Scrutiny (journal)

Scrutiny (journal)

Infobox Magazine
title = Scrutiny: A Quarterly Review

image_size =
image_caption =
editor = F. R. Leavis
editor_title = General editor
previous_editor =
staff_writer =
frequency = quarterly
circulation = 1,500
category = Literature
company =
publisher =
firstdate = May 1932
finaldate = 1953
finalnumber = Vol 19
country = Flag|United Kingdom
based = Cambridge
language = English
website =
issn =

"Scrutiny: A Quarterly Review" was a literature periodical founded in 1932 by F. R. Leavis, who remained its principal editor until the final issue in 1953.cite journal | journal = The Cambridge Quarterly | volume= 24 | issue = 1 | year = 1995 | title = front matter ] Other editors include Lionel Charles Knights and Harold Andrew Mason.

An additional volume, number 20, is often included in this series, including "A Retrospect" by Leavis, indexes, and errata.


The first issue appeared early in May 1932, with 100 copies sold in the first week, with subscribers including T.S. Eliot, George Santayana, R. H. Tawney and Aldous Huxley. [cite book | title = Adventures with Britannia | author = William Roger Louis | pages = p.205-6 | isbn = 1860641156 | publisher = I.B.Tauris | year = 1997] The circulation rose slowly, with 750 copies being printed later in the 1930s, and 1000 copies in the 1940s. [cite journal | title = Scrutiny and Education | author = P. W. Musgrave | journal = British Journal of Educational Studies | volume = 21 | issue = 3 | month = October 1973 | pages = pp. 253-276 | url = ] At its height in the 1950s, "Scrutiny" only printed 1,500 copies, but most of these were held by colleges and academic libraries for circulation.cite web |url= |title=The Great Tradition |accessdate=2008-09-13 |author= Richard Poirier |date=December 12, 1963 |publisher=The New York Review of Books ] As such, "Scrutiny" was widely read, and Leavis became very influential in 20th century literary criticism in part because he was editor of the journal.cite web |url= |title=Preview: Dr. Leavis, I Presume? |accessdate=2008-09-13 |author=Brooke Allen |date=June 22, 2006 |publisher=The Weekly Standard ]

After writing many articles for the journal, music critic Wilfrid Mellers appeared on the editorial board of the January 1942 issue, and continued in that position until the December 1948 issue. [cite web | url = | author = Gordon Rumson | title = Scrutiny: Wilfrid Mellers' early writings | date = April 2004 ] Besides its editorial staff, "Scrutiny" was able to have a contributing body of many important literary critics, including: Marlus Bewley, William Empson, L.C. Knights, Michael Oakeshott, Herbert Read, I. A. Richards, George Santayana, Derek Traversi, and Martin Turnell. Some of the contributors to "Scrutiny" were also contributors to "Left Review". [cite book | title = The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism | author = Christa Knellwolf, Glyn P. Norton, Christopher | page = p.158 | publisher Cambridge University Press | year = 2001 | isbn = 0521300142 ] Many contributors focused on the topics of education and politics, but, according to Richard Poirier, "its most important achievement was a nearly complete revaluation of English literature". That is not to say that they always supported these critics; according to John Grant, "Scrutiny" denounced "the later work of Empson and Richards" and disregarded "critics in the colonies such as Blackmur, Burke, and Frye".cite web |url= |title=Scrutiny |accessdate=2008-09-13 |author=John Grant |date=January 23, 1964 |publisher=The New York Review of Books ]

Critical response

Poirier claims that "Scrutiny" had earned more respect and more denunciation than any other quarterly in English". Grant, in responding to Poirier's review of "Scrutiny", found that "Scrutiny" specialized in being right—half the time. In order to praise, it felt compelled also to damn, and then found it easy to do so because it possessed "standards" against which all works could be judged."

There were other detractors, including T. S. Eliot; "'I so strongly disagreed with Dr Leavis during the last days of [Scrutiny] ,' Eliot wrote, 'and objected to his attacks and innuendoes about people I knew and respected. I think it is a pity he became so intemperate in his views and was extravagant in his admirations, as I had, in the earlier stages of the magazine, felt great sympathy for its editor.'"


Articles from "Scrutiny" have been separately republished in collections.

*citation|editor-last= Bentley |editor-first= Eric |title= The Importance of Scrutiny: Selections from Scrutiny, A Quarterly Review, 1932-1948 |place= New York |publisher= George W. Stewart |year= 1948 |url= |accessdate= 2008-09-20 |oclc= 191065639 .
*citation|editor-last= Leavis |editor=first= F. R. |title= A Selection from Scrutiny |place= Cambridge |publisher= Cambridge University Press |year= 1968 |isbn= 978-0521095099 .
** Review: cite journal | author = David Lodge | title = A Selection from 'Scrutiny' by F. R. Leavis | journal = The Modern Language Review | volume = 65 | issue = 2 | date = April 1970 | pages = pp. 414-415 | url =


Further reading

** Review: cite journal | author = William E. Cain | title = Leavis' Authority | journal = Novel | url = | volume = 14 | issue = 3 | date = Spring, 1981 | pages = pp. 274-278

External links

* [ Scrutiny: Wilfrid Mellers' early writings]

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