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From Sophocles to Twin Peaks: What Killed Laura Palmer?

By David GriffithSeptember 20, 2017

This post originally appeared at Good Letters on June 1, 2012. One of the toughest and most important jobs I have as an English professor at a small, women’s liberal arts college, is teaching students to write well. I would love to hold forth on Flannery O’Connor—my lifelong literary crush—but getting students to care about…

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Sleeping in Slave Quarters at Sweet Briar College

By David GriffithNovember 12, 2015

From my office window I can see the pale yellow plantation house, its sharply pitched roof peeking from behind a huge conifer, its two Italianate cupolas, one at either end of the house. Since 1901, Sweet Briar House has been the home of the president of Sweet Briar College, a small women’s college in the…

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Our Lady’s Football Team

By David GriffithOctober 9, 2015

Every Saturday morning in fall I wake up and feel a tinge of disappointment that I have not woken up in a dorm room in South Bend, Indiana; that my Notre Dame marching band uniform does not hang in the closet at the foot of my bed. I’m disappointed because I’m not eighteen, nineteen, twenty,…

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The Evolution of a Beastie

By David GriffithMay 8, 2012

I was in my fourth meeting of the day when I got the news that Adam Yauch had died. Most guys my age knew Yauch as MCA, the throatier member of the Beastie Boys, with a coarser voice and smoother flow than the nasal machine-gun delivery of his band-mates Mike D and the Ad Rock.…

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Arts, Fabric, and Fabrication

By David GriffithApril 13, 2012

Years from now, cultural historians, authors, and publishers will look back on the calendar year 2011-2012 as the year that attitudes toward the blurry line between fact and fiction changed. In early 2011 John D’Agata’s About a Mountain was published to much acclaim and hand-wringing. Those of you who followed the controversy over D’Agata’s admitted…

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Song of Myself

By David GriffithJanuary 31, 2012

The ambition to some day become a writer was planted in my head sometime around 1980 in a Long John Silvers restaurant in Conneaut, Ohio. I was seated at the end of a Formica table, a plastic basket of crispy fried fish and brown hushpuppies in front of me, listening to my grandfather grill my…

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We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

By David GriffithNovember 23, 2011

Last Thursday evening I accompanied a group of ten students to Washington D.C. to hear Joan Didion talk about her new book, Blue Nights. The event took place in the Avalon Theatre, a charming old movie theatre with a tall glowing marquis. I hadn’t read the book yet, but I brought a copy with me…

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I Am the 99%

By David GriffithNovember 3, 2011

Every Monday through Friday morning, the whole family (my wife, eighteen-month-old son, five-year-old daughter, and myself), pile into our Saturn and drive the three miles to drop off our daughter at school. (The drive takes exactly seven minutes.) The Saturn needs work that we can’t really afford to have done right now, and so there’s…

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Welcome to the “New Normal”

By David GriffithOctober 14, 2011

This semester I’m honored to be teaching in a pilot program that introduces first-year students to the academic rigor and habits of mind of college, while also helping them to become more digitally sophisticated. All of the students receive iPad2s for participating in the program, which they then must use to complete many of the…

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Art from the Inside

By David GriffithSeptember 23, 2011

A lighthouse. Numerous out-stretched hands. A kite soaring above a beach. Many prodigal embraces. Cages. Crabs. Serpents. Masks. Faithful reproductions of The Last Supper. And, of course, numerous depictions of Jesus trudging toward Golgotha, and the iconic end result, bloody crucifixions. This is a rough inventory of the prison art exhibit “Art From the Inside”…

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