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Free Content Q.D. Leavis: Women and Education under Scrutiny

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Q.D. Leavis's attack on Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas (1938) is often seen in the light of the prevalent ‘anti-Bloomsbury’ sentiments among writers associated with the journal Scrutiny. However, an examination of other articles and reviews produced by Leavis for Scrutiny during the 1930s can help to recontextualise her attack on Woolf as part of a wider argument about women and education. Leavis's reviews of novels by Rosamund Lehmann and Dorothy L. Sayers show her to have been impatient with the image of the universities conveyed in popular fiction, whilst her praise for Ruth Adam illustrates her wish to see education portrayed in a realistic and socially responsible manner. Leavis's belief that women could and should compete on equal terms with men in the field of education now seems blinkered, but the articles and reviews examined here show that her attack on Woolf had its roots in both her own experiences of education and her interest in literary realism.

Keywords: Q.D. Leavis; Woolf; education; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of the West of England

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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  • Literature & History is a biannual international refereed journal concerned to investigate the relations between writing, history and ideology. It provides an open forum for practitioners coming from the distinctive vantage points of either discipline (or from other adjacent subject areas) to explore issues of common concern: period, content, gender, class, nationality, changing sensibilities, discourse and language. Unique in its essentially plural identity, Literature & History began publication in 1975 and since 1992 has appeared under the imprint of Manchester University Press. Special issues devoted to a particular period or theme (produced under guest editorship) are published from time to time. Literature & History is a well known, theoretically self-conscious, and much referred to landmark in interdisciplinary studies and has consistently attracted contributions of high calibre.

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