Eric Griffiths delivered hundreds of lectures at the Faculty of English in Cambridge, yet his lectures were never turned into books. If Not Critical brings together ten lectures, published here for the first time, that offer a representative selection of Dr Griffiths' original, fully-argued, and richly exemplified contributions to literary criticism and literary history.
Crammed into his writing are decades of reading in several languages and across most genres and literary periods. In these lectures, he pursues the blind spots not only of other people's arguments, but of the whole business of criticism in general, with what he calls its 'over-concentration on a narrow range of examples . . . such over-concentration warps our thinking'. Implicit and explicit throughout his work is the argument that 'an appropriately wide range of instances is essential to
making progress in conceptualisation'; that what we need, in order to do better thinking, is 'a keener attention to a greater variety of examples'. Such examples include, in these lectures, the works of Shakespeare, Dante, Kafka, Beckett, Racine, Rabelais, T. S. Eliot, and Jonathan Swift.
Eric Griffiths is Fellow in English at Trinity College, Cambridge and Lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of The Printed Voice of Victorian Poetry (Clarendon Press, 1989) and co-editor of Dante in English (Penguin, 2005). Freya Johnston is University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in English at St Anne's College, Oxford. She is the author of Samuel Johnson and the Art of Sinking, 1709-1791 (Oxford University Press, 2005), general editor of The Cambridge Edition of the Novels of Thomas Love Peacock (Cambridge University Press, 2016-) and co-editor of Jane Austen's Teenage Writings (Oxford World's Classics, 2017).