Q. D. Leavis

Standard Name: Leavis, Q. D.
Birth Name: Queenie Dorothy Roth
Married Name: Queenie Dorothy Leavis
Pseudonym: Q. D. Leavis
In her socio-anthropological critical monographs and essays, QDL evaluates literature by examining it in the context of the culture from which it emerges. She focuses on intellectual, social, and moral elements of literary work, and she insists on a rigorous standard of judgement for works by well-known, as well as by unknown, writers. Her reviews and evaluations of contemporary writers could be sharply aggressive or just ferocious, as in the case of Virginia Woolf. Some of her influence derived from her status as the wife of Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis , but QDL was a power in her own right. Although she inhabited the shadow of her husband in her early years, she also came to be a significant influence in the field of cultural studies and a well-defined voice in literary studies. By her own account, work by her often went into her husband's publications.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Education Maggie Gee
MG gives a very funny account of being interviewed for a place at Cambridge by Queenie Leavis , whose name she did not recognise, and talking confidently about Keats in ignorance of the way F. R. Leavis
Friends, Associates Storm Jameson
Jameson met Romer Wilson , Charles Morgan , and J. W. N. Sullivan through her Knopf connections. By about 1924 she and Edith Sitwell had visited each other's homes. Jameson felt that in spite of...
Intertextuality and Influence Virginia Woolf
The original audience included Q. D. Roth (later Leavis) and Kathleen Raine . Women writers who later counted it an important influence on them included such disparate figures as Muriel Box and Rumer Godden ...
Literary responses Mary Augusta Ward
MAW 's meticulous character study and tragic love story is sometimes considered her best novel. It was positively received by George Meredith , Sir J. M. Barrie , and Henry James. James wrote to her...
Literary responses Charlotte Yonge
E. M. Delafield writes that during the 1940s CY retained wide popularity: that the London Library 's copies of her books were often checked out by readers, and that when Delafield wrote to the Times...
Literary responses Elizabeth Inchbald
A Simple Story was praised by no less a modern authority than Q. D. Leavis ,
TLS Centenary Archive Centenary Archive [1902-2012]. http://www.gale.com/c/the-times-literary-supplement-historical-archive.
(8 September 1989): 964
and received a more recent accolade from Terry Castle as the most elegant English fiction...
Literary responses Elizabeth Jenkins
The novel was criticised by some for its exclusively upper-middle-class reach—a view which was energetically countered by Rose Macaulay on a radio programme.
Jenkins, Elizabeth. The View from Downshire Hill. Michael Johnson.
The Times Literary Supplement welcomed with joy a novel where the...
Literary responses Rosamond Lehmann
Elizabeth Bowen published an appreciative review of this novel in The New Statesman and Nation on 11 July 1936.
LeStourgeon, Diana. Rosamond Lehmann. Twayne.
87, 148
Ralph Straus and Cecil Day Lewis were also lavish with their praise. Q. D. Leavis
Literary responses Naomi Mitchison
Stalwarts of the Labour Party (where NM 's husband had his career to think of) hated We Have Been Warned. Though NM had explicitly denied that she spoke for any political group whatever, an...
Literary responses Margaret Oliphant
MO 's Autobiography had modern editions in 1974, 1988, and 1990. Q. D. Leavis (who combined deep respect for Oliphant with harsh criticism of Charlotte Yonge ), in a preface to the 1974 edition, argued...
Literary responses Dorothy L. Sayers
Q. D. Leavis disliked this novel, and wrote a scathing review of it and its successor, Busman's Honeymoon, in Scrutiny. Leavis attacked DLS 's reputation for literariness, holding it against her that...


May 1932: F. R. Leavis launched his critical periodical...

Writing climate item

May 1932

F. R. Leavis launched his criticalperiodicalScrutiny as a quarterly published at Cambridge; it ran until October 1953. His wife, Q. D. Leavis , was co-editor, though not named in the masthead.

October 1953: Scrutiny, the critical periodical published...

Writing climate item

October 1953

Scrutiny, the criticalperiodical published at Cambridge by F. R. Leavis (with his wife, Q. D. Leavis , as silent co-editor), published its final issue.


Leavis, Q. D. “Caterpillars of the Commonwealth Unite!”. Scrutiny, Vol.
, pp. 203-14.
Leavis, Q. D. Collected Essays. Editor Singh, G., Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Leavis, F. R., and Q. D. Leavis. Dickens: The Novelist. Chatto and Windus, 1970.
Singh, G., and Q. D. Leavis. F.R. Leavis: A Literary Biography. Duckworth, 1995.
Leavis, Q. D. Fiction and the Reading Public. Chatto and Windus, 1932.
Leavis, Q. D., and Margaret Oliphant. “Introduction”. Miss Marjoribanks, Zodiac, 1969, pp. 1-24.
Leavis, Q. D., and Margaret Oliphant. “Introduction”. Autobiography and Letters of Mrs. Margaret Oliphant, edited by Annie Louisa Walker and Annie Louisa Walker, Leicester University Press, 1974, pp. 9-34.
Leavis, F. R., and Q. D. Leavis. Lectures in America. Chatto and Windus, 1969.
Leavis, Q. D. “Q. D. Leavis, review, <span data-tei-ns-tag="tei_title" data-tei-title-lvl=‘m’>Scrutiny</span>, September 1938”. Virginia Woolf: The Critical Heritage, edited by Robin Majumdar and Allen McLaurin, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975, pp. 409-19.
Leavis, Q. D. “The Case of Miss Dorothy Sayers”. Scrutiny, Vol.
, pp. 334-40.