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Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton

Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University.

Terence Francis Eagleton FBA (born 22 February 1943) is an English literary theorist, critic, and public intellectual. He is currently Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University.

Eagleton has published over forty books, but remains best known for Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), which has sold over 750,000 copies. The work elucidated the emerging literary theory of the period, as well as arguing that all literary theory is necessarily political. He has also been a prominent critic of postmodernism, publishing works such as The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996) and After Theory (2003). He argues that, influenced by postmodernism, cultural theory has wrongly devalued objectivity and ethics. His thinking is influenced by Marxism and by Christian faith

Formerly the Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford (1992–2001) and John Edward Taylor Professor of Cultural Theory at the University of Manchester (2001–2008), Eagleton has held visiting appointments at universities around the world including Cornell, Duke, Iowa, Melbourne, Trinity College in Dublin, and Yale.

Eagleton delivered Yale University's 2008 Terry Lectures and the University of Edinburgh's 2010 Gifford Lecture entitled The God Debate. He gave the 2010 Richard Price Memorial Lecture at Newington Green Unitarian Church, speaking on "The New Atheism and the War on Terror". In 2009, he published a book which accompanied his lectures on religion, entitled Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate.

Early life

Eagleton was born in Salford on 22 February 1944 to Francis Paul Eagleton and his wife, Rosaleen (née Riley) Eagleton.[13] He grew up in a working-class Catholic family of Irish descent in Salford, with roots in County Galway. His mother's side of the family had strong Irish republican sympathies. He served as an altar boy at a local Carmelite convent where he was responsible for escorting novice nuns taking their vows, a role referred to in the title of his memoir The Gatekeeper.

Education and academia

He was educated at De La Salle College, a Roman Catholic grammar school in Pendleton, Salford. In 1961, he went to read English at Trinity College, Cambridge, whence he graduated with first-class honours. He later described his undergraduate experience as a "waste of time". In 1964, he moved to Jesus College, Cambridge, where as a junior research fellow and doctoral student, he became the youngest fellow at the college since the 18th century. He was supervised by Raymond Williams. It was during this period that his socialist convictions began to take hold, and he edited a radical Catholic leftist periodical called Slant.

In 1969, he moved to the University of Oxford where he became a fellow and tutor of Wadham College (1969–1989), Linacre College (1989–1993) and St Catherine's College, becoming Thomas Warton Professor of English in 1992. At Wadham, Eagleton ran a well-known seminar on Marxist literary theory which, in the 1980s, metamorphosed into the radical pressure group Oxford English Limited and its journal News from Nowhere: Journal of the Oxford English Faculty Opposition, to which he contributed several pieces.[citation needed] In 2001, Eagleton left Oxford to occupy the John Edward Taylor chair of Cultural Theory at the University of Manchester.


February 22, 1943
Terry Eagleton was born in Salford.


Further Resources




October 10, 2007

Football: a dear friend to capitalism

Terry Eagleton


June 15, 2010

Terry Eagleton · Lunging, Flailing, Mispunching: Richard Dawkins · LRB 19 October 2006

Terry Eagleton


October 19, 2006

Terry Eagleton to speak at Newington Green - Hackney Citizen


August 29, 2010

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