Obituary: Maurice Kinch

Maurice Kinch, teacher, writer and bibliographer, born London 13 July 1928, married 1959 Peggy French (three sons), died Bath 14 February 1993.

MAURICE KINCH came, by an unusual and highly personal route, to be a devotee of the works of the literary critics FR and QD Leavis and a notable contributor to other people's appreciation of their standing and achievement.

A non-academic in literary studies, Kinch had progressed from Trowbridge Boys' High School via Bath Technical College to teaching metal and woodwork in Wiltshire schools until 1960, when he became a Local Government Officer. In 1966 he began to lecture in Public Administration at Norwich City College, where he worked for an External London B Sc (Econ) degree.

He published in the college magazine an 'Appreciation and Check-list of the works of QD Leavis' (1977). Her essays on the novels of Margaret Oliphant and his growing interest in book-buying had led him in 1976 to begin a correspondence with Mrs Leavis. ('He is the world's best discoverer of rare books,' she said.) The staggering range of her reading and enthusiasm as well as a meeting at her house in Cambridge inspired Kinch to a commitment which lasted for the rest of his life.

He aimed to trace the extent and power of the Leavises' teaching and writing - most strikingly in FR Leavis and QD Leavis: an annotated bibliography (1989) published in the 'Garland Bibliographies of Modern Critics and Critical Schools' series, a task he took on at the death of his friend John Kimber, in collaboration with William Baker. It is a vastly detailed and intelligent survey of the Leavises' work and critical reception from 1930 to the mid-1980s, containing abstracts of over 280 of their books and articles plus a thousand or more about them.

Earlier, the Dutch English-language journal English Studies, had published a lost, seminal essay by FR Leavis, La Poesie anglaise et le monde moderne: etude de la situation actuelle, published in Les Cahiers du Sud (Marseilles) in 1930, retranslated into English by Maurice Kinch and his wife, Peggy: a piece which he showed to have interesting links with Leavis's later New Bearings in English Poetry. The US magazine Modern Age published in 1991 Kinch's review of QD Leavis's Collected Essays, Volume 3, where generous acknowledgement of the editor's work is complemented by some strict and precise reservations. Recently, in the face of relentless illness, he produced a much-needed index to the Leavises' joint study Dickens the Novelist.

Unable to take any more of the bureaucratic and management absurdities in 'education', Kinch retired in 1983, aged 55, to run, with Peggy, the Whitehall second-hand bookshop in Bradford-on-Avon. Many callers found fascination not only in the stock but also in the proprietor's keen and enlivening interest in literature. Many friendships resulted and too many of us now feel the loss.

Countless men and women have been inspirited by the Leavises' heroic enthusiasm for literature and its meaning in life. Surprising numbers, like Maurice Kinch, made an entirely personal acquaintance with those writings, not by standard academic ways. At a time when the star of the Leavises was waning in university studies he played an indispensable role in refuting platitudinous and too often second-hand charges; he also demonstrated the irreplaceable insights and benefits which the Leavises gave to readers of English, American and Continental literature.

Maurice Kinch was unaffected, direct, meticulous, warm, delicately courteous, caustic, impassioned and unfailingly hospitable. The circle of friends which he and Peggy nourished is varied and widespread but they will be at one in mourning his early death, and the absence of his intellectual and humane example.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before