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Eric Griffiths, 19 December 1985

Theoretical Essays: Film, Linguistics, Literature 
by Colin MacCabe.
Manchester, 152 pp., £17.50, September 1985, 0 7190 1749 1
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A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory 
by Raman Selden.
Harvester, 153 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 7108 0658 2
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... A pause for thought in The Tempest: Miranda:                          O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in’t! Prospero:         ’Tis new to thee. Prospero’s words may or may not be an aside. Immediately after his remark, the other parent and the other child on stage, Alonso and Ferdinand, have 14 lines of dialogue before Prospero speaks to them; Miranda has no more to say in the play ...


John Mullan: Eric Griffiths, 23 May 2019

If Not Critical 
by Eric Griffiths, edited by Freya Johnston.
Oxford, 248 pp., £25, March 2018, 978 0 19 880529 8
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The Printed Voice of Victorian Poetry 
by Eric Griffiths.
Oxford, 351 pp., £55, July 2018, 978 0 19 882701 6
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... of (assistant, associate) ‘professor’. Until a stroke forced him to retire at the age of 57, Eric Griffiths was a lecturer in English at Cambridge. For him, literary criticism was a form of performance art and his lectures were celebrated for their verbal wit, fierce cleverness and frequent indiscretion. His habit of sipping a mysterious liquid ...

Can we conceive of Beatrice ‘snapping’ like a shrew?

Helen Vendler: How not to do Dante, 1 September 2005

Dante in English 
edited by Eric Griffiths and Matthew Reynolds.
Penguin, 479 pp., £16.99, May 2005, 0 14 042388 5
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... Dante in the English tradition. The volume has a peculiar hundred-page introduction, written by Eric Griffiths, who (the volume tells us) ‘learned Italian in the house of a parish priest not far from Ferrara’. Griffiths has read Dante in Italian, then, and has been able to take the full measure of the poet’s ...

Breathing on the British public

Danny Karlin, 31 August 1989

Tennyson and the Doom of Romanticism 
by Herbert Tucker.
Harvard, 481 pp., £29.95, May 1988, 0 674 87430 7
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Browning the Revisionary 
by John Woolford.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £27.50, November 1988, 0 333 38872 0
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Poetic Remaking: The Art of Browning, Yeats and Pound 
by George Bornstein.
Pennsylvania State, 220 pp., £17.80, August 1989, 9780271006208
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The Printed Voice of Victorian Poetry 
by Eric Griffiths.
Oxford, 369 pp., £35, January 1989, 0 19 812989 0
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... to a writer, and rely on close reading to back it up, you must be sure the words are his. Eric Griffiths praises Tennyson’s conception of the desire for an afterlife by contrasting his reach with someone else’s gasp: ‘“what opposite needs converge to this desire of Immortality!” as another Victorian exclaimed. Tennyson’s genius is to ...

Ruling Imbecilities

Andrew Roberts, 7 November 1991

The Enemy’s Country: Words, Contexture and Other Circumstances of Language 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 153 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 19 811216 5
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... the earlier volume, suggesting that Hill may have responded to comments made by, among others, Eric Griffiths. In an essay included in Geoffrey Hill: Essays on his Work (1985, edited by Peter Robinson), Griffiths expressed reservations about Hill’s ‘unsteady reliance on religious metaphors’ in his critical ...

Lovers on a Train

Susannah Clapp, 10 January 1991

by Patricia Highsmith.
Bloomsbury, 240 pp., £13.99, October 1990, 0 7475 0719 8
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... are probably dons who would be prepared to act as judges.’ So it seems. There is, for example, Eric Griffiths, who was beamed onto the television screen cutting the Booker finalists, especially the females, down to size. He blamed A.S. Byatt for producing ‘the kind of novel I’d write if I was foolish enough not to know that I couldn’t write a ...

Quiet Sinners

Bernard Porter: Imperial Spooks, 21 March 2013

Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire 
by Calder Walton.
Harper, 411 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 00 745796 0
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... they liked to portray themselves.’ ‘If we are going to sin,’ the attorney-general of Kenya, Eric Griffiths-Jones, wrote to Governor Baring in 1957, ‘we must sin quietly.’ The significance of all this is difficult to assess. The record of British decolonisation is mixed. The ‘Empire into Commonwealth’ narrative isn’t complete ...

At the Barbican

Jeremy Harding: Pilger pictures, 23 August 2001

... on page one of the Mirror, under a close-up of three blanched skulls taken by Pilger’s colleague Eric Piper, talks of a society consigned to ‘an age of slavery, without families and sentiment, without machines, schools, books, medicine, music’. The pages themselves seem old, the events not nearly old enough. The photos from Cambodia are among the most ...

Il n’y a pas de Beckett

Christopher Prendergast, 14 November 1996

Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett 
by James Knowlson.
Bloomsbury, 872 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 7475 2719 9
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Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist 
by Anthony Cronin.
HarperCollins, 645 pp., £25, October 1996, 9780246137692
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol I: Waiting for Godot 
edited by Dougald McMillan and James Knowlson.
Faber, 472 pp., £75, March 1994, 0 571 14543 4
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol II: Endgame 
edited by S.E. Gontarski.
Faber, 276 pp., £50, November 1992, 0 571 14544 2
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The Theatrical Notebooks of Samuel Beckett. Vol III: Krapp’s Last Tape 
edited by James Knowlson.
Faber, 286 pp., £50, May 1992, 0 571 14563 9
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by Samuel Beckett, translated by Barbara Wright.
Faber, 170 pp., £6.99, September 1996, 9780571178261
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... For Cronin it seems vaguely, very vaguely, to have something to do with religion and a text by Eric Griffiths which Cronin, understandably, misattributes to Christopher Ricks in Beckett’s Dying Words. Griffiths’s edifying send-off was impressive even by the standards of the ghastlier forms of ...

Standing on the Wharf, Weeping

Greg Dening: Australia, 25 September 2003

The Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia 
by John Gascoigne.
Cambridge, 233 pp., £45, September 2002, 0 521 80343 8
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Looking for Blackfella’s Point: An Australian History of Place 
by Mark McKenna.
New South Wales, 268 pp., £14.50, August 2002, 0 86840 644 9
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Words for Country: Landscape and Language in Australia 
by Tim Bonyhady and Tom Griffiths.
New South Wales, 253 pp., £15.50, October 2001, 0 86840 628 7
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The Land Is a Map: Placenames of Indigenous Origin in Australia 
edited by Luise Hercus, Flavia Hodges and Jane Simpson.
Pandanus, 304 pp., AUS $39.95, October 2002, 1 74076 020 4
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... hunting grounds, so carefully tended by fire, became ideal pastures for sheep.’ This was, as Eric Rolls has reminded us, a land unmarked by wheels, leather heels or cloven hoofs. ‘Hopping kangaroos moved in scattered company, not in damaging single file like sheep and cattle . . . Every grass eating mammal had two sets of sharp teeth to make a clean ...

Welcome Home

Sukhdev Sandhu: Memories of Michael X, 4 February 1999

Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multiracial Britain 
by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips.
HarperCollins, 422 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 00 255909 9
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... tabloids, but animosity was not universal: an English woman travelling on the same London bus as Eric Huntley escorted him under her umbrella all the way to the Haroldstone Road house he was looking for. Vince Reid, on the other hand, recalls how people came up to him and rubbed his skin to see if the blackness came off (a ritual which, with the help of ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016, 5 January 2017

... because the rasping quality in his voice echoed Auden’s harsh tones. However, because Richard Griffiths was available and indeed anxious to play the part, the role went to him. Emergency casting sessions such as the one Gambon knew we were holding are always mildly hysterical and often very funny as assorted names (often wildly unsuitable) are put ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2013, 9 January 2014

... the army in Bodmin in 1954, get up and put on my clothes on top of my pyjamas. 29 March. Richard Griffiths dies. We’ve been away for a couple of days so are spared the unctuous telephone calls that always come from the tabloids on such occasions, ‘We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings’ or ‘We hope we’re not intruding on your ...

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