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This report is taken from PN Review 37, Volume 10 Number 5, March - April 1984.

Reading Magazine Nicolas Tredell
Orbis, no. 44 (Spring 1982) £6.00 p.a. (4 issues).
The Present Tense, no. 3 (Autumn 1982) 80p.
Grosseteste Review, XIV (1981-1982) n.p.

'It will soon be obviously not worth while even to attempt to launch a successor to The Human World'. Thus wrote F. R. Leavis, in a reflex gesture of despair in 1974. But a successor was launched in the shape of The Gadfly, though the new title suggests a permanent oppositional stance rather than a claim to human centrality. These two numbers of the magazine, however, bound together to form a paperback book, range widely in their essays and reviews - over, for example, literature, theology, politics, social work, poetry, novels - and three essays are of special interest: Richard Swigg's approving scrutiny of Charles Tomlinson, Arvind Sivarakrishnan's critique of the 'claim to expertise in moral judgement' implicit in social work, and David Holbrook's account of Peter Abbs's existential approach to English teaching. But the poems and short stories in the magazine are unimpressive; particularly some execrable doggerel from Daniel Barratt 'In Memoriam' of F. R. Leavis (who would surely have abhorred it), with zestless lines like, 'Writers and critics with no zest/Decide McKewan [sic] is our best'. And McEwan could have handled the short story 'Dandelion Coffee' rather better than M. B. Kinch. In its essays and reviews, however, The Gadfly, despite some quirks and eccentricities, offers a useful jolt to prevailing orthodoxies.

To exemplify the up-and-coming orthodoxy in the field of academic English, one could ...


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