Griffin, Susan M. 1953- (Susan Mary Griffin)
Griffin, Susan M. 1953- (Susan Mary Griffin)
Born March 9, 1953. Education: Georgetown University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1975; University of Chicago, M.A., Ph.D. (with honors), 1982.
Home—Louisville, KY. Office—Department of English, Bingham Humanities 315, 2211 S. Brook St., University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, department of English, assistant professor, 1982-87, associate professor, 1987-92, professor, 1992—, department chair, 2003—, Justus Bier Professor of Humanities, 2004—, Distinguished University Scholar, 2008—. Member of advisory board, Commonwealth Center for the Humanities, 1999—.
Henry James Society (member of executive committee), Phi Beta Kappa.
University of Louisville, President's Research Initiative Grants, 1989-92, President's Award for Outstanding Scholarship & Research, 1991, President's Award, Research on Women, 1996.
(Editor, with William Veeder) The Art of Criticism: Henry James on the Theory and the Practice of Fiction, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1986.
The Historical Eye: The Texture of the Visual in Late James, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1991.
(Editor) Henry James Goes to the Movies, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2002.
Editor of Henry James Review, 1995—; editorial board member, Arizona Quarterly.
Susan M. Griffin was born on March 9, 1953. She attended Georgetown University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1975 with a bachelor of arts degree in English. She continued her education at the University of Chicago, earning both her master of arts degree and a doctorate, graduating with honors in 1982. Griffin also joined the faculty at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1982, as an assistant professor in the department of English. In 1987, she was made an associate professor, and in 1992, she became a full professor. Griffin was named department chair in 2003, and became the Justus Bier Professor of Humanities in 2004. Her primary areas of academic and research interest include nineteenth-century American literature and culture, Victorian literature and culture, the novel, and women's studies. Griffin is particularly interested in the life and work of writer Henry James, and since 1995 has served as the editor of the Henry James Review. Outside of her academic duties, Griffin's serves as a member of the executive committee for the Henry James Society, and an editorial board member for the Arizona Quarterly. Also, she is a member of the advisory board for the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities at the University of Louisville. Griffin is also a popular choice at academic conferences, where she has delivered a number of presentations. Griffin has written a number of books, including The Historical Eye: The Texture of the Visual in Late James and Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. In addition, she edited The Art of Criticism: Henry James on the Theory and the Practice of Fiction, with William Veeder, and Henry James Goes to the Movies.
In The Historical Eye, Griffin attempts to shed new light on the traditional analysis of the role of the observer in the writings of Henry James. Over the course of the book, Griffin challenges the preexisting theory, arguing that rather than interpreting the Jamesian seer as a detached, inactive spectator of sorts, the observer is actually quite active and embodies historicity. With this theory, Griffin provides a new perspective on the traditional, two-pronged outlook of self and other, or the spectator and the active individual. Ultimately, Griffin disagrees with the perception of two entirely separate entities, yet she agrees that the two sides cannot be complete united either. Sheila Teahan, in a review for Studies in American Fiction, stated that "there is much to praise in Griffin's frequently illuminating readings." Teahan also added that "in her recognition that James can make the American landscape readable only by making it human—that is, figurally—Griffin acknowledges the linguistic basis of perception."
In Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Griffin acknowledges the wealth of literature produced in the nineteenth century that can be considered, in some way, as anti-Catholic. She also analyzes a great deal of these works in respect to other issues that influenced human perceptions as strongly if not more so, including gender, ethnicity, and race. It is not surprising that opposition to these groups appears as frequently as the sentiments against the Catholic religion over the course of the examined works. Griffin addresses both American and British literature, starting at approximately 1830 to the end of the century, and delves primarily into lesser-known literary works of fiction, most of which are considered to be outside the literary canon. She organizes her analysis by time period and subject matter, addressing works with thematic similarities, such as tales of nuns escaping their order or stories that portray young men as open and vulnerable in a single grouping. In one section of Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Griffin specifically addresses writers with a tendency toward writing regionally, such as Edith Wharton and other turn-of-the-century authors. Kathleen Vejvoda, in a review for Christianity and Literature, remarked that "the book's other major strength is its treatment of anti-Catholicism in imperialist discourse. Here Griffin provides a much needed perspective, analyzing the ways in which Catholics are aligned with a variety of ethnic and racial Others, not only the French … and Irish, but also Jews and Hindus." Victorian Studies contributor Maria LaMonaca declared that "considering the ambitious scope of Griffin's topic, one wishes that this could be a longer book."
Henry James Goes to the Movies consists of a series of essays that discuss the numerous film adaptations of James's various works, from the early William Wyler film The Heiress, a 1949 adaptation of James's Washington Square Park, to more modern attempts, such as James Ivory's rendition of The Europeans in 1979, and Jane Campion's The Portrait of a Lady, released in 1996. In particular, more modern film adaptations met with harsh reviews; however James's writings continue to inspire filmmakers. Some of the essays in Henry James Goes to the Movies address this fascination, while others discuss the difficulties of including some of James's more subtle details in a film medium. Allan Burns, in a review for Studies in the Novel, declared that "the filmography and the generally high quality of the essays, particularly in the first section, make the volume indispensable for anyone interested in James adaptations."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Literature, September 1, 1992, Judith E. Funston, review of The Historical Eye: The Texture of the Visual in Late James, p. 609.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, January 1, 1992, S.R. Graham, review of The Historical Eye, p. 742; April 1, 2002, J.J. Benardete, review of Henry James Goes to the Movies, p. 1422; January 1, 2005, J.R. Grifin, review of Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, p. 852.
Christianity and Literature, January 1, 2006, Kathleen Vejvoda, review of Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, p. 285.
Film Quarterly, June 22, 2003, Seymour Chatman, review of Henry James Goes to the Movies, p. 55.
Hollins Critic, April 1, 2002, Irving Malin, review of Henry James Goes to the Movies, p. 22.
Journal of Religion, October 1, 2005, Susan E. Hill, review of Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, p. 701.
Library Journal, July 16, 1986, Cristanne Miller, review of The Art of Criticism: Henry James on the Theory and the Practice of Fiction, p. 84.
New England Quarterly, March 1, 1994, Lynn Wardley, review of The Historical Eye, p. 141.
Studies in American Fiction, March 22, 1994, Sheila Teahan, review of The Historical Eye, p. 120; March 22, 2005, Caroline Levander, review of Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, p. 119.
Studies in the Novel, June 22, 2003, Allan Burns, review of Henry James Goes to the Movies, p. 280.
Victorian Studies, March 22, 2005, Maria LaMonaca, review of Anti-Catholicism and Nineteenth-Century Fiction, p. 463.
University of Louisville English Department Web site,http://coldfusion.louisville.edu/ (August 19, 2008), author faculty profile.
University of Louisville Web site,http://louisville.edu/ (August 19, 2008), author information.