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39

Critical Revolutions

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terms
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notes

Mulhern, F. (2018). Critical Revolutions. New Left Review, 110, pp. 39-56

53

‘Desperate optimism’ was a para-Gramscian phrase current in Scrutiny circles in the latter years of the journal, and the ambiguous precedent of Leavisian ‘criticism’ is a restless presence in North’s history. Leavis and his co-thinkers fought a long war for the training of sensibility as they understood it, taking the fight to the central institutions of literate culture, including the press and, with greatest success, the secondary schools. [...] There is some irony in his recurring assertion that the prevailing scholarly order is one in which literary study functions as symptomatic analysis of culture: his own alternative is one in which, however austerely defined as literary (no movies?) and as study (no creative writing?), it mediates the general purposes of a cultural revolution. The difference, as he reminds us, is between interpreting the world and changing it—and in this the basic mismatch of project and institutional situation becomes clear. Nothing materially weightier than the customary discretions of some tenured individuals with spare reading and writing time unites them. The project is one without either a cohesive ethico-political agency or the necessary institutional leverage.

—p.53 by Francis Mulhern 3 years, 5 months ago

‘Desperate optimism’ was a para-Gramscian phrase current in Scrutiny circles in the latter years of the journal, and the ambiguous precedent of Leavisian ‘criticism’ is a restless presence in North’s history. Leavis and his co-thinkers fought a long war for the training of sensibility as they understood it, taking the fight to the central institutions of literate culture, including the press and, with greatest success, the secondary schools. [...] There is some irony in his recurring assertion that the prevailing scholarly order is one in which literary study functions as symptomatic analysis of culture: his own alternative is one in which, however austerely defined as literary (no movies?) and as study (no creative writing?), it mediates the general purposes of a cultural revolution. The difference, as he reminds us, is between interpreting the world and changing it—and in this the basic mismatch of project and institutional situation becomes clear. Nothing materially weightier than the customary discretions of some tenured individuals with spare reading and writing time unites them. The project is one without either a cohesive ethico-political agency or the necessary institutional leverage.

—p.53 by Francis Mulhern 3 years, 5 months ago

(noun) follower disciple / (noun) an inferior imitator

53

the cause remained a minority passion, exorbitant, needless, a nursery for epigones

—p.53 by Francis Mulhern
notable
3 years, 5 months ago

the cause remained a minority passion, exorbitant, needless, a nursery for epigones

—p.53 by Francis Mulhern
notable
3 years, 5 months ago