Sir: A positive side of F. R. Leavis's judgement was in his encouragement to his students not to make a career in English studies, but to use the studies as a base from which to leap in interesting directions - by taking the Part II of their degree in another discipline. Hence, for example, Godfrey Lienhardt leapt into anthropology and an eventual chair in the subject at Oxford, and I changed to history and a career in industrial relations.
Would I have been taking Ford shop stewards, at their request, through Plato's Republic without my Leavisean background, or have been able to oversee a discussion of Dr Zhivago between London dockers and the Russian Labour attache?
A survey of what happened to Leavis's students might provide fascinating results.
The writer is sometime senior lecturer in industrial relations, University of London, and arbitrator for Acas.Reuse content