Ranter's charter

May 12, 2011

Congratulations to Fred Inglis on his wonderful parody of Leavisism ("Words as weapons", 5 May). He has perfectly captured its paranoid rhetoric and updated the wilful ignorance of anything F.R. Leavis himself disallowed in the assault on the "murderous" efforts of Theory to crush the humanity of the humanities.

The attentive reader will perceive in his clever spoof the recognition that for the Leavisites, "humanity" meant the right to rant without recourse to argument or analysis. Above all, Inglis has caught the sheer vacuity of the Leavisite allegiance to "life" (aka "civilisation"). (Who could be against that?)

Inglis lambasts theorists, who have nothing to say about the current crisis. On the evidence of this satire, I think he might enjoy my new book, A Future for Criticism.

Catherine Belsey, Swansea University

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