11 JANUARY 1963, Page 13

S'n.—I trepidate to cross words with Dr. Leavis on ground

of his own choosing (It usually is. I don't I,(now, for instance, quite how we got on to Flaubert, but while we are throwing personal preferences around, I would rather keep Bouyard & Ncuchet than Dombey &Son; though. such are the vagaries of non-universal judgments. I would sacrifice St. Antoine to Little Dorrit); however: 'The criterion [of great English novelists] . . is work addressed to the adult mind"The adult mind doesn't as a rule find in Dickens a challenge to an unusual and sustained Seriousness' (The Great Tradition, Chapters 4 and 1 esPeetivelY). The only way to reconcile this with r3r. Leavis's inability to guess the information on which I rely, would be to deny him an adult mind, which none of us cares to do. The Point I was trying to make—and of which the editors of the volume under discussion do seem dt arkly aware—is that a critical a.pparatus which fails subsonle novels like Chuzziewit and The Old "rinsilY Shop condemns not Dickens but itself.