27 King's College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, Canada
The University of Toronto, where Kerry McSweeney received his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
(The central importance of naturalistic vision, of a sense...)
The central importance of naturalistic vision, of a sense of man's life as part of nature, is emphasized in this study of the poetry of Tennyson and Swinburne. In tracing this vision, McSweeney makes a series of qualitative distinctions leading to a revaluation of the achievements of both poets.
(The work Four Contemporary Novelists offers accounts of t...)
The work Four Contemporary Novelists offers accounts of the fiction of Angus Wilson, Brian Moore, John Fowles, and V. S. Naipaul. The author has charted the development of each writer, identified dominant themes, controlling techniques, and informing sensibility, explained what each has tried to accomplish and compare theory to practice, provided an appropriate context for appreciation and evaluation of all parts of each canon, and made qualitative discriminations.
(Although Middlemarch was extravagantly praised by Henry J...)
Although Middlemarch was extravagantly praised by Henry James, Emily Dickinson, and Virginia Woolf, it is only in the last few decades that the novel has been widely recognized as George Eliot's finest work, one of the greatest English novels, and one of the classic texts of nineteenth-century fiction. The intellectual, religious, and aesthetic background of Middlemarch is fully examined, with particular attention paid to Eliot's key doctrines of fellow-feeling and the humanistic economy of salvation. McSweeney also provides fresh and thought-provoking discussions of the role of the omniscient narrator and character and characterization.
(In Moby Dick: Ishmael's Mighty Book, McSweeney analyzes t...)
In Moby Dick: Ishmael's Mighty Book, McSweeney analyzes the plot, characterizations, historical context, composition, and critical reception of Herman Melville's novel.
(Invisible Man: Race and Identity describes the background...)
Invisible Man: Race and Identity describes the background of Ralph Ellison's novel, discusses its major themes, and looks at its critical reception.
(In this literary life, the fiction of Marian Evans (Georg...)
In this literary life, the fiction of Marian Evans (George Eliot) is placed in a biographical and literary-historical context. Since the life experiences that most influenced her novels were those of her formative years, biographical information becomes less important after the publication of her first novel in 1859, when she was in her 40th year. The author emphasizes his subject's intellectual development and ideas on the one hand and considerations of gender and sex on the other.
(McSweeney discusses the sensory acuity that informed Word...)
McSweeney discusses the sensory acuity that informed Wordsworth's, Coleridge's, Thoreau's, Whitman's, and Dickinson's finest achievements and then when blunted by illness or age, contributed to an attenuation of their creative power. He supplies a "sensory profile" or sensory history for each author and through close readings shows, how this profile affected their relationship to the external world and their powers of symbolic perception. Using perspectives gleaned from the poets themselves and an understanding of the physiological ground of perception, McSweeney establishes a compelling theoretical basis for his approach.
(The Victorian poetry of sexual love between men and women...)
The Victorian poetry of sexual love between men and women has not been as fully studied as other components of the imaginative literature of the period, and some of the attention it has received has been more concerned with the society and ideology of the age than with the poetry or the love. This study attempts an integrated account of the three elements, with particular emphasis on the close reading of poems.
(Kerry McSweeney critiques such readings of Romantic, Vict...)
Kerry McSweeney critiques such readings of Romantic, Victorian, and 19th-century American poems. In What's the Import? he proposes and exemplifies an aesthetic or intrinsic critical model rooted in literary-historical contextualization that considers the determination of meanings to be only one of the qualities that full engagement with a poem requires. His wide-ranging study discusses poems by Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Whitman, Dickinson, Carroll, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, Hopkins, Hardy, and the Michael Field poets. What's the Import? contributes to the current debates in North America about the state and direction of English studies and the teaching of literature in general.
Kerry McSweeney was educated at the University of Toronto, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree.
Kerry McSweeney is a retired professor of English literature at McGill University with a specialization in 19th- and 20th-century fiction and poetry. He previously taught at Queen's University, the University of Victoria, and the University of Warwick.
McSweeney edited and wrote volumes of literary criticism and guides to several classical texts. In his first book, Tennyson and Swinburne as Romantic Naturalists (1981), McSweeney deviates from traditional criticism of the two poets as it was generally more common to analyze their differences than to discuss their similarities. McSweeney's goal in the work was to discuss the common naturalistic vision of the two poets.
In the opening chapter, Swinburne's Tennyson, McSweeney forcefully demonstrates the effectiveness of viewing one poet from a very different perspective of the other. During the bulk of the study, McSweeney isolates the poets, with three chapters devoted exclusively to Tennyson and two to Swinburne. The chapters in which McSweeney compared the two authors directly show not only important similarities of vision but also the fundamental differences that the bulk of the study often neglects.
Also noteworthy is McSweeney's The Language of the Senses: Sensory-Perceptual Dynamics in Wordsworth, Coleridge, Thoreau, Whitman, and Dickinson. This study contains chapters on the authors mentioned in the title, along with a shorter chapter covering Tennyson and Hopkins.
McSweeney turns his attention to modern authors in Four Contemporary Novelists: Angus Wilson, Brian Moore, John Fowles, V. S. Naipaul. He believes that the ordinary mediating work of criticism is undervalued today and in turn, provides evaluations of all their novels, picking out general characteristics and dominant preoccupations.
The most recent books by McSweeny include The Realist Short Story of the Powerful Glimpse: Chekhov to Carver (2007) and What's the Import? Nineteenth-Century Poems and Contemporary Critical Practice (2007). The books he edited are Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh, Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus, and Angus Wilson's Diversity and Depth in Fiction: Selected Critical Writings.
(Although Middlemarch was extravagantly praised by Henry J...)1984
(The Victorian poetry of sexual love between men and women...)1998
(McSweeney discusses the sensory acuity that informed Word...)1998
(In Moby Dick: Ishmael's Mighty Book, McSweeney analyzes t...)1986
(The central importance of naturalistic vision, of a sense...)1981
(Invisible Man: Race and Identity describes the background...)1988
(In this literary life, the fiction of Marian Evans (Georg...)1991
(The work Four Contemporary Novelists offers accounts of t...)1983
(Kerry McSweeney critiques such readings of Romantic, Vict...)2007