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Iron Tearing Soil

James Francken: Golf, 4 October 2001

A Gentleman's Game 
by Tom Coyne.
Atlantic, 264 pp., £15, July 2001, 1 903809 05 3
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Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap Jenkins: Tales from the Caddie Yard 
by Bo Links.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £15, May 2001, 0 684 87362 1
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Spikes 
by Michael Griffith.
Arcade, 258 pp., £17, February 2001, 1 55970 536 1
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... after indigenous trees or the shrines of golf, pricey landscaping, gates like walled cities. Michael Griffith’s appealing novel centres on the Ile de Paris Golf and Beach Club in Charleston, another of the tacky courses on the tour. With shameless self-advertisement, the club has constructed a sixty-foot Eiffel Tower out in front; to Brian the ...

Disaster

Ronan Bennett, 16 December 1993

De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow 
by Tim Pat Coogan.
Hutchinson, 772 pp., £20, October 1993, 9780091750305
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... gang killed 14 Catholics in the Millfield district of Belfast after a constable was shot. Although Michael Collins brought these killings to the attention of Winston Churchill during the London negotiations, Nixon was never arrested or charged. He became an embarrassment only when Sir James Craig and the Unionist hierarchy got involved with the Governments of ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition, 21 January 1999

Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... of the Sinn Féin party – founded earlier in the century by the non-violent Nationalist Arthur Griffith but from 1917 led by the senior survivor of 1916, Eamon de Valera – this new radical movement won 73 of the 105 Irish seats at Westminster in the December 1918 General Election. Assembling in Dublin on 19 January 1919, those elected members not in ...

Wigs and Tories

Paul Foot, 18 September 1997

Trial of Strength: The Battle Between Ministers and Judges over Who Makes the Law 
by Joshua Rozenberg.
Richard Cohen, 241 pp., £17.99, April 1997, 1 86066 094 0
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The Politics of the Judiciary 
by J.A.G. Griffith.
Fontana, 376 pp., £8.99, September 1997, 0 00 686381 7
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... If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it follows that the enemy of Michael Howard is my hero. So awful was Howard’s long reign at the Home Office that many liberals sought democratic relief from the most blatantly undemocratic section of the establishment: the judiciary. It was the strange sound of Law Lords denouncing Howard’s preposterous insistence that ‘prison works’ and the widespread jubilation at his many snubbings in the courts that led to liberal hosannas for the judges ...

Keep the baby safe

Stephen Sedley: Corrupt and Deprave, 10 March 2022

A Matter of Obscenity: The Politics of Censorship in Modern England 
by Christopher Hilliard.
Princeton, 320 pp., £28, September 2021, 978 0 691 19798 2
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... Everyone​  knows that Mervyn Griffith-Jones QC asked an Old Bailey jury in 1960 whether Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a book they would want their wives or servants to read. The jury – which included three women – is said to have laughed. Its acquittal of Penguin on a charge of violating the newly minted Obscene Publications Act 1959 is widely regarded as a turning point in the centuries-long persecution of literature and philosophy in the name of morality ...

Whose Candyfloss?

Christopher Hilliard: Richard Hoggart, 17 April 2014

Richard Hoggart: Virtue and Reward 
by Fred Inglis.
Polity, 259 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 7456 5171 2
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... dwells predictably on the Establishment snobbery personified by the prosecuting counsel, Mervyn Griffith-Jones. No one, as Inglis says, can resist quoting his rhetorical question to the jurors: was Lawrence’s novel the sort of thing they would wish their wives or servants to read? But the routine satirising of ...

Bonded by the bottle

Michael Wood, 14 June 1990

Writers in Hollywood 
by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 326 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 434 31332 7
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... of, such stiffnesses and incomprehensions. ‘People don’t go to the movies to read,’ D. W. Griffith said: but they did, not least to read Griffith. ‘For her who had learned the stern lesson of honour,’ a title card in Birth of a Nation tells us, ‘we should not grieve that she found sweeter the opal gates of ...

Bob Hawke’s Australia

Michael Davie, 6 October 1983

... Mackay, the owner of a furniture store, walked out of a hotel bar in the New South Wales town of Griffith and simply disappeared. Next day, Mackay’s bloodstained mini-van was found in a hotel carpark. He had been crusading, almost alone, against drugs and knew that Griffith was the centre of a multi-million-dollar drug ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘BlacKkKlansman’, 27 September 2018

... closing sequences. Lee more than anyone knows that cross-cutting in film is associated with D.W. Griffith, and here, as indeed in Stallworth’s book, the Klan watches The Birth of a Nation with the eagerness other social groups devote to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Perhaps one of the points of Lee’s film is that no clan can claim it. The tone of the ...

Cheerfully Chopping up the World

Michael Wood: Film theory, 2 July 1998

The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium 
by Gilberto Perez.
Johns Hopkins, 466 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 8018 5673 6
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On the History of Film Style 
by David Bordwell.
Harvard, 322 pp., £39.95, February 1998, 0 674 63428 4
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Gilles Deleuze's Time Machine 
by D.N. Rodowick.
Duke, 260 pp., £46.95, October 1997, 0 8223 1962 4
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The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema 
by Jean Mitry, translated by Christopher King.
Athlone, 405 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 485 30084 2
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Signs and Meaning in the Cinema 
by Peter Wollen.
BFI, 188 pp., £40, May 1998, 0 85170 646 0
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... space off screen’), Perez has a special fondness for directors who make it their subject. ‘If Griffith, more than anyone else in his time, worked to establish the convention of the shot, more than anyone else in his time, Renoir worked to disestablish it.’ ‘In a Renoir film . . . the world is larger than any rendering of it can cover.’ Keaton and ...

That’s America

Stephen Greenblatt, 29 September 1988

‘Ronald Reagan’, the Movie, and Other Episodes in Political Demonology 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 366 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 520 05937 9
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... triumph of the cult of personality is that it can expose its emptiness without losing its magic. Michael Rogin’s brilliant collection of essays, ‘Ronald Reagan’, the Movie, and Other Episodes in Political Demonology, attempts to account for and destroy this magic by restoring the two dimensions it has effaced: history and psychic interiority. The title ...

House History

John Sutherland, 24 January 1980

Allen Lane: King Penguin 
by J.E. Morpurgo.
Hutchinson, 405 pp., £9.95, November 1980, 0 09 139690 5
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... tea was brought in by ‘a maidservant’ and probably not one person in court, except perhaps Mr. Griffith-Jones QC himself and Mr. Justice Byrne, would have used such a word at any time unless he was writing 18th or 19th-century social history. The story is, in its various forms, famous. But what Griffith-Jones said in ...

What Works

Michael Friedman: The embarrassing cousin, 31 March 2005

The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity 
by Raymond Knapp.
Princeton, 361 pp., £22.95, December 2004, 0 691 11864 7
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... almost all American drama from O’Neill to Kushner, from the mainstream of American film from Griffith to Spielberg, or from most American art, in its preoccupation with national identity, why do musicals make so many people – liberals and conservatives, intellectuals and philistines – so uncomfortable? The answer lies in the role of the music in the ...

Newtopia

Christopher Hitchens, 24 August 1995

To Renew America 
by Newt Gingrich.
HarperCollins, 260 pp., £18, July 1995, 9780060173364
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... Head: he can’t keep them out of the narrative. Recently, when he found the tempestuous Melanie Griffith in a House corridor (she was there to lobby against the cancellation of funding for public television and the arts: another joint Gingrich-Murdoch enterprise), the Speaker crept up and asked ‘Would you like to see my dinosaur?’ He has a Tyrannosaurus ...

Missing the Vital Spark

Mark Ford: Tony Harrison, 13 May 1999

Prometheus 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 86 pp., £8.99, November 1998, 0 571 19753 1
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... this attribution has been made with particular force in recent decades, most compellingly by M. Griffith in The Authenticity of ‘Prometheus Bound’ (1977). In a recent edition of the play in translation, Michael Ewans argues that ‘in dramatic style and technique, as well as language and poetic style, Prometheus is ...

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