Dr Barry Sheils
I arrived in Durham in 2016. Before that I was an Irish Research Council Fellow at University College Dublin, having previously held an Early Career Fellowship with the Institute of Advance Study at Warwick University. I also lectured at Swansea University. I received my Doctorate from Warwick, and my BA from Trinity College, Dublin.
A major focus in my research to date has been on transnational English Studies, especially the reassessment of modernism as a cultural phenomenon connected to processes of globalisation. My book W.B. Yeats and World Literature: the Subject of Poetry (2015) considered Yeats’s role in the development of an international literary marketplace in the early twentieth century, and his key collaborations with figures including Rabindranath Tagore, Shri Purohit Swãmi and Ezra Pound. You can read more detailed reviews of this work here and here.
I have also recently co-edited and introduced two collections of essays: Narcissism, Melancholia and the Subject of Community (2017) and Shame and Modern Writing (2018). These volumes have set the ground for my current projects (of which there are two), both concerned
with the psycho-political dimensions of modern life and the pathologisation of the literary work.
- My next monograph ‘Meteorological modernism: weather forecasting and literary form’ charts developments in weather science away from the standard observational practices of the C19th towards cybernetic formalisation in the 1940s. I consider how we might decode, through a reading of literary texts, the cultural significance of this trajectory, thinking especially of how C20th weather forecasting begins to use abstraction and prediction to communicate moods and manage the movement of populations. Much of my work on this project is supported by the newly established Centre for Cultural Ecologies.
- I am also working speculatively and collaboratively on ‘Aspects of style after modernism’. Here, I am particularly interested in the on-going contest between confessional writing, which foregrounds the ‘honest’ and pathological deformations of the literary, and the particular claims of literary accomplishment. Play, wit, simile, the sentence, the role of the pronoun, translational style, ‘stylessness’, as well as the relation between the fine style and stylistics are some of the topics under consideration.
I would welcome enquiries from potential research students in any of my areas of interest.
Post-war Fiction and Poetry [lecture module] (ENGL 3591)
W.B. Yeats [special topic] (ENGL 3201)
Shame and Modern Writing [MA level] (ENGL 44530).
- Critical and Cultural theory
- Irish modernism and contemporary Irish fiction
- Modernist ecologies
- Shame and Affect
- Transnational poetics and theories of 'world' literature
- W.B. Yeats
Indicators of Esteem
- Keynote Address: English n'existe pas: towards a modernist genealogy of world literature', Swedish National Forum for English Studies Conference, April 2017
- Sheils, Barry (2015). W.B. Yeats and World Literature: the subject of poetry. Routledge.
- Sheils, Barry (2016). Father of the Artist: a review of Mike McCormack's Solar Bones. Dublin Review of Books (81).
- Sheils, Barry (2016). Howes, Marjorie and Joseph Valente (eds.), Yeats and Afterwords; and Lucy McDiarmid, The Literary History of a Meal: Poets and the Peacock Dinner. Irish University Review 46(2): 378-382.
- Sheils, Barry (2013). Saddlemeyer, Ann (ed.), W.B. Yeats & George Yeats: The Letters, in English 62. 236: 91-93. English 62(236): 91-93.
- Sheils, Barry (2010). Bridgham, Fred (ed.), The First World War as a Clash of Cultures. Angermion: Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism 3: 210-212.
Chapter in book
- Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie (2018). 'Introduction: Shame and Modern Writing'. In Shame and Modern Writing. Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 1-33.
- Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie (2017). 'Introduction: Narcissism, Melancholia and the Subject of Community'. In Narcissism, Melancholia and the Subject of Community. Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 1-40.
- Sheils, Barry (2015). Caring to Know: Narrative Technique and the Art of Public Nursing in The Good Soldier. In Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier: Centenary Essays. Haslam, Sara & Saunders, Max. Leiden: Brill. 14: 164-182.
- Sheils, Barry (2015). The Ship and the Gun: The Perversity of Neo-Victorian Belfast in Glenn Patterson’s The Mill for Grinding Old People Young. In Neo-Victorian Cities: Reassessing Urban Politics and Poetics. Kohlke, Marie-Luise & Gutleben, Christian. Brill. 4: 307-330.
- Sheils, Barry (2014). “With a Schwärmerei that barely escaped self-parody": the cinema of language in Tom MacIntyre’s short stories. In Writing from the Margins The Aesthetics of Disruption in the Irish Short Story. Ryan, C. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 115-128.
- Sheils, Barry (2010). From Dignity to Beauty: Aesthetics, Revolution and the Problem of Reception in “Easter 1916”. In The Politics of Irish Writing. Jenčová, K., Marková, M., Markus, M. & Pavelková, H. Prague: Centre for Irish Studies, Charles University. 89-99.
- Sheils Barry & Walsh, Julie (2018). Shame and Modern Writing. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature. Routledge.
- Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie (2017). Narcissism, Melancholia and the Subject of Community. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Robinson, Richard & Sheils, Barry (2016). The Violation of Style: Englishness in Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose Novels. Textual Practice 30(4): 735-756
- Sheils, Barry (2014). Mr Yeats’s Treacherous Instinct of Adaptability: Subjectivity, Culture, and Theatrical Space. Nordic Irish Studies 13(2): 61-78.
- Sheils, Barry (2014). Poetry in the Modern State: the example of W.B. Yeats's 'Late Style' and 'New Fanaticism'. New Literary History 45(3): 483-505.
- Sheils, Barry (2012). ‘‘Dark Cognition” W.B. Yeats, J.G. Herder and the Imperfection of Tradition Irish Studies Review 20.1. Irish Studies Review 20(1): 299-321.
- Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie (2012). Tragedy and Transference in D.M. Thomas’s The White Hotel. Psychoanalysis and Literature 15(1): 69-89.
Other (Digital/Visual Media)
- Sheils, Barry (2016). Decoy Paris. The Honest Ulsterman( Feb '16).
- Sheils, Barry (2016). Wartime Attachments: essays on pain, care, retreat and treatment in the period of the First World War (electronic resource).
- Sheils, Barry (2015). Wilhelm Meister & Me. gorse(4).
- Goodby, John, Sheils, Barry & Walsh, Julie (2014). The Poetics of Embarrassment: an Interview with the poet John Goodby. The Warwick Review(8 (3): 95-103.
- Sheils, Barry (2010). A Bibliography of Open-space Learning. IATL, Warwick University.