In this survey, John Gross gives portraits of major literary figures from Frances Jeffrey, the first editor of the "Edinburgh Review", through Thomas Carlyle, Matthew Arnold and many others to the advent of F.R.Leavis and Raymond Williams. He looks at "the higher journalism", the expansion of the reading public, the byways of British liberalism, the rise of English literature as an academic subject and the impact of T.S. Eliot and modernism.;In a new afterword he provides updates on the later careers of Cyril Connolly, Geoffrey Grigson and Leavis and discusses the new style of literary critics who have evolved from the universities. Finally he considers the dominant role of the media and entertainment.
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