Trevor Griffiths

Politics, Drama, History
Stanton B. Garner, Jr.
Assesses the contributions of one of the leading figures of post-1968 British political theater


This book provides an in-depth look at the work of British writer Trevor Griffiths, who has been a powerful and unique presence in British theater, television, and film for the past thirty years. Griffiths's theatrical works, including Occupations (1970), The Party (1973), Comedians (1975), Oi for England (1982) and Real Dreams (1984) have been highly acclaimed by critics such as Benedict Nightingale, who called Griffiths "as articulate and eloquent a thinker as the British stage possesses." Griffiths has also written successfully for British television, and collaborated with Warren Beatty on the Academy-award winning film Reds (1981).

Stanton Garner's study is the first to present and critically discuss the full range of Griffiths's works. The works are shown to reveal an intense awareness of class and its material underpinnings, a concern with the power of realism, an overarching commitment to history as a field of political and cultural intervention, and a willingness to examine the terms and parameters of this intervention. Garner traces the influence of New Left historical activism on Griffiths's earliest plays and considers the evolution of his historical understanding throughout his career. He proposes that Griffiths sees history as a scene for the staging of counter-discourses and as a representational course for the establishment of dialectic (and dialogic) relationships between the present and the past, between the received and the revisionist, and between ideological positions.

Trevor Griffiths: Politics, Drama, History will appeal to a range of readers who share an interest in contemporary theater, literature, and politics.

Stanton B. Garner, Jr. is Professor of English, University of Tennessee.

Praise / Awards

  • "An excellent study, offering sophisticated and nuanced readings of the work of a playwright who hitherto has received little critical attention."
    —Ann Wilson, University of Guelph
  • "An engrossing and scrupulously researched study, deeply felt, and profoundly meditated."
    —Ruby Cohn, University of California, Davis
  • "This is an intelligent, insightful study that deserves to be read both as an introduction to this accomplished postwar playwright and as an analysis of the several motifs in Griffiths's work, especially the politics of class."
    —J. Schlueter, Lafayette College, Choice, March 20000
  • "[An] impressive, keenly and very intelligently engaged study. . . . In times when political and theatrical wars are being fought to determine or challenge 'the category of objectivity', Garner's project—and Michigan's support of it—are important and highly laudable, particularly when British institutions, commentators, and academic publishers so frequently incline to marginalise such compulsively problematic British dramatists to a 'spectral' or invisible role."
    —David Ian Rabey, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Essays in Theatre/Etudes theatrales, November 2000
  • "Griffiths is one of a generation of writers whose time seems to have passed. A book on him might seem something of an afterthought in a depoliticized age, where socialism (according to revived wisdom has lost out to the market place. Garner, however, makes a strong and convincing case for Griffiths's continued relevance by reaffirming what has always been the playwright's strongest suit: his concern with history, and with the complex forces that intersect at moments of profound political and social change. . . . This is both a good general introduction to Griffiths's work, and an interesting, comprehensive analysis of an important if too often neglected writer."
    —David Pattie, New Theatre Quarterly

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 328pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1999
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11065-0

Add to Cart
  • $89.95 U.S.