Simon Gray: Numbness of the Heart

  • Duncan Wu


It was evening, you see, and I was — well, in that corner, over there, where the hollyhocks are, doing a spot of weeding. I stood up, rather too quickly, I suppose, momentarily a touch dizzy — a touch something — or touched by something — and the house, the garden — well, you remember that first afternoon when we all met, and Nigel and Natalie were here hiding all the time, but you were so frightened and thought they’d been trampled to death by old Tomalin’s cattle — and when we came back, all of us absolutely distraught, convinced they were dead — we suddenly heard them, their voices, they were laughing, and so was Ben — and you and Harry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such joy on human faces. Well, that evening I heard it all again. Seemed to hear it all again, and I thought, yes, I thought, there is a spirit. A human spirit, a divine spirit even, they meet sometimes, by accident, if you’re lucky. Or a touch dizzy. In an English garden.1


Human Spirit Sexual Infidelity Final Scene Sexual Jealousy Monitory Tone 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Simon Gray, Hidden Laughter (London: Faber, 1990), p. 43.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hidden Laughter, p. 2.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    T. S. Eliot, Collected Poems 1909–1962 (London: Faber, 1974), p. 190.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Simon Gray, Plays: One (London: Methuen, 1986), p. 39.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Simon Gray, Otherwise Engaged and Other Plays (London: Methuen, 1975), p. 36.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Otherwise Engaged and Other Plays, p. 40.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Otherwise Engaged and Other Plays, p. 56.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Plays: One, p. xi.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Simon Gray, The Rear Column and Other Plays (London: Methuen, 1978), p. 51.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Plays: One, pp. 240-41.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Eliot, Collected Poems, p. 78.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Plays: One, p. 243.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Plays: One, p. 244.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Plays: One, p. 222.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Plays: One, p. 223.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Plays: One, p. 232.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Plays: One, pp. 247-8.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Plays: One, pp. 238-9.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Plays: One, p. 248.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Plays: One, p. 254.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Two-Part Prelude i 290.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    V, iii, 17-19.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Simon Gray, The Holy Terror and Tartuffe (London: Faber, 1990), p. 125.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Plays: One, p. 353.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cf. the infidelity of Jack Barker’s wife in Sufficient Carbohydrate and that of Philip Marlow in The Singing Detective.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    The Holy Terror, pp. 40-41.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Plays: One, p. 328.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Plays: One, p. 334.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Plays: One, p. 346.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    The Holy Terror, p. 48.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    The Holy Terror, p. 46.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    The Holy Terror, p. 72.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hidden Laughter, p. 51.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hidden Laughter, p. 49.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Hidden Laughter, p. 74.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hidden Laughter, p. 70.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Hidden Laughter, pp. 78-9.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hidden Laughter, p. 58.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross (London: Methuen, 1984), p. 24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Duncan Wu 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English LiteratureUniversity of GlasgowUK

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