Arthur Quiller-Couch, taste formation and the new reading public

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This article considers the extramural impact of lectures given by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge from 1912 until 1944. Vast numbers of self-help readers after the First World War were keen to develop their literary taste and gain confidence in navigating their way through the literary field; Quiller-Couch's innate understanding of this ‘new reading public’ accounts for the extraordinary success of his published lectures. The article also suggests that although Quiller-Couch has been overshadowed by the more famous generation of ‘practical critics’ that followed him, he was in fact very much in tune with the interpretative ideals of figures such as F. R. Leavis and I. A. Richards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-211
Number of pages17
JournalCambridge Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


  • Arthur Quiller-Couch
  • Cambridge
  • new reading public
  • extramural studies
  • literature and literary theory
  • F. R. Leavis
  • I. A. Richards
  • practical criticism


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