By F. R. Leavis
Quantity 2 of a variety from Scrutiny opens with Mrs Leavis's a lot quoted reviews, which jointly shape 'A severe idea of Jane Austen's Writings'. There follows a piece of studies of novelists (Dorothy Richardson, Gissing, Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Henry James), and Mrs Leavis's examine of Edith Wharton. Then there are 3 of James Smith's essays: the prestigious 'Preliminary Survey' of Wordsworth; the both celebrated 'On Metaphysical Poetry' and the research of As you love It. a bit on 'The English culture' reprints stories of Jefferies, Beatrice Webb, Sturt and Piers Plowman.
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Additional resources for A Selection from Scrutiny: Volume 2
The unpleasant quality so painfully evident in the uneven Mansfield Park is actually not to be traced to Lady Susan, which is merely stamped (as we may be sure First Impressions and Elinor and Marianne were, and as Northanger Abbey still is even after three revisions) by a perceptible unsympathy with all the characters, an impatience to jot them down and rough out their roles and emotional relations so as to see if the desired total effect has been secured: like The Watsons, Lady Susan is a novelist's working draft and not meant for print, though, like that story, its deceptive appearance of completeness has encouraged its acceptance as an entity, and it has not even such very obvious links with its descendant as The Watsons has with Emma.
As this scene is connected with the ordination subject, and is dramatic, it must have been written into the final version. With these last two quotations compare Ch. 7 of Mansfield Park: 'and to the credit of the lady it may be added that without his being a man of the world or an elder brother, without any of the arts of flattery or small talk, he began to be agreeable to her... he was not pleasant by any common rule, he talked no nonsense, he paid no compliments, his opinions were unbending, his attentions tranquil and simple.
LEA VIS write an anti-Sense and Sensibility called ' The Elliots' (which though it was not at her death ready for the press was published by her brother as Persuasion). In short, by examining how she worked we can determine what kind of a novelist she was, by looking to see how she wrote a novel we can discover what her object was in writing it. Without such a preliminary no criticism of her novels can be just or even safe. A small instance of how far astray criticism may go is the treatment that has been given to the problem of the last chapter of Mansfield Park.