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James Meek: Anglospheroids, 21 March 2013

... John Norton-Griffiths, ‘Empire Jack’, engineer and strapping essence of imperial British manliness, was sent to Romania in 1916 to destroy that country’s oil industry before the Germans overran it. He had the Romanian government’s permission but local staff would occasionally try to interfere as he went at the oil wells with fire, dynamite and his personal sledgehammer ...

Memories of the Mekong

Robert Fisk, 1 October 1981

The Struggle for Afghanistan 
by Nancy Newell and Richard Newell.
Cornell, 236 pp., £9, August 1981, 0 8014 1389 3
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Afghanistan 
by John C Griffiths.
Deutsch, 225 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 233 97350 8
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... an escalation, even if they acquired the weapons that many in the West would like to give them? If John Griffiths’s book on Afghanistan is to be believed, the convoy major’s assessment of the Afghans contains some truth. Among the Pathans, Mr Griffiths tells us, ‘generosity and nobility of manner can yield ...

Cocoa is blood and they are eating my flesh

Toby Green: Slavery and Cocoa, 11 April 2013

Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery and Colonial Africa 
by Catherine Higgs.
Ohio, 230 pp., £24.95, June 2012, 978 0 8214 2006 5
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... missionaries were major presences there. Burtt frequently stayed with missionaries and men such as John Norton-Griffiths, the contractor of the Benguela railway, who beat his African workers so readily that Burtt claimed he was ‘cordially hated by nearly all his men’, all 1700 of them. Another well-known Englishman in ...

Beastliness

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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... 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 ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren, 5 November 1981

Richard Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... about his hero: these include Claire Bloom, Alexander Cohen, Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, Sir John Gielgud, Hugh Griffiths, Joseph Losey, James Mason, Vincente Minnelli, Mike Nichols, Rachel Roberts, Daphne Rye, Jean Simmons, and three of his wives, Sybil Christopher, Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Hunt. I particularly ...

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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... They are value-laden, and the values are subject to change. Such change is the central topic of John Woolford’s book. He, like Tucker, is interested in ‘the incidents in the development of a soul’ – specifically, the soul of a Victorian poet subject to, and struggling for mastery of, Romantic poetics: but he narrates that process as one of ...

Rub gently out with stale bread

Adam Smyth: The Print Craze, 2 November 2017

The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550-1820 
by Antony Griffiths.
British Museum, 560 pp., £60, August 2016, 978 0 7141 2695 1
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... needed prints of their works to spread their fame and standing. From 1829 until his death in 1837, John Constable grew increasingly preoccupied with printmaking and collaborated with the young engraver David Lucas to translate his oil sketches and paintings into 22 mezzotints, part of what would become known as English Landscape Scenery. Proofs survive, and ...

Document Number Nine

John Lanchester: Chinese Cyber-Sovereignty, 10 October 2019

The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet 
by James Griffiths.
Zed, 386 pp., £20, March 2019, 978 1 78699 535 3
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We Have Been Harmonised: Life in China’s Surveillance State 
by Kai Strittmatter.
Old Street, 328 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 913083 00 7
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... America, and we are already an open society. Imagine how much it could change China.’ As James Griffiths tells us in The Great Firewall of China, his detailed and compelling account of Chinese online censorship, this was an applause line for Clinton in 2000. ‘Now there’s no question China has been trying to crack down on the internet,’ Clinton ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets, 10 June 1999

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... of Communism reported by former believers; Rabbi Stephen Wise addressing an anti-Nazi rally; John Galsworthy’s protest about planes being used for war – ‘For the love of the sun, and stars and the blue sky, that have given us all our aspirations since the beginning of time, let us leave the air to innocence!’ ‘The guiding principle,’ says ...

Monopoly Mule

Anthony Howard, 25 January 1996

Plant Here the ‘Standard’ 
by Dennis Griffiths.
Macmillan, 417 pp., £35, November 1995, 0 333 55565 1
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... be fair, at least one of its editors always held his own head high. If the earlier part of Dennis Griffiths’s narrative has a hero, it is William Heseltine Mudford, editor of the Standard from 1874 to 1899. When Lord Salisbury, as Foreign Secretary, imprudently sent him a telegram via his House Steward in 1880, he received this crushing retort: The Editor ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Magdalen College, 19 November 2009

... a seminary, first for Catholics and then for Anglicans. Although the fellowship included John Foxe, whose Actes and Monuments (1563) was, for several centuries, the bestselling English book after the Bible, there were few scholars of note. But then the purpose of Oxbridge colleges in the 16th and 17th centuries ‘was to impart knowledge, not to ...

A Skeleton My Cat

Norma Clarke: ‘Poor Goldsmith’, 21 February 2019

The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith 
edited by Michael Griffin and David O’Shaughnessy.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £64.99, July 2018, 978 1 107 09353 9
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... did not appear until 1837 and was quickly supplanted by two popularising and very popular works, John Forster’s The Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith (1848) and Washington Irving’s Life of Oliver Goldsmith (1849). Forster and Irving built on Prior’s research to reinstate – affectionately, but still damagingly – the simple, unworldly ...

Skeltonics

Helen Cooper: The maverick poetry of John Skelton, 14 December 2006

John Skelton and Poetic Authority: Defining the Liberty to Speak 
by Jane Griffiths.
Oxford, 213 pp., £50, February 2006, 9780199273607
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... John Skelton should be one of the great figures of English poetry. He is widely regarded as the most significant poet in the 130 years between the death of Chaucer and the flourishing of Thomas Wyatt; but it has to be said that the competition for the top ranking south of the Scottish border is not very fierce, and until the 1930s such a judgment would have struck most people as bizarre ...

At the Barbican

Jeremy Harding: Pilger pictures, 23 August 2001

... Work by 18 of the photographers with whom John Pilger has collaborated over the last thirty or forty years is on show in Reporting the World, at the Barbican Gallery until 30 September. The exhibition is a record of events we remember – vaguely or clearly – having followed and others that we didn’t follow, even if we tell ourselves now that we did ...

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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... our personal and social selves. The Mabo papers are a triumph for a land imprinted with memory. John Gascoigne’s The Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia is concerned with the imprint of a ‘European’ spirit on Australia between 1788 and 1850. There is a difficulty, however, in describing this transposed culture, which ceases to ...

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