Recollections of Dr. F. R. Leavis and Morris Shapira - Chris Terry - ebook

Recollections of Dr. F. R. Leavis and Morris Shapira ebook

Chris Terry

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Reflections on Dr Leavis, the Downing School of English, and Morris Shapira by a Leavis pupil of the closing years of Leavis’s time at Downing. More a memoir than a study, it takes letters received from Dr Leavis and one from Q. D. Leavis as the anchors for a story about the turbulences of that time as experienced by an undergraduate but recollected in retrospect. It considers the proposed reasons, causes of damage done, the nature of a single incident, the framework of a search for healing. One issue is that of “pastoral care" for undergraduate and former students. It is also about proximity to a national icon and the dynamics of teaching or learning in that context. It sketches a personal link to Dr Leavis, its privileges and its pitfalls, its emotional liability, while re-affirming or re-discovering the integrity and the necessity of Leavis' creative achievement in searching for a constant celebration of creative life sustaining values in the flux of the modern world after 1918. Simultaneously, it regrets the frantic debates and wounding squabbles within the Downing School from about 1963 onwards which denied the values the Downing experience sought to establish. It is argued that this was, in part, made inevitable by a cult building up around "the great man" in the search for security in the latter years which created both zealots and revisionists to their own detriment. Respect transformed into discipleship - a form of distance - and this into a form of dependence requiring revolt. In the process damage was done to the cause, to individuals around it, and to figures in the Diaspora. Based on letters received from Dr Leavis and one from Mrs. Leavis, the account speculates about the outlines of the crisis as it affected Dr Leavis and documents both his immersion in it and his emergence from it at a personal level. Another element considered is the energy released by the clash of adolescence, middle age, and old age (student aspirants, acolyte teachers, the Master) - the generations in conflict in the confined world of Cambridge. In this context the difficulties faced by the administrative body at Downing College concerned with winding down a whole era of teaching are taken into account: the task of finding a successor for a great, active and controversial figure in fairness and with harmony. At yet another level it is about looking for and finding doorways into the past and meeting friends on the other side. And, finally, it includes a positive memory of Morris Shapira, Director of Studies as of 1963, whose teaching was unique, selfless and effective during his Downing years. He is portrayed here as a victim of the process of post-Leavisian dénouement at Downing College.

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Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Bibliothek

Die Deutsche Bibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://dnb.ddb.de abrufbar

Rangendingen, November 2008 [II-Feb 2009]

© by Chris Terry, Hastings/UK, and LIBERTAS. Chris Terry keeps all further copyrights.

Cover photo from Britannica.

LIBERTAS - Europaeisches Institut GmbH (LIBERTAS Verlag),

Lindenweg 37, 72414 Rangendingen (Hechingen), Germany

Telephone +49 7471 984996-0, Telefax +49 7471 984996-19

eMail: [email protected]

Internet: www.libertas-institut.com

ISBN 987-3-937642-06-2 (print)

ISBN 978-3-946119-25-8 (epub)

ISBN 978-3-946119-26-5 (MobiPocket)

Table of Contents

The Author

Abstract

Introduction

The viewer and the view

The Sources

Preliminary experience:

Downing College, Cambridge:

A Crisis of Faith

The Search for Windmills: Righteous zeal and reassessment

Look homewards, pilgrim, "melt in ruth"

The Myth of Betrayal?

Morris Shapira: A unique and gifted teacher

EpilogueErnest Mitchell

Acknowledgements

The Author

Christopher J. Terry, BA, MA (Cantab.), PhD (Kent): Once scholar (elect) in English at Downing College Cambridge, he was from 1961 to 1964 a pupil of Dr Frank Raymond Leavis1, Fellow of Downing College, as of Morris Shapira, supervisor for English Studies at Downing College. These were the last years of "The Downing School of English".

During this time he co-authored a pamphlet supporting Leavis with Howard Jacobson as the main writer and Peter Jewell. The pamphlet The Ogre of Downing Castle and other stories2was written on the theme of the "two cultures".

These recollections go back in part to that moment.

Chris Terry has taught at the City of London School ("a Leavisite" in those days), at universities in Canada and Germany, also teaching Ethics, English and Philosophy in the German state school service, functioning in part as a school adviser on preventing drug or related misuse. He has published verse, mostly in Canada, and articles on Nietzsche, Mann and Marvell, as well as, variously, on teaching methods and eating disorders for German publications.

Having recently left Germany, he currently lives in The United Kingdom, writing, working partly in London, and partly teaching Philosophy in a Sussex college.

* * *

The author and the publisher would like to thank Dr Chris Joyce from University of Surrey for his constructive and critical remarks and suggestions.

Abstract

Reflections on Dr Leavis, the Downing School of English, and Morris Shapira by a Leavis pupil of the closing years of Leavis’s time at Downing. More a memoir than a study, it takes letters received from Dr Leavis and one from Q. D. Leavis as the anchors for a story about the turbulences of that time as experienced by an undergraduate but recollected in retrospect.

It considers the proposed reasons, causes of damage done, the nature of a single incident, the framework of a search for healing. One issue is that of “pastoral care" for undergraduate and former students. It is also about proximity to a national icon and the dynamics of teaching or learning in that context. It sketches a personal link to Dr Leavis, its privileges and its pitfalls, its emotional liability, while re-affirming or re-discovering the integrity and the necessity of Leavis' creative achievement in searching for a constant celebration of creative life sustaining values in the flux of the modern world after 1918.

Simultaneously, it regrets the frantic debates and wounding squabbles within the Downing School from about 1963 onwards which denied the values the Downing experience sought to establish. It is argued that this was, in part, made inevitable by a cult building up around "the great man" in the search for security in the latter years which created both zealots and revisionists to their own detriment. Respect transformed into discipleship - a form of distance - and this into a form of dependence requiring revolt. In the process damage was done to the cause, to individuals around it, and to figures in the Diaspora.

Based on letters received from Dr Leavis and one from Mrs. Leavis, the account speculates about the outlines of the crisis as it affected Dr Leavis and documents both his immersion in it and his emergence from it at a personal level.

Another element considered is the energy released by the clash of adolescence, middle age, and old age (student aspirants, acolyte teachers, the Master) - the generations in conflict in the confined world of Cambridge. In this context the difficulties faced by the administrative body at Downing College concerned with winding down a whole era of teaching are taken into account: the task of finding a successor for a great, active and controversial figure in fairness and with harmony.

At yet another level it is about looking for and finding doorways into the past and meeting friends on the other side.

And, finally, it includes a positive memory of Morris Shapira, Director of Studies as of 1963, whose teaching was unique, selfless and effective during his Downing years. He is portrayed here as a victim of the process of post-Leavisian dénouement at Downing College.

Introduction“Both the great systems are great fortresses built to shelter souls haunted by despair to make it

possible to achieve peace of mind.”

F. M. Cornford, The Unwritten Philosophy3

Recently, after several decades away from home, mostly in Germany, I visited the Templeman Library at the University of Kent at Canterbury as an alumnus to read as many periodicals relevant to the last period of the Downing School as I could find.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

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Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

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Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

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Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!