Latest Issue

Judge not?

In the clamorous world of modern high culture, people find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and bad art. Frederic Raphael regrets the decline of cultural judgement and is particularly distressed at the praise heaped upon a new book about the Holocaust

By Frederic Raphael   March 1998

In a recent interview in Poetry Nation Review, Philip Hobsbaum said that the greatest man he had ever met was Frank Leavis. There was something so sweetly anachronistic about this assertion that I was reminded of the lost decades in which one might have had a hat to doff to it. Today, no pundit seems more terminally dated than Dr Leavis, with his notions of the “common pursuit” of valid judgements in literature and, by extension, in life. We are all swing-wing pluralists now. We wallow in a publicity-led media world in which the notion of one book being better…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect