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No nation I’ve ever heard of

Garth Greenwell: Matthew Griffin’s ‘Hide’

19 January 2017
by Matthew Griffin.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4088 6708 2
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... At the beginning​ of MatthewGriffin’s novel, Wendell, his eighty-something narrator, finds his partner collapsed in their garden, face up in the North Carolina sun. Frank will recover from the immediate effects of his stroke, but the ...

Homer’s Gods

Colin Macleod

6 August 1981
Homer on Life and Death 
by Jasper Griffin.
Oxford, 218 pp., £12.50, July 1980, 0 19 814016 9
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by Jasper Griffin.
Oxford, 82 pp., October 1980, 0 19 287532 9
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Homer: The Odyssey 
translated by Walter Shewring.
Oxford, 346 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 19 251019 3
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... to help him answer back; and though Schadewaldt’s work has never been adequately appreciated outside Germany and Austria, in the last forty years a body of writing has grown up there which, in Mr Griffin’s phrase, makes ‘intellectually respectable the instinctive response of the audience’. Mr Griffin brings English scholarship up to date by bringing it firmly back to Homer. He generously ...


Tom Shippey: The Druids

9 July 2009
Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 491 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 300 14485 7
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... 1968). Hutton is sceptical about most of this, pointing out that several authors seem to be copying each other or sources now lost, that Pliny appears to have been ready to believe anything, griffin-robbing Arimaspians included, that Caesar in particular had an evident agenda of imperial self-justification, and that some of the things reported of druids are not very different from the behaviour ...

Like a Meteorite

James Davidson

31 July 1997
Homer in English 
edited by George Steiner.
Penguin, 355 pp., £9.99, April 1996, 0 14 044621 4
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Homer’s ‘Iliad’ 
translated by Stanley Lombardo.
Hackett, 584 pp., £6.95, May 1997, 0 87220 352 2
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Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
translated by Robert Fagles.
Viking, 541 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 670 82162 4
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... loomed large in Homer classes, and critical studies full of word-counts, Serbians and statistics dominated student bibliographies; but in the lecture-halls there were signs of a reaction. Jasper Griffin and Oliver Taplin in particular drew attention to the imaginative world of the poet, emphasising unity, humanity and narrative complexity. This seemed a much more rewarding approach to those for whom ...

The Empty Bath

Colin Burrow: ‘The Iliad’

17 June 2015
Homer: ‘The Iliad’ 
translated by Peter Green.
California, 560 pp., £19.95, May 2015, 978 0 520 28141 7
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... rhythms, its repeated certainties, but it also has its surprises. Both sides know Troy will fall, but the how and the when and who it takes with it are not certain. In​ ‘On Translating Homer’ Matthew Arnold described Homer as ‘eminently noble’, ‘eminently rapid’ and ‘eminently plain and direct’ in style and ideas. Homer ‘has, besides, the pure lines of an Ionian horizon, the liquid ...

How far shall I take this character?

Richard Poirier: The Corruption of Literary Biography

2 November 2000
Bellow: A Biography 
by James Atlas.
Faber, 686 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 571 14356 3
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... contemporary fiction, had in fact been uniquely generous and forthcoming in his praise for Augie March, not only in a letter to Bellow’s editor but, afterwards, in his encomium to the novel in the Griffin, a readers’ subscription newsletter. Despite this, Bellow insisted on believing that Trilling (as he complained to William Phillips) had been conspiring against him and the book, and was ...

Who Are They?

Jenny Turner: The Institute of Ideas

8 July 2010
... everybody else, it’s just that they think unpleasant opinions should be not banned but ‘battled’ with, in open debate. For example, the Battle of Ideas I attended took place the week after Nick Griffin’s turn on Question Time, so there was lots of talk about ‘the right to be offensive’ and ‘illiberal liberalism’, while at the same time it was made clear that the principle of free speech ...

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