Charles Henry Gifford 1913–2003

Christopher Ricks

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 153 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VII

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780197264348
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734250 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Charles Henry Gifford 1913–2003

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Charles Henry Gifford (1913–2003), a Fellow of the British Academy, was a scholar-critic whose death at the age of ninety brought home what true piety is, in contemplation of his supple stamina and of his own discriminating piety towards the literary geniuses whose presences he owned: Leo Tolstoy and George Seferis, Boris Pasternak and Samuel Johnson, Dante and T. S. Eliot. He was a teacher for thirty years at the University of Bristol, a reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, as essayist for Grand Street, and general editor (for Cambridge University Press) of the Cambridge Studies in Russian Literature. Educated at Harrow and then at Christ Church, Oxford, Gifford gained his BA in 1936, securing those foundations in Classics that were once held to be indispensable to all humane literary studies. Though he changed his mind as to whether he was cut out to be a poet, he never dispensed with what underpinned his love of poetry, the trained analytical and synthesising powers that his study of classical literature had helped to establish within him.

Keywords: Charles Henry Gifford; British Academy; Leo Tolstoy; George Seferis; Boris Pasternak; Samuel Johnson; Dante; T. S. Eliot; poetry; University of Bristol

Chapter.  6786 words. 

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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