohort is based on college archives. An admission committee's minute book and the agenda papers of Downing's Governing Body record the names of applicants awarded places. The college archive also holds admissions books, collections of the matriculation forms or certificates undergraduates filled out when they began their studies. These record their names, places of birth, fathers’ occupations, character references, and other information. (The schools attended and fathers’ occupations are listed in the table in the Appendix.)10 These records make possible a virtually complete census of Leavis's Downing pupils’ origins. Bringing out the patterns of post-Cambridge careers is a more impressionistic process. Careers wind across time, in contrast to the comparatively static variables from which origins can be gauged. Partly for this reason, the documentation on post-Downing itineraries is more haphazard, though some of what alumni records, memoirs, letters, and other miscellaneous texts lack in completeness and comparability they recoup in texture and depth.

From the outset, Leavis had sought to train an intellectual élite distinct from the social élite—the Bloomsbury–King's College nexus dependably served as an example of the wrongness of any assumption of an easy commerce between the two. In an essay on Leavis and his admirers entitled ‘The Rise of the Provincials’, Malcolm Bradbury wrote in 1956: ‘Many of those who admire Leavis (among whom I count myself ) … are people who have been brought up in lower middle-class households’ characterized by a ‘nonconformist strenuousness’.11 The Oxford grandee Maurice Bowra made a comparable estimate from a very different social vantage point. After he finally heard Leavis lecture in 1964, all was (p.75) revealed. ‘He is what our mothers would have called CHAPEL. … I can now understand why our miserable undergraduates brought up in Little Bethels and Mount Zions and Bethesdas feel at home with him as with nobody else.’12 There were indeed Downing English pupils from lower-middle-class backgrounds, and Leavis's writing, especially about the novel, bespoke a Protestant Nonconformism that resonated with some of those students and others outside Cambridge. However, the descriptions quoted are a misleading guide to the demographics of Downing English.

Nearly all of Leavis's pupils came from schools in England: just over a dozen were pupils of Welsh and Scottish schools, and most of the Scots came from the same institution, the Royal High School in Edinburgh. Classifying British schools is notoriously difficult since the school system, inasmuch as it was a system, was almost entirely decentralized until the end of the nineteenth century. Because secondary education was not compulsory until well into the twentieth century, the provision of advanced schooling was often left to wholly independent institutions, or negotiated between central or local government and schools that were largely self-funded and self-governing. Both sorts of school, the independent and the state-subsidized, could count as ‘public schools’. In 1944 the Fleming committee on the public schools saw fit to remind readers of its report that the term encompassed hundreds of establishments, not just the ‘small number of expensive independent boarding schools’ that most people had in mind ‘when they speak of a Public School’.13 These 200-odd ‘public schools’ supplied Cambridge and Oxford with a majority of their undergraduates.

Downing College was no exception, though the public schools its undergraduates came from were not those famous ‘expensive independent boarding schools’ such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester, and so on. The only Downing English students schooled at members of the ‘Clarendon nine’ came from the two day schools in that list of élite public schools: Merchant Taylors’, Northwood, and St Paul's, London. (The Downing undergraduate educated at the latter school was the son of Morgan Philips, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, who had started his working life as a collier: not a common profile for public-school boy's father.) It was not that the most famous boarding schools’ stress on classics and ‘games’ (p.76) precluded an interest in English or Leavis's brand of English—William Empson and Leavis's publisher Ian Parsons had been at Winchester together—but those schools tended to have connections with colleges richer and more storied than Downing. The Downing English cohort included several pupils of nineteenth-century foundations regarded as on a par with some of the older public schools: two from Marlborough, one each from Clifton and Wellington.14 Haileybury, another boarding school founded in the nineteenth century, sent several boys to read English with Leavis.

Many more of the privately educated boys who went up to read English at Downing had come from institutions of a different order: public day schools that placed a premium on academic achievement such as Haberdasher's Aske's school and Dulwich College, and independent schools with more localized reputations, such as Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester and the Tiffin School in London. The Forest School in Walthamstow—a ‘private’, that is, for-profit, school—sent six pupils to Downing, making it one of the most important of Leavis's ‘feeder schools’.

Such schools were in a continuum with grammar schools. At a conservative estimate, 45 per cent of Downing English undergraduates came from grammar schools or their close relatives, ‘high’ schools.15 Before the reorganization of secondary education by the 1944 legislation often referred to as the Butler Act, a ‘grammar school’ could have been a county or borough institution administered by the local education authority, or a self-governing institution with its own endowment. Between 1902 and 1944, many of those independent schools became partly funded by central or local government (‘direct-grant’ and ‘maintained’ were the respective labels), in return for which they were supposed to offer a quarter of their places for free to poorer children who performed well in scholarship examinations. March Grammar was one such school, and six of the eight alumni it sent to Downing to read English were sons of manual workers (a slate-layer, a signalman, an agricultural labourer, a chargeman tuner, an engine driver, and a painter, (p.77) decorator, and plumber).16 Another government-supported school was the Perse in Cambridge, which Leavis himself attended on a local education authority scholarship.17

The word ‘grammar’ floated in and out of the name of the Perse. Schools without the phrase ‘grammar school’ in their names might nevertheless be regarded as such. The expression signalled academic selectivity and rigour. So did ‘high school’, a term sometimes used interchangeably with ‘grammar school’.18 Many girls’ grammar schools were called high schools in part to distinguish them from the boys’ schools, but there were also co-educational and boys-only high schools, which educated a significant number of future Downing undergraduates: Chingford County High School, West Leeds High School, Cambridge and County High School, Scarborough Boys High School, Aldershot County High School. Muriel Bradbrook described Oldershaw in Wallasey, which she had attended with her younger brothers Horace and Frank, both of whom went on to read English at Downing, as a ‘northern high school’.19 The exemplar was the Royal High School, Edinburgh. Acknowledging the paradigmatic status of The Edinburgh School, the principal secondary schools in Scottish cities were named high schools when they were founded or reorganized in the 1860s; at the same time the Nottingham Free Grammar School became the Nottingham High School.20 Some high schools, including the Royal itself, received state funding.21

In 1948, after the provisions of the Education Act had been implemented, fee-paying places disappeared from most grammar schools, and places were allotted solely on the basis of results in the eleven-plus examinations. Some direct-grant schools became completely self-supporting; most grammar schools became government schools.22 Grammar schools were depicted as the agencies of social mobility in post-war Britain, though in actuality middle-class families were the greatest beneficiaries.23 The (p.78) instrument of the eleven-plus could not render the cultural advantages of a middle-class upbringing wholly irrelevant to performance in the exams, and middle-class parents no longer had to pay for their children to get a grammar-school education. (At the same time, however, there was a movement of middle-class children into the public schools, as parents worried that an influx of working-class children would lower the social tone of the grammar schools.)24 Nevertheless, it was the grammar school more than any other British institution that was looked to as the potential engine of what was later called ‘meritocracy’.25 The heyday of the grammar schools, from the late 1940s until their progressive replacement by comprehensives in the 1960s, is often seen as Leavis's educational moment.26 ‘The ethos of the Downing group’, wrote Bradbrook, a seasoned faculty and college administrator, ‘was suited to the early years of the Butler Education Act, the arrival of the meritocracy’.27 ‘[M]ost of Dr Leavis's followers’ at Oxford, reported an undergraduate there in the 1950s, ‘seem to be grammar school boys’.28

Counting the number of grammar-school boys entering Leavis's English school cannot, by itself, make it possible to assess the impact of the 1944 legislation, since some grammar schools were mostly fee-paying before 1948 and free thereafter: comparing the number of grammar- school boys reading English with Leavis before and after the Butler Act is not comparing like terms. Using the records of their fathers’ occupations as a proxy for social class, however, we can gauge the impact of the meritocratic moment on the undergraduate cohort. Of course, class cannot always be satisfactorily read off occupation, and blanket designations such (p.79) as ‘civil servant’ or ‘clerk’ can mask large differences in status.29 Even the distinction between waged workers and such low-grade capitalists as newsagents and garage owners is complicated by the fact that the latter, too, were enmeshed in the culture of working-class communities.

The following comparison of the social origins of 1930s Downing undergraduates with their post-Butler counterparts therefore specifies occupations and explains its judgements rather than presenting unclothed numbers. (Readers can also compare the claims in the text with the table in the Appendix.) The comparison is between two groups: those who began reading English from the year Leavis arrived at Downing, 1932, until the eve of the Second World War; and those who started between 1955 and 1962, when Leavis formally retired. The Butler Act took several years to come into force, and direct-grant schools had several years to decide whether to convert themselves to fully government-funded and government-controlled schools.30 A ‘grammar-school boy’ who matriculated in 1955 should have started his secondary education after the Butler Act's access and funding rules were in force.

Fifty-eight men began reading English at Downing between 1932 and 1939.31 Eight of them had fathers in ‘working-class’ occupations. Five or six were skilled manual workers: a builder, a chargeman tuner, a slate-layer, a tailor, an engine-driver, and an outfitter, the last of these being a retail worker as well as—or after having paid dues as—a manual worker. (Throughout this list, one can sense the care with which their sons added the prefix ‘master’ to the occupation recorded on the certificate: master tailor, master butcher, master hairdresser.) One undergraduate's father was a postman who had previously worked on trams and been an enlisted soldier.32 Another was a (p.80) warehouseman: unskilled work, but possibly supervisory. All up, 13.8 per cent of those admitted in the 1930s were of working-class parentage.

The proportion was sharply higher in the later group. Between 1955 and 1962, ninety-three men accepted places to read English for a first degree at Downing.33 The matriculation documents for four of those ninety-three are silent or inarticulate on the question of the father's occupation. Twenty-seven of the remaining eighty-nine undergraduates, or 30.3 per cent, had fathers employed in manual jobs or other working-class occupations.34 Again, skilled tradesmen were represented heavily: among them were two fitters, a turner, a cabinet maker, a watchmaker, an intertype operator, a baker, a chef, a signwriter-decorator. Like the outfitter-cum-shopkeeper, a number of these men had become small businessmen and employers. Others, too, were small retailers or managers who would have qualified as ‘petit bourgeois’ for some observers but were nevertheless anchored in trades or institutions of local working-class life: an ironmonger and house-furnisher, the manager of a men's outfitting shop, a garage proprietor, and two grocers—one a ‘master grocer’, the other a ‘greengrocer (shop manager)’, possibly running the shop for someone else. Several had fathers in the police, armed forces, or other arms of the state. There were a few unskilled workers: a surface labourer in a colliery, a printer's machine minder. Even if we leave out the grocers, the garage owner, the outfitting shop manager who is not explicitly identified as a master of his trade, and the solitary ‘music hall artiste’, the proportion of undergraduates from working-class families at Downing from 1955 was still much higher than it was in the 1930s: the total falls from 27 to 22 and the percentage from 30.3 to 24.7.35

(p.81) The 1944 legislation meant that more working-class children could stay at school until the sixth form and thus have a chance of going to university, but the entry requirements for Cambridge and Oxford were notoriously difficult to negotiate for families without the cultural capital that went with a middle-class existence. This was one reason the most academically able grammar-school children gravitated towards provincial universities and the University of London.36 Choosing German over Latin at the beginning of secondary schooling could render a young person ineligible to apply to one of the ancient universities several years later. ‘[F]ew working-class children knew what, in the long term, they were deciding when a subject was dropped; and no working-class parent ever raised objections at the time on such grounds’, Brian Jackson and Dennis Marsden observed in their study of Huddersfield grammar-school children, Education and the Working Class (1962).37 Sir Eric Ashby, who became Master of Clare College in 1959 after a decade as Vice-Chancellor at Queen's University, Belfast, expressed surprise at ‘how few grammar schools are really trying to get their boys into Cambridge … many grammar schools would rather send their boys to a provincial university, which they know, … than risk being turned down by Oxbridge’.38

A majority of the working-class undergraduates beginning their studies between 1955 and 1962 arrived at Cambridge from grammar or high schools, but ten of the twenty-seven had attended church-run or Jewish independent schools and the fee-paying day schools that prepared a significant number of boys for study at Downing, such as Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School (3), Tiffin (1), and Dulwich (1). The father of one of the boys who went to ‘the Math’, a garage proprietor, may have been prospering sufficiently in the early and mid-1950s to be able to pay the school fees comfortably. The armaments fitter who sent his son to the same school was probably not. The King's School, Pontefract, where the colliery labourer's son was a pupil when he sat the Downing examinations in 1957, was still a government-supported school in the post-war period, admitting some boys on county scholarships. The Coventry private school Bablake, which a motor mechanic's son attended, had a very (p.82) small number of council-funded scholarships in the 1950s.39 It seems that some of the working-class boys who went to independent schools in the 1950s and 1960s were ‘scholarship boys’ of a type that existed before the 1944 legislation. The meritocratic machinery of free grammar school places apportioned on the basis of eleven-plus performance was not solely responsible for the increasing proportion of young working-class men among Downing English undergraduates.

Despite the post-war increase in the proportion of working-class undergraduates, the student body of Downing's English school remained solidly middle class. Sons of the professional middle classes predominated. Civil servants, teachers (and nine headmasters), civil engineers, bank workers, and accountants recur over and over in the records of fathers’ occupations. There were a number of doctors, solicitors, and company directors. The bulk of the undergraduate English population at Downing was, as Pat Thane observes of the backgrounds of Girton College women from the 1920s onwards, ‘fairly evenly spread over the many gradations of the British middle classes’, ranging from ‘relatively poorly paid clerks’ to ‘prosperous professionals, businessmen, successful civil servants and colonial officials’.40 As the absence of many boys from the most prestigious public schools suggests, the Downing population was not drawn to a great extent from the upper or upper middle class. David Matthews remembers Leavis asking his seminar to think on the meaning of Auden's poem ‘Our Hunting Fathers’ in preparation for their next meeting. ‘Few of us, I think, understood them to be our huntin’, shootin’, & fishin’ fathers, not having that kind of background.’41 Among the exceptions was one fresher in 1932 who gave his father's profession as ‘gentleman’.42 Boris Ford was the son of a brigadier in the Indian Army and possessed, Leavis thought, ‘that governing-class authority which is so useful in the right man’.43

One aspect of Downing English that seldom attracts attention is the number of Catholics studying with Leavis. No school sent Leavis more pupils (nine) than the John Fisher School in Purley. Downside, St Mary's in Crosby, and other Catholic schools also sent young men up to Downing. (p.83) A good many Catholic priests also read English. ‘I have, rather to my surprise, acquired a considerable following in the Catholic educational world’, Leavis told a correspondent in 1943: ‘the devotion of the priests reading Arts at Cambridge is a little embarrassing’.44 Two priests who read English with Leavis became headmasters of Catholic schools, J. N. McCarthy (who went up in 1944) at Cardinal Langley School in Manchester, and Richard Kenefeck (1935) at Cardinal Vaughan Grammar School in Kensington, where he hired another Downing English graduate (and Scrutiny contributor), R. C. Churchill, as a teacher.45 When Patrick Harrison was there in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Downing had a palpable ‘Catholic presence’: as well as Marius Bewley and Ian Doyle, who did some college teaching, there were Maurice Hussey, Tom Birrell, Peter and Godfrey Lienhardt, John Farrelly, and Norman Henfrey, along with ‘a number of Catholic-minded fellow-travelling Anglicans’, one of whom was another research student who conducted supervisions, Geoffrey Strickland.46

The Catholic presence in Downing English highlights the triteness of the routine allegations of ‘puritanism’. All the same, it is far from obvious why Leavis's way of practising criticism should appeal to Catholic laymen and priests. Leavis's bemused explanation in the letter quoted above—‘my critical approach, they tell me, “integrates perfectly with Thomist philosophy” ’—suggests that he did not think he fully understood it himself.47 The Benedictine monk Sebastian Moore found in Leavis ‘a teacher who, while remaining staunchly agnostic, allowed one's spiritual life to breathe in that world of great literature so long claimed for itself by a modernity impatient of the monkish’. Leavis was a principled secularist, but his principal interlocutors—for Moore, this meant Eliot and Blake, not Lawrence—were intensely concerned with the relations between religious experience, creativity, and language. Without an interpreter such as Leavis, Moore thought, ‘I do not think I would have been able to open my mind to the revolution in feeling that Eliot achieves and calls for.’ The pedagogy as much as Leavis's moral commitment to literature and his ‘prophetic’ mode of discoursing made his approach resonate with priests and monks. Leavis was a ‘pastor’, instilling the patience or (p.84) contemplativeness needed for receptivity to ‘what Eliot was doing with language and therefore with consciousness itself’. Leavis's conception of critical debate as a ‘common pursuit’ that arrived at a ‘right reading’ envisaged ‘a consensus, among hearers, in the poem’, which was thus, Moore judged, ‘a real fruitfulness of the word in the community’.48 Of course, a theologian's response does not necessarily explain why Catholic schoolboys or their masters gravitated to Leavis. Harrison is probably right to stress the importance of the dissociation of sensibility (‘best explained as R.C. propaganda’, the militantly anti-Christian Empson said later) in the complex of Leavis's thought during the 1930s and 1940s.49 The idea of an enveloping tradition and a community of language that made for experiences and judgements that transcend the individual helps explain ‘how compatibility with a Catholic view of things arose’.50

Leavis did not have former pupils teaching in the Catholic schools that sent young men up to Downing to study English. Their teachers must have read New Bearings in English Poetry, Revaluation, Education and the University, or issues of Scrutiny. (Downside subscribed.)51 The Catholic schools are not unusual in this respect. At least some, perhaps most, schools that sent multiple pupils to Downing did not have Downing graduates on their staff (the gaps in the information available about the graduates’ careers make it impossible to be precise). This was not the case at Haberdasher's Aske's boys’ school in north London. Beginning in the early 1940s, Haberdasher's Aske's sent nine pupils to read English at Downing: it and the John Fisher School were Leavis's most important feeder schools. H. L. B. Moody, who had studied with Leavis in the late 1930s, was an English master there. One of the Haberdasher's Aske's boys who went up to Downing in the 1950s was John Newton, who then became a research student, contributing to Downing's undergraduate teaching. Another was Brian Binding, who became an English teacher at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, where he joined another Cambridge graduate who, though not a Leavis pupil, would quote what ‘the great Doctor’ had said in faculty lectures.52 Binding would circulate copies of the Cambridge (p.85) literary magazine Delta, then edited by Leavis's students Strickland, Martin Lightfoot, and Ian MacKillop. Neil Roberts, who sat his A levels in 1963, was sold. Binding prodded him into applying to Clare College, where Newton was by then a fellow. Roberts was successful. Having retired, Leavis was not taking on students, but he was still leading seminars, discussing anonymous passages as he had done for decades (and using some of the same sheets he had had printed long before). Roberts's director of studies at Clare arranged for him to attend these seminars, which Leavis held at home on Saturday mornings. Several of Binding's other pupils who did not get into Cambridge went to the University of Exeter, where Harold Mason and John Speirs lectured.53

Other Downing feeder schools had former pupils of Leavis's on the staff. After R. F. Knight became an English master there in 1955, several boys from the Tiffin School went up to Downing to read English. Knight left five years later to become a training college lecturer, but another Downing English alumnus, Alfred Monk, took a job teaching at the Tiffin several years afterwards.54 Jack Dalglish also taught there in the 1960s.55 At Gresham's, a boarding school, Denys Thompson could provide more intimate connections with Downing English than any other schoolmaster. When Boris Ford went from Gresham's to Downing, he had not only read Leavis and been taught along the lines set out in Culture and Environment, but had also been introduced to L. C. Knights, who had gone to Norfolk to visit his friend Thompson. Ford was invited ‘to join them for a walk over the sands at Wells’. He found Knights ‘a rather perplexing mixture of the severe and merry’. All the same, Ford felt pleased he had chosen a copy of How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? as a school prize.56

(p.86) The agents of Leavis's influence in schools were sometimes other pupils rather than masters. When Peter Matthews chose Downing, Leavis's name meant nothing to him, but he had heard that the college was strong in English. Leavis sprang out from the lines of his letters home—‘Now here is the first real mind I’ve come into contact with, a sensitive spirit with a passion for good writing and the divine itch to exercise judgment.’ These letters spurred his brother David to apply to the college. When David arrived, he was joined by two of his juniors from the same direct-grant school in south-east London, St Dunstan's (national service and the priority system for allocating undergraduate places after the war made for a student body more varied in age than was customary). As their English master coached them for the entrance examinations, Peter Matthews had given him advice about what they should read. In turn, his brother helped their cousin Geoffrey Strickland, at Farnborough Grammar School, prepare for the scholarship examinations when he was applying several years later.57

This was not an isolated instance but indicative of a recurring pattern. While he was at the King's School, Rochester, in the late 1930s, Geoffrey Lees was introduced to Leavis's Revaluation by George Greenfield, an old boy now reading English at Downing. The book made a deep impression on Lees, and he followed Greenfield to Downing three years later.58 At the Royal High School in the 1940s, Karl Miller had an inspiring English master who bore the stamp of the same Edinburgh traditions as Muriel Spark's Jean Brodie. The person who put Miller on to Leavis, though, was Robert Taubman, who had graduated from the Royal High School early in the war and later completed a degree at Edinburgh University. He coached Miller for the Downing examinations. Correcting a mistake in a quotation, he told Miller he had better ‘become word-perfect in your Eliot … before you enter the community of Little Downing’.59

The most intricate story of schoolboys being led to Downing by their seniors is told by Patrick Harrison. At the beginning of the Second World War, Harrison was sent to board at Lord Williams's School in Thame, at that time very much out in the country. Under the guidance of a young English master, E. A. Morley, he began to educate himself about music. One day in 1943, a sixth former, Eric Mathieson, heard him whistling Eine Kleine Nachtmusik on the toilet and, detecting shared interests, asked Harrison to meet him outside when he was finished. They became friends, and Harrison began to hear about Mathieson's preparations for the Cambridge scholarship exams at the encouragement of Morley, who by this time had moved on. ‘It emerged that Ned Morley had been at (p.87) Downing, a college of which I had never heard, reading English under somebody called Leavis.’ (Morley kept in touch, returning to speak to the Doughty Society on ‘Shakespeare's last plays’ in 1948.)60 Mathieson did not elaborate, probably judging, ‘correctly enough, that I was not ready to appreciate the message at that stage’. Mathieson won a scholarship, and on visits to the Harrisons’ house in London he relayed anecdotes and did impressions of Leavis. He coached Harrison by correspondence for the examinations, there being no English master at Lord Williams's at the end of the war. The coaching included ‘exercises in practical criticism and dating based largely on the Downing sheets’. By the end of 1946, Harrison had read all the published books of Leavis, Knights, and Derek Traversi, as well as much of the Downing English reading list. He was also subscribing to Scrutiny and buying back issues from Deighton, Bell & Co., its distributors. While waiting to be called up for national service, he in turn coached another boy at Lord Williams's, Robert Cradock. Cradock too won a place at Downing. ‘So the three of us, Mathieson, Harrison, and Cradock were the product of the little cell established at Thame by Ned Morley.’61 The teacher established it, but it was the pupils who gave it its momentum.

These stories are acutely personal. The books and the ideas acquired an exciting, transformative significance as the older boy or the teacher entrusted them to the chosen protégé. Leavis's aura was a source of some of the excitement: anecdotes about him filtered down, sometimes accompanied by impressions (mimicking Leavis appears to have been nearly irresistible).62 But it was primarily through reading him, inhabiting his work, learning to respond in ways he and Knights and others had marked out, that they came to want to study with him. The pattern of recruitment to Downing more generally involved personal connections to a lesser extent than might be expected. The majority of men reading English arrived at Downing from schools without one of Leavis's pupils on the staff. Their teachers knew of his English school by word of mouth or through its publications.63 At King's College School, Wimbledon, for instance, a ‘Leavisite’ group of sixth formers gathered around an English master, Frank Miles, who had not been through Downing himself.64 (p.88) Scrutiny was intended to coordinate as a ‘public’ the scattered and isolated ‘intelligent young men and women’ who, every year, ‘go down from the Universities and are swallowed by secondary and public schools’.65 The number of ‘first-generation’ Downing English undergraduates is an index of the success of Scrutiny and Leavis's books in creating such a public.

Tracing the post-Cambridge careers of Leavis's pupils is more difficult, given the vagaries of the available evidence and the fact that a single career can involve a variety of occupations. The following account identifies those professions in which at least several of Leavis's pupils clustered and considers the relationship between their Downing education and their subsequent careers. A useful benchmark is the survey undertaken by Cambridge's English Club in 1937. When Boris Ford, Leo Salingar, Frank Whitehead, C. L. Barber, Ian Watt, and H. R. Poole canvassed undergraduates and research students in the English Faculty, one of the questions they asked was ‘Are you reading English with the object of getting a job as a result?’

A majority of the 202 respondents to the questionnaire (out of about 250 students in total) answered yes. The committee's report provided a breakdown of the jobs the respondents had in mind:



















Indian Civil.


Writing (x)










Hospital Almoner




Labour Management






Social Work


(p.89) The priceless footnote for the category ‘Writing’ reads: ‘(x both First Year)’.66 The popularity of individual professions would vary from college to college, but this list does identify all the occupations in which groups of Downing English alumni ended up: school teaching, university teaching, journalism, publishing, librarianship, drama, law, broadcasting, advertising, and the ministry—though in Downing's case, priests already ordained outnumbered future Anglican clergymen.

The most striking thing about the questionnaire responses, of course, is the number of prospective schoolteachers. Ford and his fellows concluded: ‘It is noteworthy that 68 people, or at least 27 per cent of the Faculty as a whole, intend to become Teachers.’67 At other universities, the proportion would have been much higher. Two knowledgeable observers wrote in 1946 that the ‘student community is … much more varied at Oxford, Cambridge, and London than at the provincial Universities, where the condition of the Arts Faculty often approximates to that of the Training College, as about 90 per cent of the students are going to be teachers’.68 There was a structural predisposition towards teaching careers. The only way many students at provincial universities could afford their studies was by committing themselves to teaching after graduation in return for a state bursary.69 Teaching was also the only large non-scientific profession in Britain that was substantially ‘graduatized’ before the 1960s. Graduates of provincial universities were often caught in a circular process: the expansion of secondary education led to ‘a larger university entry many of whom, when they graduated, had little option but to turn to teaching’.70 Male Cambridge graduates customarily had more options, but schoolteaching was still a common path. A reading of the obituaries in the Emmanuel College Magazine reveals that many English graduates in that college, too, become schoolteachers; the Clare College alumni publication memorializes a somewhat smaller number of (p.90) teachers.71 The general point holds: the large number of teachers among Leavis's former pupils—schoolteaching was by far the most common occupation for Downing English undergraduates about whose subsequent careers I have information—was not a peculiarity of the Downing English school.

Yet it was a significant aspect of Leavis's and Scrutiny's impact on British culture. The capillaries of Leavis's influence that ran through British secondary schools transformed a critical school into a cultural movement. More than a few of the schoolmasters Leavis trained moved on to become inspectors, local directors of education, and lecturers and professors in training colleges or the teacher-training institutes of education attached to universities. This last category includes Ford and Walsh, two professors of education instrumental in bringing Scrutiny concerns and approaches into school curricula and teacher-training. Other teachers who studied with Leavis, such as David Holbrook, Esmor Jones, and Brian Jackson (co-author of Education and the Working Class) at Downing, and Denys Thompson, Raymond O’Malley, and Whitehead at other Cambridge colleges, were integral to this process. (The activities of Leavis's pupils and followers in secondary education are the subject of the next chapter.)

Very few Downing English graduates worked in adult education.72 This is curious. Many Scrutiny people were veterans of adult education, and Scrutiny contributors or fellow travellers from other colleges, such as Salingar and Lionel Elvin, worked as adult education tutors or organizers.73 And, as we shall see in Chapter 5, Scrutiny was an inspiration within the Workers’ Educational Association and university extramural departments after the Second World War. Many more Downing alumni became university lecturers. All up, thirty of the men Leavis taught as Downing undergraduates took up university positions in English.74 Another, (p.91) Geoffrey Strickland, held academic appointments in French. This figure does not take into account those whose doctoral work Leavis supervised and those he taught informally or at other colleges. Nor does it include a dozen others who held lectureships in English at training colleges and technical colleges, some of whom had previously been schoolteachers.75 Most of the future university lecturers Leavis taught followed fairly conventional academic career paths, an exception being Karl Miller, who, after more than two decades as an editor, joined University College London as the Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature (‘like being Mammon Professor of God’, F. W. Bateson once quipped).76

The British universities where Leavis's pupils found positions tended to be civic universities in large industrial cities (Sheffield, Manchester, and especially Bristol) or university colleges, such as the University College of the South West of England at Exeter and the Swansea, Bangor, and Cardiff campuses of the University of Wales. A succession of Leavis's pupils and collaborators taught at what became the University of Exeter: Geoffrey Walton, one of Leavis's earliest teaching assistants; John Speirs, the Scrutiny regular whom Leavis supervised at Emmanuel; Harold Mason, a (p.92) Scrutiny editor and, for a time, a very close colleague of Leavis's; and Charles Page, who arrived in 1965, possibly to replace Mason, who returned to Cambridge that year.77 Of the Welsh university colleges, Swansea was the strongest Leavisian centre. G. D. Klingopulos taught there for several years immediately after the war, and then, in the decade after 1961, Brian Way, Ian Robinson, and John Worthen were all appointed. Robinson, who in the 1970s became the publisher of The Human World, a journal sympathetic to if not centred on Leavis, formed a Leavisian caucus at Swansea along with two lecturers who had not been educated at Downing, David Sims and Sam Dawson.78 (Looking back on his experience of ‘the hectic and crowded post-war years’, Dawson would suggest that Scrutiny was the only place a student ‘could have gone, not merely for reassurance, but for clarification, for education in fact’.)79 Worthen arrived at Swansea in 1970 with a PhD from the new University of Kent, where the English department staff included Howard Mills and Leavis's former deputy Morris Shapira.80 Estranged from Leavis since the dispute in the mid-1960s over his succession at Downing that enveloped Mason, John Newton, and many others, Shapira was still capable of being regarded by an unsympathetic colleague in another department as the ‘last of the old-style Leavisites’.81

Leavis was troubled that none of his pupils received English Faculty appointments at Cambridge over the span of his teaching career, and at least one of them complained that he had to find work overseas because ‘foreign universities were less particular or (perhaps through backwardness) less prejudiced against Scrutiny's minor fry’.82 While it is not usually possible to substantiate or disprove the claims of a disappointed job candidate, there are some grounds for thinking it was not such a liability to be regarded as a ‘Leavisite’, at least outside the Cambridge English Faculty. The number of Leavis pupils who got jobs in English departments (p.93) was not trivial, and professors or departments interviewing prospective lecturers had many considerations other than Downing connections to take into account.

L. C. Knights became a lecturer at the University of Manchester before he had completed his doctorate, at a time when Leavis's position was still shaky and when Leavis's broadsides and Fiction and the Reading Public were exciting opposition elsewhere in Cambridge. Knights later held chairs at Sheffield, Bristol, and finally Cambridge. By the time he went to Sheffield in 1947, he was well established as a critic in his own right, not just a junior partner of Leavis's (though he remained an editor of Scrutiny). Leavis progressively dissociated himself from Knights, withdrawing his endorsement of his critical work.83 Knights knew that ‘he thought my standards were slipping. As a head of department … I had had to work with men and women whose tastes and aptitudes differed widely from my own, and some of them I had come to like and respect.’84 This chill did not stop Knights from appointing a Downing graduate, Peter Tomlinson, to an assistant lectureship in English at Bristol in 1955.85 Nor did Leavis's many contemptuous dismissals of him prevent Empson's appointing Leavis's Downing pupil and admirer Ian MacKillop to a job in the Sheffield English department in 1968.86

Nearly half of the Downing undergraduates who became English lecturers or professors worked outside Britain—in new and longer-established universities throughout the British empire, in continental Europe, and in East Asia. For some, the move away from Britain was temporary, and they returned to jobs at the new universities founded in the 1960s. Thus R. T. Jones taught at the University of York after a period at the University of Natal and David Craig taught at the University of Lancaster after a period at the University of Ceylon followed by several years as an adult education tutor in Yorkshire. (In an academic cause célèbre, Lancaster later tried to sack him for fomenting rebellion among students and for letting his communism colour his teaching and (p.94) marking).87 The overseas fortunes of Leavis's pupils and Scrutiny are the subject of a later chapter.

Downing English alumni also pursued academic careers in other disciplines. Mellers, Scrutiny's chief music writer and a supervisor in English at Downing, taught music in the extramural department of Birmingham University for sixteen years before becoming the founding professor of music at York.88 Michael Baxandall became a distinguished art historian. The most significant traffic between Leavis's English school and another discipline was the migration to social anthropology at the end of the 1940s. Godfrey Lienhardt, Peter Lienhardt, Paul Baxter, and Malcolm Ruel all made this switch, usually after completing Part I of the English tripos. David Pocock, a Pembroke undergraduate whose tutor sent him to Leavis's seminars, did likewise.89 When Ruel met the eminent anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard at Oxford in 1950, Evans-Pritchard asked him: ‘Who is this man Leavis who is like a brick wall’—people bounced off him ‘like tennis balls into social anthropology’.90 Recalling this time in an interview, Ruel said that he was ‘not sufficient of a Leavis disciple to want to do three years’, and Leavis had less contact with the Lienhardts once they had left Cambridge than he seems to have wished, but Pocock remained an admirer and correspondent of both the Leavises until their deaths.91 It seems more appropriate to see Leavis as obliquely preparing these men for social anthropology rather than driving them into it.

(p.95) The kind of anthropology a literary-critical education ‘prepared’ them for was that articulated by Evans-Pritchard in his 1950 Marett Lecture.92 After graduating from Cambridge, the Lienhardts, Ruel, Baxter, and Pocock all moved to Oxford to study under him. Evans-Pritchard's case against functionalism dwelt on the alternatives suggested by history, not literary criticism, but his Marett Lecture sent strong signals about the analytical affinities between anthropology and criticism. When an anthropologist did fieldwork among ‘a primitive people … he learns to speak their language, to think in their concepts and to feel in their values. He then lives the experiences over again critically and interpretatively in the conceptual categories and values of his own culture and in terms of the general body of knowledge of his discipline’. At this level, Evans-Pritchard said, ‘social anthropology remains a literary and impressionistic art’, but it entailed more than understanding and translation: the anthropologist sought also ‘to discover the structural order of the society, the patterns which … enable him to see it as a whole, as a set of interrelated abstractions’.93 Evans-Pritchard clearly thought that discerning those patterns and wholes was beyond the remit of the literary, but Scrutiny critics claimed them as part of their field of study.

Leavis's pupils also went to work for agencies of the cultural establishment with which he was in chronic and periodically acute conflict.94 The British Council, charged with projecting British culture abroad, employed a number of them. C. A. Hackett, who had studied under Leavis at Emmanuel, was the British Council's education officer in Paris immediately after the war; Leavis described him as ‘a very intelligent man, very much “in” with literary circles in France (especially universities) & very enthusiastic about the “cause” (meaning me, Scrutiny & associated things)’.95 (p.96) Jerry Owens was a language teacher for the council in the 1960s and 1970s, posted to Lahore, Singapore, Khartoum, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Madrid.96 After two decades as an English master at Haberdasher's Aske's, H. L. B. Moody trained teachers at overseas institutions under the council's auspices.97 James Smith, who assisted Leavis with teaching at Downing, worked for the British Council in Venezuela in the 1940s, though Leavis thought the council treated Smith very poorly: ‘he is not a B.C. type—too genuine & for all his foibles, portentously qualified’.98 Leavis appreciated the British Council's efforts in distributing Scrutiny overseas—it bought something like 10 per cent of the print run in the late 1940s—but he was understandably annoyed by its requests that the cash-strapped Scrutiny collective supply copies at half price.99 The council should have been subsidizing Scrutiny, not vice versa, Leavis told Denys Harding.100

Throughout his career, Leavis suspected the BBC's motives and methods, wryly speaking of his ‘anti-BBC complex’.101 As we shall see in Chapter 7, however, collaborators such as Thompson, Ford, and Holbrook accepted the compromises that radio entailed, and three of his Downing pupils carved out sustained careers with the corporation. It may or may not be relevant that at least two of them did not go straight from Cambridge to the BBC, but spent some time teaching in schools first. The one who went directly to the BBC after graduation was Robert Cradock, the youngest member of the ‘cell’ at Lord Williams's School. He became Chief Producer Documentaries for BBC Radio, editing documentaries on an assortment of topics but above all on military history.102 Derrick Amoore, several years Cradock's junior, joined the BBC in 1959 as a research assistant for the television ‘magazine’ programme Tonight.103 The programme was still fairly new, and most of those involved, on and off camera, were (p.97) young and new to broadcasting. For many of them Tonight was a launching pad for ‘impressive BBC careers’.104 In 1964, Amoore became Tonight's last editor. He was promoted to an administrative post but later returned to production, helping to establish Nationwide, a successor to Tonight, and directing BBC television news for five years.105

Amoore had taught very briefly before joining the corporation. Peter Fozzard's time as a teacher was longer and left a deep imprint on his broadcasting career. After gaining his teacher's certificate in the late 1950s, he joined the staff of the new Holland Park Comprehensive School. (Working at a comprehensive was not a common move for one of Leavis's pupils, or probably Cambridge graduates generally, given the cachet as well as the intellectual appeal of a grammar school job, but this was before grammar schools began to be dismantled and incorporated into new comprehensives, and Holland Park had a reputation as an excitingly innovative school.) Fozzard became head of the English department at Holland Park before leaving in 1970 to become a producer for BBC Schools Radio. There he ‘worked on a wide range of programmes, ranging from poetry for infants, to A-Level English courses’, while also working on programmes for Radio 3 and Radio 4.106 Amoore's trajectory bears some resemblance to that of John Scupham, who moved from grammar-school teaching into schools broadcasting in the 1940s, becoming head of educational broadcasting. Scupham had read English at Emmanuel College in the second half of the 1920s, while Leavis was teaching there.107

At least six Downing English graduates became librarians, mostly in university libraries. The librarians who had studied under Leavis in the 1940s constitute a strikingly interconnected group. Both John Farrell and Norman Guilding worked under Philip Larkin in the Hull University Library. Guilding later moved to the Durham University Library, where the head of the library was another of Leavis's pupils, Ian Doyle. Doyle had been friends with Farrell since the age of five.108 David Matthews, who was taught by Doyle and whom his older brother had known at Downing, worked at the National Library for the Blind, and from 1967 (p.98) lectured at the College of Librarianship of Wales. John Kimber, at Cambridge in the second half of the 1950s, worked in the Lambeth Borough Libraries before taking up a position at the University of East Anglia. He collaborated on a large annotated bibliography of writings by and about F. R. and Q. D. Leavis.109 Both Guilding and Farrell became chief cataloguers, a role out of kilter with the sensibility of a teacher who described research as ‘the higher navvying’. Guilding's obituary in the alumni newsletter nevertheless describes him as ‘a strong follower throughout his life’ of Leavis's ‘teaching and thinking’.110

Publishing was, Fredric Warburg coyly said, ‘an occupation for gentlemen’, and it was not so unusual for literary-minded old boys of the public schools to ease into jobs at respected publishing houses on completing their Oxbridge degrees.111 Downing English being less gentlemanly in style and ambition as well as social origin than some other colleges, it is fitting that Downing alumni who went into publishing worked as educational publishers. A. R. (Tony) Beal read English with Leavis between 1943 and 1948, his studies interrupted by service in the navy. After graduating he taught at a training college for a year and then took a job in the education department of William Heinemann. He and his boss, Alan Hill, turned Heinemann Educational Books into a major publisher of books for schools. They also published literary criticism and editions of modern novels (the New Windmill series) and poetry selections (the Poetry Bookshelf series). Beal himself wrote a book on D. H. Lawrence and edited a collection of Lawrence's criticism. He also helped broker a truce between Leavis and Heinemann's chairman, A. S. Frere, who was angry that Leavis had not sought copyright permission from the firm for the quotations in Leavis's D. H. Lawrence: Novelist (1955).112

Martin Lightfoot was one of the last undergraduates admitted to read English at Downing before Leavis retired from college teaching, going up in 1962. He and some Downing friends ran the university English Club, and he was thought of as a Leavis disciple.113 Working on Cambridge literary magazines and at the Athlone Press got him interested in book design, and when he became an editor at Penguin Education in 1967, he fostered intensive collaboration between writers, editors, designers, and picture researchers, as Penguin took advantage of the new lithographic (p.99) printing to create fresh kinds of school books. To develop the English teaching list, he worked closely with the National Association for the Teaching of English, though chiefly with those concerned with language, such as James Britton and Harold and Connie Rosen rather than former Leavis pupils in NATE such as Thompson who were wary of the turn to linguistics in school English curricula during the 1960s.114

All the same, Lightfoot's career in publishing reflected cultural ambitions comparable to those of Leavis pupils such as Thompson. George Greenfield's did not. Shortly after the war he stumbled into managing the house of  T. Werner Laurie (he ran into an army friend outside a bookshop in Piccadilly: the friend took him to lunch, and then off to meet his father, a City potentate who had recently bought the company and needed someone to manage it).115 Later he became a literary agent of note, and, in retirement, a historian of publishing.116 Among his clients were explorers turned authors such as Edmund Hillary and Robin Knox-Johnson and best-selling novelists such as Sidney Sheldon, whose Rage of Angels (1980)—entitled ‘Rape of Angels’ when Greenfield first saw it—achieved excesses in excess of any best-seller deplored in Fiction and the Reading Public. Greenfield's autobiography devotes only a sentence to his time in the ‘thin cold air’ of literary criticism under Leavis's ‘snipey gaze’.117

Greenfield was not the only Downing graduate to pursue an unexpected career in popular ‘publications and entertainments’. Terrance Dicks, who went to read English with Leavis in 1954 from East Ham Grammar School, got a job at the BBC as assistant script editor on Doctor Who. He became the long-running science-fiction series’ main writer, churning out novelizations as well as writing the scripts themselves.118 In his writing he aimed for the un-Leavisian qualities of ‘simplicity, clarity and pace’.119 Since the 1970s, he has been a prolific writer of children's books unconnected with Doctor Who, their protagonists ranging from (p.100) cats and dogs to rookie members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Dicks was working as a copywriter before he got his break in television.120 Several other Downing English graduates made careers for themselves in advertising and marketing, those professions most inimical to Scrutiny. David Brook, who came to Cambridge in 1951, was a corporate marketing manager in the 1960s (and, in the 1980s, the beloved coach of the Halifax Rugby League Football Club, further from the world of Downing English it was scarcely possible to go).121 Richard Dyer started as a copywriter and graduated to account executive and ultimately managing director at a Johannesburg agency (he had first gone to South Africa as an RAF pilot during the war).122 John Metcalfe, who went up in 1940, was a driving force behind the international expansion of the Dorland agency.123 Before taking a job in advertising he had been a reviewer for The Spectator and the Sunday Times and an occasional panellist on The Critics, the arts programme on the BBC Home Service.124

If the transition from the broadsheets and the BBC to advertising might have seemed incongruous to some observers, it would not have to Leavis. The debased standards and corrupting pressures of contemporary literary journalism, as he saw it, rewarded a slick intelligence, the same cleverness unduly prized by some Cambridge colleges and tripos examiners.125 When Karl Miller started to do well in examinations, Leavis suspected him of ‘journalistic facility’.126 Miller went on to become the most consequential literary journalist among Leavis's pupils, responsible for the literary ‘back ends’ of The Spectator and New Statesman, editing The Listener, and founding the London Review of Books. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Miller brought to literary editing a seriousness or astringency consonant with a Leavisian education. Affronted senior contributors certainly saw it that way. J. B. Priestley pronounced that Miller, like Leavis, ‘hated literature’.127 Yet although Miller chose Downing so that he could (p.101) study with Leavis, he kept a certain personal and intellectual distance. In the final year of his BA, he switched supervisors to Bradbrook, in the interests of broadening his studies rather than ‘defecting’, he has said.128 After establishing himself in London, Miller returned to Cambridge periodically, undefensively defending literary journalism at meetings of the Doughty Society and the English Club.129 In the discussion following his address to the English Club, a Downing student disparaged Frank Kermode but added that in contrast with the majority of literary journalists ‘at least he had a mind’. Neil Roberts, in the audience, chalked the remark up to ‘naive Leavisite arrogance’. ‘Miller of course took him apart.’130

In Rebecca's Vest and Dark Horses, Miller has written at some length about his development and about his association with Leavis.131 Neither of these probing examinations discloses any fierce struggle between a Leavisian faith and the ways of the literary metropole. Miller conveys Leavis's bemusement or archness about his career—he recounts a series of conversations with Leavis about the competitions on literary topics that the New Statesman ran among its amusements, and for which Miller eventually assumed responsibility—but the overall narrative is not one of conversion or compromise.132 It was different for John Coleman, whom Miller used as a reviewer and who was, like Miller himself, a veteran of Granta.133 Coleman's school friend and Downing contemporary David Matthews thought that Coleman failed to make a ‘serious contribution to literature’ commensurate with his talent because he was torn between ‘what FRL stood for’ and his ‘natural bent as a potential writer in the mould of, say, Aldous Huxley’.134 Others who had come to Leavis's seminars found his ‘scorn … easy to imitate’, and turning his style of judgement on their own verse and fiction jolted their confidence enough to make them give up writing.135

Nevertheless, some Downing English became published poets and novelists. Most had day jobs or other pursuits as well. Wolf Mankowitz ran an antiques business while writing novels, screenplays, and musicals, as well as editing the journal Politics and Letters alongside Raymond (p.102) Williams and another Cambridge friend in the late 1940s.136 Poetry and novels account for a number of David Holbrook's scores of published books, the others prowling through educational theory and practice, philosophy, psychoanalysis, music, and literary criticism. Ronald Duncan, a poet and librettist as well as the founder of an agricultural commune, was a strange temperamental fit for Downing English. The child of a wealthy family, born overseas, taught by a private crammer; the wanderer who strikes up friendships with Ezra Pound and Ghandi; the spontaneous buyer of derelict cottages who lives for a time beachcombing for barrels of wine, butter, and other goods washed up near his Devon home: these were roles not alien to the chronicle of upper-middle-class bohemianism, but quite out of keeping with the profile of Leavis's pupils.137 Duncan's father had been at Christ's College, but he opted for Downing because he had been impressed by Leavis's interest in contemporary poetry. Duncan said that experiencing great art caused him physical pain, and Leavis's analyses of Hopkins's poetry were at once invaluably revealing and excruciatingly moving.138

Leavis was not an active mentor to younger poets as poets after his sponsorship of Ronald Bottrall in the early 1930s. He drew D. J. Enright, who started at Downing in 1938, into writing essays and reviews for Scrutiny, but apparently kept his distance from Enright's poetry-writing.139 As editor of Poets of the 1950's (1955), Enright became a sponsor to ‘the Movement’, which included several younger Cambridge students who, though not at Downing, frequented Leavis's seminars and lectures. Donald Davie and Thom Gunn have both attested to Leavis's influence. Leavis's rigour, scepticism, and critique of romanticism have their echoes in the two poets’ work from the 1950s onwards, Blake Morrison has argued in his book on the Movement.140 The association with the Movement and the efforts of admirers such as Martin Green in A Mirror for Anglo-Saxons (1960) and S. Gorley Putt in a 1961 essay to enlist Leavis as a spokesman (the gendered term is advisable) for a putatively English (p.103) plainness and decency alongside Orwell, one version of Lawrence, and C. P. Snow provided some of the impetus for Leavis to dissociate himself from Snow, which of course he did in spectacular fashion.141

It was through Philip Hobsbaum's translation of his teacher's practice to a writers’ workshop that Leavis's English school made its most concerted contribution to creative writing. Together with Peter Redgrove, Peter Porter, Martin Bell, and Edward Lucie-Smith, Hobsbaum was a core member of The Group in London in the 1950s. Later on, Hobsbaum started similar workshops in Belfast and Glasgow when he took up academic jobs in those cities, taking a place, in Neal Ascherson's phrase, in the ‘mental furniture’ of Seamus Heaney, Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray, and other poets.142 The London Group began meeting when formal writers’ workshops along American lines, such as the already well-established programme at the University of Iowa, were unknown in Britain, and there were no ready-made models for writers’ groups of comparable focus and discipline.143 As a Downing undergraduate, Hobsbaum had organized poetry groups and edited Delta, sparring with members of the Doughty Society over editorial decisions. (Harold Mason, at this time a supervisor to many Downing undergraduates, ‘asked whether an editor should include weaker poems in order to make the magazine sufficiently large. Mr Mason further proposed that the meeting vote on the motion, that it was not worth the editor's going into print if he had not a better collection than that in the present number of “Delta.” ’)144 In 1956, Hobsbaum took over the stewardship of a London poetry group that had met at G. S. Fraser's flat until he moved to Leicester to teach. The gatherings at Fraser's had been rowdy ‘bottle parties’. Under Hobsbaum, the circle became ‘the sort of concerned critical group which he had had at Downing College, Cambridge, and the evenings were much more formally organized. Only one poet read each week, in the carefully-timed first half. After a break (coffee) there came a second half when you read poems you had brought’.145

(p.104) Looking back, Hobsbaum described his Group as ‘an experiment in practical criticism’, ‘an activity derived ultimately from the practical criticism classes of Richards and Leavis’. The poems, stories, and chapters to be read were stencilled and duplicated—Hobsbaum's wife, Hannah Kelly, another Group member, shouldered that burden—and circulated to participants a week before the meeting. ‘The provision of scripts meant that there was a built in aid towards relevance in discussion. Divergent opinions could always be referred back to the words on the page, and this prevented discussion from straying into the realms of metaphysics and conjecture.’146 Lucie-Smith quipped that the Group's biggest debts were to Cambridge English and the duplicating machine: the approaches of the former could not have been put to work without the provision for making multiple copies.147 The discussions led Hobsbaum himself back to academic work: he said later that a conversation at one meeting with Lucie-Smith and Mark Roskill was what convinced him to go to Sheffield to begin a PhD under Empson. ‘I was particularly intrigued by the need to relate divergent readings of poems to each other and to the text which occasioned them.’ The questions, about the ontology of the text, were Empson's and Richards's more than they were Leavis's: but it was a Leavisian procedure that had led Hobsbaum to this point.148

Actors and directors drew on Leavis's training in reading in less formal ways. Many Downing students were involved in Cambridge's active theatre scene, and two distiguished directors, Peter Wood and Trevor Nunn, read English with Leavis, having been introduced to his work at school.149 Student actors and directors at other colleges also frequented Leavis's lectures and went to his seminars, including Nunn's predecessor as artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Peter Hall. Hall had resolved before he arrived at Cambridge to ‘learn as much about Shakespeare as I possibly could, because I wanted to direct Shakespeare’.150 He has described Leavis as a decisive influence on his generation of directors, counting Nunn, Richard Eyre, and Jonathan Miller as well as himself among those so indebted.151 Wood, too, has spoken of Leavis's influence on his practice as a director.152

(p.105) Yet Leavis hardly ever went to the theatre and, as another seminar member from another college, Ian McKellen, has remarked, he was ‘scathing about actors’ interpretations of Shakespeare’.153 His insistence on the importance of reading poetic drama as something other than realist drama in verse form did not preclude attending to dramaturgy, but in practice Leavis had little to say about the plays’ theatricality. The incongruity of his theatrical influence becomes all the more pronounced when he is compared, as he usually was, with the patron of Cambridge theatre, G. H. W. Rylands: patrician, a fellow of King's, a Bloomsbury affiliate with enviable West End connections (he directed John Gielgud in Hamlet with Peggy Ashcroft as Ophelia).154 ‘Perhaps’, Hall has said, ‘our ideal was to speak like Rylands, and think like Leavis.’155

What did it mean to think, as a director, like Leavis? For Hall, it meant working outwards from painstaking textual analysis, puzzling over metaphor and ambiguity.156 In the productions of Shakespeare's history plays during Hall's tenure at the RSC, the emphasis on close reading could be discerned in the acting as well. The verse was delivered with cool, rational discipline.157 The conception of the productions owed far less to Leavis. A directorial version of practical criticism could lead into any number of ways of staging and directing a play. As a Shakespeare critic, Leavis did not deal in overarching interpretations of the plays as a whole—unlike Jan Kott, whose vision of Shakespeare as ‘our contemporary’, possessed of a sensibility compatible with existentialism and the theatre of the absurd, Hall and Peter Brook invoked in the programme notes to their productions of the history plays and King Lear in the early 1960s.158 Inasmuch as Hall (p.106) and Nunn were ‘Leavisites’ (as they have been described), it was in their processes rather than in specific visions or ideologies.159

All these types of career have affinities with the powers of thought and expression that literary study is supposed to develop, even if Leavis and other teachers of English would have been loath to acknowledge the usefulness of a literary training for future copywriters. Not every post-Downing career was like this. When Geoffrey Stuttard reflected on his time at Downing (he switched from English to history after Part I, on Leavis's advice or insistence), he made a point of emphasizing the diversity of ‘what happened to ex-Leavis students’ in later life.160 Stuttard became an authority on industrial relations. A good many Downing English alumni took jobs in fields with only the most oblique relation to their literary training or Scrutiny's preoccupations. The garage proprietor's son notified the alumni newsletter that he had become a director of his ‘family business’ within two years of completing his degree: for him and the man who followed his father into a managerial role in the carpet industry, the choice of English probably had no vocational consequences.161 With the others who went into business—heading the mirror department of the Pilkington Brothers glass company, for instance, or managing retail sales for Berkertex, the clothing company best known for its bridal gowns—the mere existence of the Cambridge qualification doubtless eclipsed the fact that it was in English rather than history or some other subject.162 For the Downing English graduates who became solicitors, the degree may have functioned as little more than a character reference. Solicitors had traditionally doubted the merits of university graduates, not least because of the strong association between Oxbridge and the bar, and graduates were underrepresented in the profession at least until the end of the 1950s.163 British industry had a thin record of hiring arts graduates, but after the war the universities stepped up efforts to place them, which may account for the handful of Downing English graduates in industry.164

College traditions, too, guided graduates’ paths. The available histories of Downing are patchy, but the records of the committee that oversaw (p.107) admissions indicate that the college had reasonably strong imperial connections.165 Alex Hill, the master in the early years of the twentieth century, was a keen supporter of imperial connections, and Henry Jackson, the tutor and thus the fellow in charge of admissions, ‘admitted more men from India, Singapore and Hong Kong than was customary in other colleges’.166 In Leavis's first few years, those reading English included a colonial official's son born in Simla and the son of a ‘far Eastern merchant’.167 Since colonial service was a traditional career choice for Cambridge graduates, it is not surprising that several of Leavis's pupils should pursue such careers, in Africa as well as on the Indian subcontinent.168 When Eric Clegg joined the Colonial Audit Service in Hong Kong and F. C. Tinkler, the author of two Scrutiny essays, joined the Indian Civil Service, they were not conforming to a Leavisian pattern but following a path familiar among Downing alumni generally.169

The history of a college or a ‘school’ always threatens to devolve into particularities, but it is possible to draw some general conclusions about the social history of Downing English. Two points stand out. The first is that claims for a snug fit between Leavis's English school and the post-war meritocratic moment are exaggerated, as is the way with claims about ‘the meritocracy’. The persistence of the public schools alongside non-fee-paying grammar schools, coupled with highly unstandardized conditions of university entrance, meant that Britain never had the level of coordination and state monopoly required for a stringently selective system for educating élites, such as France's.170 As those schooled under the new dispensation entered university, the proportion of working-class students reading English at Downing increased. However, they still constituted a minority of the cohort. Moreover, nearly 40 per cent of the working-class men reading English from the mid-1950s did not take the Butler Act route to Cambridge. Either their parents could pay school fees—an instance of increasing prosperity rather than social mobility—or they won scholarships of the sort (p.108) that direct-grant and maintained schools had been obliged to offer since the beginning of the twentieth century.

Secondly, the commonplace that a great many of Leavis's pupils were inspired to become teachers is borne out by the evidence assembled here. That said, teaching was also the most likely career for an English graduate from Clare or Emmanuel, and still more for a Leeds or Nottingham graduate. Other Downing English graduates made use of their training, sometimes in ways that must have surprised or dismayed Leavis, in fields from advertising to the theatre. Discussions of Leavis tend to be discussions of English and criticism, and the due attention paid to the students who became teachers and critics in their own right means that the carpet manufacturers escape notice. As well as being the leader of a movement, Leavis was a college teacher like other college teachers, working with undergraduates for whom literature would not be a vocation.


(1) Doughty Society minute book, 115–16 (1 December 1954), DCCS/4/4/1/1, Downing. Walsh's paper later formed chapter 4 of his The Use of Imagination: Educational Thought and the Literary Mind (London: Chatto & Windus, 1960). The statement about the ‘coordinating consciousness’ (ibid., 84) is from Education and the University and understandably misquoted in the minutes.

(2) For the phrase, see F. R. Leavis, Education and the University: A Sketch for an ‘English School’ (London: Chatto & Windus, 1943).

(3) Raymond O’Malley, ‘Charisma?’, in Denys Thompson (ed.), The Leavises: Recollections and Impressions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 55. See also Ronald Duncan, All Men Are Islands: An Autobiography (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1964), 86–90; D. W. Harding, ‘No Compromise’, in Thompson (ed.), The Leavises, 187–8.

(4) Tony Inglis, untitled essay, Cambridge Quarterly 25/4 (1996): 353.

(5) Charles Winder, ‘Leavis's Downing Seminars: A Student's Notes’, in Ian MacKillop and Richard Storer (eds), F. R. Leavis: Essays and Documents (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 71, 72; Neil Roberts, ‘ “Leavisite” Cambridge in the 1960s’, in MacKillop and Storer (eds), F. R. Leavis: Essays and Documents, 267; Inglis, untitled essay, 354; Brian Cox, The Great Betrayal (London: Chapman, 1992), 78. See also Frank Whitehead, ‘F. R. Leavis and the Schools’, in Thompson (ed.), The Leavises, 144; O’Malley, ‘Charisma?’, 54.

(6) Inglis, untitled essay, 355–7 (quotations from 355); for other examples, see Roberts, ‘ “Leavisite” Cambridge in the 1960s’, 268; Winder, ‘Leavis's Downing Seminars’, 72–91.

(7) Patrick Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, in MacKillop and Storer (eds), F. R. Leavis: Essays and Documents, 258.

(8) David Matthews, Memories of F. R. Leavis (Bishopstone: Brynmill Press, 2010), 13.

(9) Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 262.

(10) I have not provided omnibus footnotes for judgements involving dozens or hundreds of individuals: the table should suffice. References to individuals cite their entries in the admissions books, but they do not name the person in question unless the information is already in the public domain—a restriction imposed by the Data Protection Act 1998. The admissions books are cited by their classifications in the Downing College archives (DCAT/5/1/6-13). Because of the Data Protection Act I was not able to consult the records relating to men matriculating after 1957, but Kate Thompson, the Downing College archivist, very kindly extracted the relevant information from the later admissions books for me. Citations of matriculation data from after 1957 take the form ‘Admissions book (archivist), Downing’. For further details about the source of this data, see the note in the Appendix.

(11) Malcolm Bradbury, ‘The Rise of the Provincials’, Antioch Review 6/4 (1956): 471.

(12) Maurice Bowra to G. H. W. Rylands, 24 May 1964, Maurice Bowra papers, Wadham College, Oxford, quoted in Leslie Mitchell, Maurice Bowra: A Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 111.

(13) The Public Schools and the General Education System: Report of the Committee on Public Schools Appointed by the President of the Board of Education in July 1942 (London: HM Stationery Office, 1944), 2.

(14) Ross McKibbin, Classes and Cultures: England, 1918–1951 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 235. Leavis's pupil Brian Worthington became a teacher at Clifton, and arranged for Q. D. Leavis to visit the school regularly in the 1970s. Q. D. Leavis to Brian Worthington, 16 November 1973, Q. D. Leavis papers, GCPP Leavis 2/1/2, Girton.

(15) One hundred and forty out of 313. These figures exclude seminary graduates and those whose secondary education took place outside Britain. I have counted the Perse, Bemrose, and St Albans as ‘grammar schools’ because they had the word in their names at one time or another. I have also included the City of Norwich and Oldershaw schools as well. The tally would be higher if it included schools casually described as grammar schools, such as the Catholic schools John Fisher or St Illtyd's, Cardiff. As I say above, the categories were elastic.

(16) DCAT/5/1/7, pp. 50, 122; DCAT 5/1/8, p. 166; DCAT 5/1/9, pp. 57, 82; DCAT/5/1/10, p. 165, Downing. All six completed their schooling before the Butler Act's provisions affecting grammar school places came into force.

(17) Ian MacKillop, F. R. Leavis: A life is Criticism (London: Allan Lane, 1995), 32–3; J. M. Gray, A History of the Perse School Cambridge (Cambridge: Bowes & Bowes, 1921), ch. 8.

(18) See the description of Paddington and Maida Vale High School as ‘a London girls’ grammar school’ in Richard E. Gross (ed.), British Secondary Education: Overview and Appraisal (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), iii.

(19) Muriel Bradbrook, untitled essay in Ronald Hayman (ed.), My Cambridge (1977; London: Robson Books, 1986), 39.

(20) OED, s.v. ‘school’ n1.

(21) McKibbin, Classes and Cultures, 237.

(22) Frances Stevens, The Living Tradition: The Social and Educational Assumptions of the Grammar School (1960; London: Hutchinson, 1972), 31.

(23) The typical pattern of ‘educational expansion’ in Britain has been that ‘though the fastest rates of growth almost always accrue to the working class, the greatest absolute increments of opportunity go to the service class’. A. H. Halsey, A. F. Heath, and J. M. Ridge, Origins and Destinations: Family, Class, and Education in Modern Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), 188.

(24) McKibbin, Classes and Cultures, 241–3.

(25) Brian Jackson and Dennis Marsden, Education and the Working Class: Some General Themes Raised by a Study of 88 Working-Class Children in a Northern Industrial City (1962; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966); Flann Campbell, Eleven-Plus and All That: The Grammar School in a Changing Society (London: Watts, 1956); Stevens, Living Tradition.

(26) Michael Bell, ‘F. R. Leavis’, in A. Walton Litz, Louis Menand, and Lawrence Rainey (eds), The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 7, Modernism and the New Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 392; Francis Mulhern, ‘Culture and Authority’, Critical Quarterly 37/1 (1995): 84. See also Colin Evans, English People: The Experience of Teaching and Learning English in British Universities (Buckingham: Open University Press, 1993), 134–5.

(27) M. C. Bradbrook, ‘ “Nor Shall My Sword”: The Leavises Mythology’, in Thompson (ed.), The Leavises, 36.

(28) John Vaizey, ‘The Public Schools’, in Hugh Thomas (ed.), The Establishment: A Symposium (London: Anthony Blond, 1959), 34. Vaizey was reporting what an undergraduate told him. An economist trained at Cambridge, Vaizey had been ‘on the fringe’ of the Scrutiny movement. See John Vaizey, untitled essay in Hayman (ed.), My Cambridge, 129; John Vaizey, ‘Scrutiny and Education’, Essays in Criticism 14/1 (1964): 36–42.

(29) See Daniel I. Greenstein, ‘The Junior Members, 1900–1990’ in Brian Harrison (ed.), The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 8, The Twentieth Century (1994; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), esp. 54–5 n. 36. Greenstein's forensic account of the origins and destinations of Oxford students and the massive database on which it rests unfortunately have no Cambridge equivalents. On the nature and scope of the Oxford project, see Daniel I. Greenstein, ‘Standard, Meta-Standard: A Framework for Coding Occupational Data’, Historical Social Research 16 (1991): 6–12.

(30) Thomas Hinde, A Great Day School in London: A History of King's College School (London: James & James, 1994), 91–2.

(31) This figure excludes several Americans who had already completed undergraduate degrees and Catholic priests enrolling for Cambridge BAs after completing their seminary training. Fathers’ occupations are available for all 59 of those educated wholly or partly in Britain and reading English for their first post-secondary qualification. One matriculation document for one of these undergraduates (number 13 on the list) provides no information about his father other than that the father was dead, but this man, Ronald Duncan, wrote a memoir that goes into detail about his family. Duncan, All Men Are Islands.

(32) This was D. J. Enright's father. The admissions book calls him a postman; Enright elaborated on his family background in a letter to Richard Hoggart after the publication of the latter's The Uses of Literacy. DCAT 5/1/8, p. 134, Downing; Enright to Hoggart, 12 March 1957, Richard Hoggart papers, 3/11/313, Sheffield.

(33) Again, this figure excludes priests and people who had completed undergraduate degrees overseas (in the United States and Kenya). It also excludes the man educated at a French lycée.

(34) A full list (again, detached from the undergraduates’ names on account of the Data Protection Act): surface labourer, colliery; printer's machine minder; master mariner; market-stall holder; warrant officer, Metropolitan Police; police sergeant; WRA HMS Vernon; regional fuel inspector; baker; chef; music hall artiste; armaments fitter; fitter in aircraft factory; cabinet maker; greengrocer; master grocer; ironmonger and house finisher; motor mechanic; motor trader and garage proprietor; manager of men's outfitting shop; hosiery warehouse manager; intertype operator; patternmaker; watchmaker; leathercroft instructor; turner; tool factor. I am treating ‘tool factor’ as a working-class job, though this is open to debate. The OED definition of ‘factor’ that seems most pertinent is a Sheffield and Birmingham usage: ‘a trader who buys hardware goods from the workman or “little master” by whom they are made, usually causing his own trade-mark to be stamped upon them’. OED, s.v. ‘factor’, n, I.4.c.

(35) For comparison, 19.4 per cent of male undergraduates and research students entering all Oxford colleges between 1946 and 1967 were sons of clerks, skilled workers, small shopkeepers, and semi-skilled and unskilled workers (semi- and unskilled workers’ sons amounted for 9.1 per cent of the male student population, and those of clerks, skilled workers, and small shopkeepers 10.3 per cent). Greenstein, ‘Junior Members’, 56. Of course, university-wide figures mask the differences between individual colleges.

(36) Jackson and Marsden, Education and the Working Class, 164–9. See also A. H. Halsey, ‘Oxford and the British Universities’, in Harrison (ed.), Twentieth Century, 584, 585.

(37) Jackson and Marsden, Education and the Working Class, 115.

(38) Anthony Sampson, Anatomy of Britain (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1962), 199–200. As master, Ashby supported efforts already underway at the college to recruit a greater diversity of students, with more stringent academic criteria. Previously, the college had focused its recruitment efforts on ‘a number of traditional public schools’. Alan Burges and Richard J. Eden, ‘Ashby, Eric, Baron Ashby (1904–1992)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), 〈http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/50791〉 (accessed 10 February 2011).

(39) Selina Todd, ‘From Scholarship Boys to Comprehensive Kids: Education, Getting on and Getting out of the Working-Class, c.1945–1970’, unpublished paper, March 2009.

(40) Pat Thane, ‘Girton Graduates: Earning and Learning, 1920s–1980s’, Women's History Review 13/3 (2004): 349.

(41) Matthews, Memories of F. R. Leavis, 11 (emphasis in original).

(42) DCAT/5/1/6, p. 211, Downing. Other colleges probably had more sons of ‘gentlemen’. At Oxford, 2.3 per cent of matriculants between 1920 and 1939 gave ‘gentleman’ as their father's occupation. Between 1900 and 1913 12.1 per cent did. Greenstein, ‘Junior Members’, 55 n. 37, 56.

(43) Leavis to Bonamy Dobrée, 13 February 1944, Bonamy Dobrée correspondence, Leeds.

(44) Leavis to Raymond, 2 June 1943, Chatto & Windus archive, CW 94/17, Reading.

(45) ‘Honours, Appointments, Etc.’, NL (1960): 33 (McCarthy); ‘Obituaries’, NL (1983): 20 (Kenefeck); ‘Appointments and Other News’, NL (1942): 10 (Churchill).

(46) Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 255. The other ‘fellow-travelling Anglicans’ Harrison mentions were David Matthews and Eric Mathieson, about both of whom more below.

(47) Leavis to Harold Raymond, 2 June 1943, Chatto & Windus archive, CW 94/17, Reading. Sebastian Moore recalls that Leavis also joked that he had a ‘large Roman clerical following … only because he had put Hopkins on the map, thus promoting “one of ours” to the top rank of English poets’. Sebastian Moore, ‘F. R. Leavis: A Memoir’, in Thompson (ed.), The Leavises, 61.

(48) Moore, ‘F. R. Leavis: A Memoir’, 61, 63, 64, 65–6, 67.

(49) Empson to Roger Sale, n.d. (1973), in John Haffenden (ed.), Selected Letters of William Empson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 546.

(50) Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 256.

(51) In 1948 Downside School and Downside Abbey each had a subscription. Scrutiny trade sales ledger, 1945–9, 97, Deighton, Bell, & Co. archives, Add. 9453, B5/1, CUL.

(52) After the Butler Act, Latymer Upper became a direct-grant school and its headmaster was invited to join the Headmasters’ Conference—the traditional badge of ‘public school’ status. J. S. Cockburn, H. P. F. King, and K. G. T. McDonnell (eds), A History of the County of Middlesex, vol. 1, Physique, Archaeology, Domesday, Ecclesiastical Organization, The Jews, Religious Houses, Education of Working Classes to 1870, Private Education from Sixteenth Century (London, 1969), 305–6.

(53) Roberts, ‘ “Leavisite” Cambridge in the 1960s’, 264–5, 266–7, 271. Speirs's son Logan read English at Downing from 1957 to 1960.

(54) ‘Appointments and Awards’, NL (1955): 19; ‘Appointments, Etc.’, NL (1961): 36 (Knight); ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1963): 30 (Monk).

(55) The Teaching of English: Issued by the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters in Secondary Schools (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966), xii; Tiffnews: Newsletter of Tiffinian Association, no. 243 (March 2010) (unpaginated); ‘Appointments, Retirements and Distinctions’, NL (1982): 13.

(56) Boris Ford, ‘Obituary: Professor L. C. Knights’, The Independent, 15 March 1997. However, only one other boy came up from Gresham's while Thompson taught there to read English at Downing. No boy from Yeovil Grammar, where Thompson was headmaster from 1944 to 1962, read English at Downing. Thompson and Leavis were not on good terms between 1935 and the early 1960s (for reasons Thompson describes in ‘Teacher and Friend’, in Thompson [ed.], The Leavises, 49–50), though the break was not complete—Thompson visited Downing College in 1937, 1948, and 1955 to address the Doughty Society (‘Chronological Record of Society Meetings’, Doughty Society minute book, unnumbered pages and p. 353, DCCS/4/4/1/1, Downing). The second Gresham's alumnus went up to Downing after the disagreement between Thompson and Q. D. Leavis. Thompson, who was not a Downing alumnus himself, may have encouraged promising sixth-formers to apply to other colleges. See MacKillop, F. R. Leavis, 151.

(57) Matthews, Memories of F. R. Leavis, 4, 5, 19.

(58) MacKillop, F. R. Leavis, 11.

(59) Karl Miller, Rebecca's Vest: A Memoir (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1993), 70–5, 80.

(60) Doughty Society minute book, 36 (21 May 1948), DCCS/4/4/1/1, Downing. Morley was Edward Ascroft Morley, admitted to Downing in October 1938. DCAT 5/1/8, p. 158, Downing.

(61) Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 245, 246–7, 248–9.

(62) Michael Black, ‘The Long Pursuit’, in Thompson (ed.), The Leavises, 86; Boris Ford, ‘David Holbrook: A Portrait’, in Edwin Webb (ed.), Powers of Being: David Holbrook and His Work (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1995), 36.

(63) See, for instance, David Holbrook's speech at his eightieth birthday celebration at Downing College in January 2003, 〈http://www.dow.cam.ac.uk/dow_server/events/Hol brook80th.html〉, accessed 23 March 2011. See also Black, ‘Long Pursuit’, 86.

(64) Roger Scruton, England: An Elegy (London: Chatto & Windus, 2000), 35–6. That Miles had not been one of Leavis's pupils is my conclusion, not Scruton's.

(65) ‘Scrutiny: A Manifesto’, Scrutiny 1/1 (May 1932): 5.

(66) [R. B. Ford, I. Watt, C. Barber, L. Salingar, F. Whitehead, and H. E. Poole,] ‘Report of a Committee of Enquiry into the Problems of Teaching in the English Faculty: February–April 1937’, 2, Cam.a.937.2, CUL.

(67) Ibid.

(68) A. H. Stewart and V. de S. Pinto, ‘The Training of the Teacher of English’, in Vivian de Sola Pinto (ed.), The Teaching of English in Schools: A Symposium Edited for the English Association (London: Macmillan, 1946), 158 n.

(69) Carol Dyhouse, Students: A Gendered History (London: Routledge, 2006), 23–7; Richard Hoggart, A Local Habitation (Life and Times Vol. I: 1918–1940) (London: Chatto & Windus, 1988), 185; Bruce Truscot [pseud. E. Allison Peers], Redbrick University (London: Faber & Faber, 1943), 154; Stevens, Living Tradition, 212.

(70) Leonard Schwartz, ‘Professions, Elites, and Universities in England, 1870–1970’, Historical Journal 47 (2004): 941–62, quotation from 950–1.

(71) Emmanuel College Magazine, 1959–2008; Clare Association Annual, 1969–2007. Unsurprisingly, the proportions were higher for graduates of the women's colleges. Thane writes of Girton women: ‘Of the graduates of the early 1920s for whom we have employment information 62 per cent became schoolteachers at some time, slightly fewer among 1930s graduates and about one-third of those who graduated in 1944–53.’ Thane, ‘Girton Graduates’, 354.

(72) An exception was M. J. Carthew, a ‘Tutor-Organiser for Industry’ for the Workers’ Educational Association's Eastern District. ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1965): 28; ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1966): 32.

(73) Lionel Elvin, Encounters with Education (London: Institute of Education, 1987), chs 67. Elvin discusses his limited and not very happy relationship with Leavis on pp. 89–90.

(74) In Britain: Frank Bradbrook (University College of North Wales, Bangor); Gordon Cox (University of Manchester); B. T. Harrison (University of Sheffield); Tony Inglis (University of Sussex); R. T. Jones (University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, and then the University of York); Norman Henfrey (at the University of Bristol after many years teaching in France and Canada); Philip Hobsbaum (Queen's University, Belfast, and then the University of Glasgow); G. D. Klingopulos (University College of Swansea and then Cardiff ); J. C. F. (Roy) Littlewood (University of Stellenbosch and then the University of Bristol); Ian MacKillop (University of Sheffield); H. W. Mills (University of Kent); C. H. Page (University of Exeter); John Newton (Clare College, Cambridge); Ian Robinson (University College of Swansea); John Saunders (University of Newcastle); Morris Shapira (University of Kent); P. P. Tomlinson (University of Bristol); Geoffrey Walton (University College of the South West of England); Brian Way (University College of Swansea); John Worthen (University College of Swansea). Outside Britain: Marius Bewley (Rutgers University); Tom Birrell (University of Nijmegen); R. H. Crowther (St Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia); D. J. Enright (multiple institutions in Egypt, West Germany, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore); R. A Fothergill (York University, Toronto); F. K. Hoyle (National University of Education, Aichiken); C. R. Levenson (Carleton University, Ottawa); Chris Terry (St Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia); M. S. Vaughan (University of Natal, Durban); Geoffrey Walton (from 1949, at University College, Accra; University College of the Gold Coast; Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria); John Wiltshire (University of Sydney and LaTrobe University in Melbourne).

(75) James Sydney Abraham at Loughborough Training College and later Hull College of Further Education; David Adams at the College of Commerce, Bristol; John Brown at Bretton Hall College of Higher Education, Wakefield; P. G. Canovan at Northern Counties Training College, Benton, Newcastle-on-Tyne; Peter Catley at Ware College, Hertfordshire; L. V. Hebblewhite at Hounslow Borough College (formerly Chiswick Polytechnic); Alan Durband at C. F. Mott College of Education; Maurice Hussey at Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology; J. H. Robinson at the Technical College, H. M. Dockyard, Chatham and then at H. M. Dockyard, Rosyth, Fife; M. B. Mencher at St John's College of Further Education, Manchester; J. J. Say at the College of Sarum St Michael in Salisbury (a training college for women, to staff Church of England schools); K. A. P. Smith at the Dorset Institute of Higher Education.

(76) Karl Miller, Dark Horses An Experience of Literary Journalism (London: Picador, 1999), 191; Frank Kermode, Not Entitled: A Memoir (New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1995), 211.

(77) ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1965): 31; MacKillop, F. R. Leavis, 351–3.

(78) M. Wynn Thomas, email to the author, 22 March 2011; David Dykes, The University College of Swansea: An Illustrated History (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1992), 187; Eric Jacobs, Kingsley Amis: A Biography (1995; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), 137–8; Richard Bradford, Lucky Him: The Life of Kingsley Amis (London: Peter Owen, 2001), 105, 113.

(79) S. W. Dawson, ‘Scrutiny and the Idea of a University’, Essays in Criticism 14/1 ( January 1964): 8.

(80) ‘Appointments’, NL (1971): 31.

(81) Patrick Collinson, The History of a History Man: Or, the Twentieth Century Viewed from a Safe Distance: The Memoirs of Patrick Collinson (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2011), 173. Chris Terry (1961) also completed a PhD at Kent, in 1973. ‘Appointments, Retirements, Etc.’, NL (1974): 33.

(82) Leavis to Harding, 27 November 1963, F. R. Leavis papers, Col 9.59a, Emmanuel; D. J. Enright, Conspirators and Poets (London: Chatto & Windus, 1966), 34–5 .

(83) Howard Mills, untitled essay, Cambridge Quarterly 25/4 (1996): 373; F. R. Leavis to the Times Literary Supplement, 3 March 1972, in F. R. Leavis, Letters in Criticism, ed. John Tasker (London: Chatto & Windus, 1974), 149.

(84) L. C. Knights, untitled essay, Cambridge Quarterly 25/4 (1996): 359. See also L. C. Knights, ‘English at Bristol’, Critical Survey 1/3 (autumn 1963): 182.

(85) ‘Appointments and Awards’, NL (1955): 21. Two other Downing English alumni, Roy Littlewood and Norman Henfrey, arrived at Bristol in the early 1970s after Knights had gone to Cambridge to succeed Basil Willey as King Edward VII Professor.

(86) Fred Inglis, ‘Professor Ian MacKillop’, The Independent, 3 June 2004; ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1968): 40. Empson was mindful of these dismissals: Empson to [Jeffrey] Miller, 19 November 1974, William Empson papers, bMS Eng 1401, Houghton Library, Harvard University (reprinted in Haffenden [ed.], Selected Letters of William Empson, 594–5).

(87) ‘Honours, Appointments, Etc.’, NL (1960): 31; [Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy,] The Craig Affair: Background to the Case of Dr David Craig and Others, Lancaster University (London: Council for Academic Freedom and Democracy, 1972); Ian MacKillop, ‘Rubrics and Reading Lists’, in MacKillop and Storer (eds) F. R. Leavis: Essays and Documents, 65. Jones's time at Natal is discussed briefly in chapter 8. Norman Henfrey taught overseas, in France and Canada, for most of the two decades between graduating from Cambridge and joining the English department at Bristol in 1972. Norman Henfrey, ‘Home and Away’, Critical Quarterly 52/1 (2010): 17–23; ‘Notes on Contributors’, ibid., 128.

(88) Peter Dickinson, ‘Professor Wilfrid Mellers: Musicologist and Composer’, The Independent, 19 May 2008.

(89) David Pocock, untitled notes on letters deposited in the F. R. Leavis papers, Col 9.59.121, Emmanuel. In an interview, the anthropologist Jack Goody said that he had applied to Downing to read English and had not been accepted, though friends from school (St Albans) won scholarships. These must have included H. L. B. Moody, who went up to Downing in 1937. Goody says that he had been taught by an (unnamed) English teacher who had studied with Leavis. Goody was an undergraduate at St John's College and attended Leavis's seminars. Jack Goody, interview with Eric Hobsbawm, 18 May 1991, available at 〈http://www.dspace.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/268〉 (accessed 4 July 2011).

(91) Ibid.; Leavis to Pocock, 26 July 1961, Leavis papers, Col 9.59.121, Emmanuel, and Pocock's note on this letter at the end of the file (about the Lienhardts). On Pocock's debt to and enduring interest in Leavis, including his late engagement with Michael Polanyi's philosophy, see Jonathan Parry and Edward Simpson, ‘David Pocock's Contributions and the Legacy of Leavis’, Contributions to Indian Sociology 44/3 (2010): 331–59. See also the testimony of another Cambridge-trained anthropologist of this generation, the South African David Brokensha: ‘David Brokensha: Love and Work on Three Continents’, part 2 (〈http://www.brokiesway.co.za/university.htm〉 accessed 8 August 2011); David Brokensha, interview with Alan Macfarlane, available at 〈http://www.alanmacfarlane.com/DO/filmshow/brokensha1_fast.htm〉 (accessed 8 August 2011).

(92) Parry and Simpson, ‘Pocock's Contributions’, 334–5; Ruel, interview with Macfarlane. For a different but in certain respects comparable course from undergraduate literary studies to a hermeneutic anthropology, see Clifford Geertz, After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995), 98, 101, 114.

(93) E. E. Evans-Pritchard, ‘Social Anthropology: Past and Present: The Marett Lecture, 1950’, Man 50/198 (1950): 118–24, quotations from 121; see also 123–4.

(94) F. R. Leavis, ‘Mr Pryce-Jones, the British Council and British Culture’, Scrutiny 18/3 (winter 1951–2): 224–8; F. R. Leavis, Nor Shall My Sword: Discourses on Pluralism, Compassion, and Social Hope (London: Chatto & Windus, 1972), 45, 71; Leavis to Pocock, 25 August 1952 and 5 September 1952, Leavis papers, Col 9.59.121, Emmanuel.

(95) Leavis to Parsons, 3 February 1946, Chatto & Windus archive, CW 100/33, Reading. Hackett earned a doctorate in Paris in the 1930s and became an authority on Rimbaud.

(96) ‘Ronald Jerome Owens (1947)’, NL (1996): 45.

(97) H. L. B. Moody, untitled essay, Cambridge Quarterly 25/4 (1996): 374.

(98) Leavis to D. W. Harding, 29 July 1947, Leavis papers, Col 9.59a, Emmanuel.

(99) Trade sales ledger, 46, Deighton, Bell, & Co. Archives, Add. 9453, B5/1, CUL. Between November 1947 and September 1948, the British Council paid for 131 subscriptions to Scrutiny. The journal's print run ranged from 750 to 1400 over its lifespan. As periodicals were still subject to paper-rationing in 1947–8, it is unlikely that the print run at this time was at the top of this range. L. C. Knights, ‘Scrutiny and F. R. L.: A Personal Memoir’, in Thompson (ed.), The Leavises, 73. Compare Kerry McSweeney, ‘Scrutiny’, in Alvin Sullivan (ed.), British Literary Magazines, vol. 4, The Modern Age, 1914–1984 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), 423.

(100) MacKillop, F. R. Leavis, 224, 259; Leavis to Harding, 16 March 1941, F. R. Leavis papers, Col 9.59a, Emmanuel; Leavis, Nor Shall My Sword, 45, 71.

(101) F. R. Leavis to Philip Brockbank, 21 March 1976, F. R. Leavis papers, York.

(102) ‘Obituary’, NL (1975): 15–16.

(103) ‘Obituaries’, NL (1993): 39.

(104) Asa Briggs, The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom, vol. 5, Competition, 1955–1974 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 161–4. Though not for Karl Miller, who found BBC Television a ‘brisk-to-hysterical place’ and was happy to leave Tonight for a job on The Spectator. Miller, Rebecca's Vest, 171–2.

(105) ‘Obituaries’, NL (1993): 39.

(106) J. L. Evans, ‘Peter Rathmell Fozzard (1954)’, NL (1996): 39–40.

(108) ‘John Farrell (1944)’, NL (1999): 33; ‘Norman Walter Guilding (1946)’, NL (2001): 35; A. I. Doyle, ‘Memories’, NL (2005): 22–3; Matthews, Memories of F. R. Leavis, 6–7.

(109) ‘Obituaries’, NL (1986): 18; M. B. Kinch, William Baker, and John Kimber, F. R. Leavis and Q. D. Leavis: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1989).

(110) ‘Norman Walter Guilding’, 35.

(111) Fredric Warburg, An Occupation for Gentlemen (1959; Cambridge, Mass.: Hutchinson, 1960); Michael Barber, Anthony Powell: A Life (London: Duckworth Overlook, 2004), 52–4.

(112) Jack Dalglish, ‘Anthony Ridley Beal (1943)’, NL (2004): 27.

(113) Roberts, ‘ “Leavisite” Cambridge in the 1960s’, 273.

(114) Myra Barrs, ‘Obituary: Martin Lightfoot’, The Independent, 1 June 1999. On NATE, see Chapter 4, below.

(115) George Greenfield, A Smattering of Monsters: A Kind of Memoir (Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1995), 43–5.

(116) George Greenfield, Scribblers for Bread: Aspects of the English Novel since 1945 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1989). See also Brian Glanville, Football Memories: Over 50 Years of the Beautiful Game (London: Robson Books, 2004), 62–3, 125.

(117) Greenfield, Smattering of Monsters, 111. Another Downing English alumnus working in publishing was Anthony John Reeve (1959), who was Editing, Design and Production manager at Oxford University Press in 1970. ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1970): 35.

(118) Terrance Dicks, The Case of the Fagin File (London: n.p., 1980), author's note; Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke, The Making of Doctor Who (1972; London: Target Books, 1976), esp. 24.

(119) ‘On Target: Terrance Dicks’ (2009), in Doctor Who: The Monster of Peladon (BBC DVD, 2010).

(120) Dicks, Case of the Fagin File, n.p. (author's note).

(121) ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1962): 26; ‘Appointments, Retirements and Distinctions’, NL (1986): 10; ‘David Brook Tributes’, Evening Courier (Halifax), 21 November 2006. This said, R. C. Churchill, a contributor to Scrutiny and the Pelican Guide to English Literature and a schoolmaster who read English at Downing from 1935 to 1938, wrote a Penguin Special on football in the 1950s.

(122) ‘Richard Andrew (Dick) Dyer’, NL (1994): 31.

(123) ‘John Metcalfe (1940)’, NL (1994): 35.

(124) Briggs, Competition, 225; Humphrey Carpenter, The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1996), 250.

(125) Leavis, Education and the University, 43–5; Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 258; MacKillop, F. R. Leavis, 340.

(126) Miller, Rebecca's Vest, 138; Leavis, Education and the University, 43.

(127) Miller, Dark Horses, 60.

(128) Miller, Rebecca's Vest, 137.

(129) Doughty Society minute book, 209, DCCS/4/4/1/1, Downing; Roberts, ‘ “Leavisite” Cambridge in the 1960s’, 273.

(130) The critic of Kermode was Martin Lightfoot. According to Roberts, Miller warmed to Lightfoot nevertheless, and helped launch him on his publishing career. Roberts, ‘ “Leavisite” Cambridge in the 1960s’, 273.

(131) Miller, Dark Horses, chs 3, 4, 7, 11; Miller, Rebecca's Vest, 137–47,

(132) Miller, Rebecca's Vest, 140–1.

(133) Miller, Dark Horses, 25; Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 260; Blake Morrison, The Movement; English Poetry and Fiction of the 1950s (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), 30.

(134) Matthews, Memories of F. R. Leavis, 18.

(135) Cox, Great Betrayal, 79.

(136) ‘Wolf Mankowitz (1942)’, NL (1998): 36–7; Dai Smith, Raymond Williams: A Warrior's Tale (Cardigan: Parthian Books, 2008), 240–7.

(137) Duncan's memoir, All Men Are Islands, may be compared with Jack Lindsay, Fanfrolico, and After (London: Bodley Head, 1962).

(138) Duncan, All Men Are Islands, 84–90, 103–5. One wonders about some of Duncan's Leavis stories. Describing supervisions in which Leavis complained of others’ failings and slights against him, Duncan reports him as saying, ‘Tom Eliot's not written anything since the Quartets’ (90), but Duncan began studying with Leavis three years before ‘Burnt Norton’ was published.

(139) See David Holbrook, untitled essay, Cambridge Quarterly 25/4 (1996): 346.

(140) Morrison, The Movement, 31–3; and, for Enright, 2–3, 33–5. See also Donald Davie, These the Companions: Recollections (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 23–4, 74–82.

(141) MacKillop, F. R. Leavis, 317. See also Martin Green, Children of the Sun: A Narrative of ‘Decadence’ in England after 1918 (New York: Basic Books, 1976), 413–21; F. R. Leavis to the Sunday Times, 1 November 1964, in Letters in Criticism, 114.

(142) Neal Ascherson, ‘Great Brain Spotter’, Independent on Sunday, 28 February 1993.

(143) Mark McGurl, The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009), ch. 2; Christopher Hilliard, To Exercise Our Talents: The Democratization of Writing in Britain (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006), esp. ch. 8.

(144) Doughty Society minute book, 109–12, quotation from 110 (23 November 1954), DCCS/4/4/1/1, Downing. Hobsbaum presented a paper the following week defending Delta in more detail. Ibid., 114 (29 November 1954).

(145) Alan Brownjohn, untitled typescript, n.d., The Group papers, MS 4557/1360, Reading.

(146) Philip Hobsbaum, untitled typescript, n.d., The Group papers, MS 4557/1358, Reading.

(147) Edward Lucie-Smith, ‘Uses and Abuses of the Literary Group’, Critical Survey, 1/2 (spring 1963): 78.

(148) Hobsbaum, untitled typescript, n.d., The Group papers, MS 4557/1358, Reading.

(149) Harrison, ‘Downing after the War’, 262; Ronald Hayman, ‘Peter Wood: A Partnership’, The Times, 8 June 1974. For other Downing English undergraduates involved in theatre while at Cambridge, see ‘Obituaries’, NL (1986): 18 (John Kimber); ‘Philip John Strick (1958)’, NL (2007): 55.

(150) John Tusa, interview with Sir Peter Hall, BBC Radio 3, 2 December 2001. Available at 〈http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/johntusainterview/hall_transcript.shtml〉 (accessed 22 March 2011).

(151) Heather Neill, ‘My Best Teacher’, Times Education Supplement, 2 March 2001.

(152) Hayman, ‘Peter Wood’.

(153) ‘Cambridge University Undergraduate Productions’, 〈http://www.mckellen.com/stage/index0.htm〉, (accessed 23 December 2010). Another Cambridge actor who carried a debt to Leavis—and his wife—is Miriam Margolyes, who was taught by Q. D. Leavis from 1959 to 1962, when she was supervising for Newnham College. Miriam Margolyes to Kate Leavis, 8 April 1981, Q. D. Leavis papers, GCPP Leavis 1/3/4/2, Girton.

(155) Sally Beauman, The Royal Shakespeare Company: A History of Ten Decades (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), 268.

(156) Beauman, Royal Shakespeare Company, 268; Tusa, interview with Hall; Neill, ‘My Best Teacher’.

(157) Ibid., 268–9.

(158) Frank Kermode, ‘The Shakespearian Rag’, New York Review of Books, 24 September 1964. The essay on Othello (F. R. Leavis, ‘Diabolic Intellect and the Noble Hero: A Note on Othello’, Scrutiny 6/3 [1937]: 259–83) is a striking exception. Sir Laurence Olivier wrote to Leavis to say how the essay had affected his interpretation of Othello's character. Richard Wilson, a student at York in the 1970s, says that Leavis dined out on this story in his lectures. ‘Leavis's story was that Olivier had had the temerity to write a letter of thanks to him for the influence of his essay, but that he was so appalled to be associated with such a production and film, and to be approached about it by a mere mummer, that he had not deigned to reply.’ Wilson, letter to the editor, London Review of Books, 6 December 1990.

(159) Janet Watts, ‘The Nunn Story’, Observer Colour Supplement, 2 May 1982, 39, quoted in Christopher J. McCullough, ‘The Cambridge Connection: Towards a Materialist Theatre Practice’, in Graham Holderness (ed.), The Shakespeare Myth (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988), 113.

(160) Geoffrey Stuttard, ‘Three Bites at the Cherry’, NL (2001): 25.

(161) DCAT/5/1/13, p. 125; ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1962): 29; DCAT/5/1/11, p. 358; ‘Honours, Appointments, Etc.’, NL (1960): 34.

(162) ‘Appointments, Etc.’, NL (1961): 37; ‘Appointments, Honours, Etc.’, NL (1970): 33.

(163) Schwartz, ‘Professions, Elites, and Universities’, 952.

(164) Ibid., 950, 952; Greenstein, ‘Junior Members’, 71. See also Paul Vaughan, Exciting Times in the Accounts Department (London: Sinclair Stevenson, 1995), 9–10.

(165) Selection Committee minute book, 1935–54, DCAT 9/1/2, Downing.

(166) W. O. Henderson, ‘The Age of Storm and Stress, 1888–1914’, in Stanley French et al., Aspects of Downing History, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Downing College Association, 1989), 76; French, History of Downing College, 139.

(167) Margaretha Sandys-Wood, ‘Adrian Leslie Sandys-Wood (1934)’, NL (1999): 38; DCAT/5/1/7, p. 59, Downing; DCAT/5/1/7, p. 11, Downing.

(168) Anthony Gregson became a chartered surveyor and worked for the War Department Lands Branch in the 1950s and 1960s, which took him to postings in East Africa. ‘Anthony Thomas Reynolds Gregson (1939)’, NL (1991): 36.

(169) ‘Distinctions and Appointments of Downing Men During the Past Year’, NL (1938): 6; ‘Appointments and Other News’, NL (1942): 10; F. C. Tinkler, ‘The Winter's Tale’, Scrutiny 5/4 (March 1937): 343–64; Tinkler, ‘Cymbeline’, Scrutiny 7/1 (June 1938): 5–20.

(170) For an anatomy, see Jean-François Sirinelli, Génération intellectuelle: khâgneux et normaliens dans l’entre-deux-guerres (Paris : Fayard, 1988).