G. Flood

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When Glynn, straight from studying history at Oxford, first walked into our graduate teaching seminar at the LSE, he had the air of a blond somewhat anachronistically dressed Charles I. It was quickly clear that we had someone unusual in our midst. The book we read in the first week as our introduction to social anthropology was Evans-Pritchard’s The Nuer. Glynn’s response was to decide that E-P’s model of segmentary lineage systems could not possibly work, and to attack it roundly. But evidence of Glynn’s tenacity of thought was always his refusal to accept what the rest of us, more awe-struck than he, assumed to be givens and left unquestioned. Conversations and letters to friends made it clear that his Afar material would have supported his original intuition. But the breadth of his fieldwork interests ranged far beyond kinship, from such classical activities as the collection of desert soil and seed samples, through thoughts about the modern state and the involvement of developed nations in the Third World, to the testing of cognitive theories of perception of colour and distance only as yet touched on by anthropologists.

From early on we had conceded that Glynn was the best and most imaginative thinker among us. We were simply out-shone and we all learned from him. But also he was a person to whom many of us felt drawn as a friend. He had a genuine curiosity about people – their private lives and their ideas. With his mock-cynical views on everything from Ingmar Bergman to chess and witchcraft, Glynn had the ability to make people laugh — and to make them think about things harder than before. He surely had already all the gifts of the superb university teacher he would have become.

We also remember with affection other aspects of his personality. It is fair to say that he had a streak of good-natured arrogance. His fondness towards friends was apparently at times belied by his ruthless analysis of personal relationships. A not entirely liberated male, he was of the opinion that women compiled facts: men constructed theories.

It is difficult to write about a close friend who has just died, without recourse to cliche. In his case cliches are singularly inappropriate — he was a very remarkable person. It is hard to imagine that a person so alive is now dead.

Marianne Heiberg, Gill Shepherd, Michael McGhee, Connie Gore, Stella Goldman, Katie Platt, Jean Strecker.

Glynn Flood contributed articles and a letter on Ethiopia in the following issues of RAIN this year: 6 (Jan./Feb.), 8 (May/ June) and 9 (July/August).

This obituary first appeared as: Heiberg, Marianne, Shepherd, Gill, McGhee, Michael, Gore, Connie, Goldman, Stella, Platt, Katie & Strecker, Jean. 1975. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 11, p. 6-7 Reproduced with permission.


To cite this article:

HEIBERG, MARIANNE, SHEPHERD, GILL, MCGHEE, MICHAEL, GORE, CONNIE, GOLDMAN, STELLA, PLATT, KATIE & STRECKER, JEAN. 1975. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 11, p. 6-7 (available on-line: http://www.therai.org.uk/archives-and-manuscripts/obituaries/g-flood).


LEWIS, IOAN. 1975. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 11, p. 6 (available on-line: http://www.therai.org.uk/archives-and-manuscripts/obituaries/glynn-flood).


Link to relevant records by or concerning the listed person on the RAI’s bibliographic database Anthropological Index Online https://aio.therai.org.uk/aio.php?action=doquicksearch&qs_resultsmode=fullkeywords&qs_decades=all&qs_keyword=Glynn%20Flood