Patrick McGuinness

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Patrick McGuinness
PatrickmcG.jpg
Born 1968
Tunisia
Occupation Poet, writer, academic

Patrick McGuinness (born 1968) is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford. He is also known as a poet and novelist.

Life[edit]

Patrick McGuinness lives in Wales with his family. However, his life has been exposed to different cultures and languages. Born in Tunisia in 1968 to a Belgian French-speaking mother and an English father of Irish descent, he grew up or lived in Venezuela, Iran, England, Belgium, Romania.

Work[edit]

McGuinness's production is divided between academic literary criticism and poetry. Recently he has published his first novel on the end of the Ceaușescus regime in Romania.[1]

Literary criticism and academic work[edit]

Patrick McGuinness teaches French and Comparative Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford. Among his academic publications there is a study of T. E. Hulme,[2] an English literary critic and poet who was influenced by Bergson and who, in turn, had a strong influence on English modernism. He has also translated Stéphane Mallarmé,[3] a major symbolist poet, and edited an anthology in French of symbolist and decadent poetry.[4]
He has edited the works of Marcel Schwob,[5] a French symbolist and short story writer, a friend of Oscar Wilde, and has written on the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans.[6]
McGuinness has also edited two volumes of the Argentinian-Welsh poet and novelist Lynette Roberts, highly appreciated by T.S. Eliot and Robert Graves. According to McGuinness, Roberts is "one of the greatest female war poets" whose works "constitutes one of the most imaginative poetic responses to modern war and the home front in the English language." McGuinness writes about Lynette Roberts:

In her commitment to describing the life of women, she shares something with the great women modernists such as Mina Loy and Hilda Doolittle. Her poetry deserves to stand alongside the work of Pound and Bunting and Eliot, but perhaps the only Welsh writer to whom she can be compared is her fellow epic poet David Jones, whose work she knew and admired.

—Patrick McGuinness, New Welsh Writing. Rediscovering a modernist classic: Lynette Roberts[7]

Poetry and novel[edit]

Daytime Drinking

First sip: gentle as a stream overreaching,
supple as a rope-bridge in the air;

The second, long as the creak of floorboards,
firm as a leg-iron clasp;

The third, sudden as the trap door beneath you,
the rudderless slide back to thirst.

From Jilted City (2010)[8]

McGuinness published his first poetry collection, The Canals of Mars, in 2004.[9] The book was translated into Italian (2006). In 2009 Alexandra Buchler and Eva Klimentova translated McGuinness' poems from The Canals of Mars and 19th Century Blues into Czech[10]

In 2007 he published a poetry pamphlet, 19th Century Blues, which was a winner in The Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition 2006.[11]
His latest poetry collection is Jilted City,[12] whose leitmotif is memory, the jilted city, the cité trahie. A sequence in the book called Blue Guide is about the train journeys made by the young McGuinness on the historic railway line, la ligne 162, between Brussels and Luxembourg. This sequence has been translated into French by Gilles Ortlieb, in the review Théodore Balmoral. The whole collection has been translated into Italian by Giorgia Sensi and published with the title L'età della sedia vuota,[13] the title of one of the poems in the book, as a homage to the female experience and perspective of war, an empty chair on the beach as a symbol of a violent and irrational absence.[14]

Patrick McGuinness's first novel, The Last Hundred Days, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2011. A thriller dealing with the collapse of communism, it is set in Ceaușescu's Romania, one of the most paranoid totalitarian regimes where spying on the citizens' private lives threatens all human relationships. The protagonist is an English student teaching in Bucharest,[15] where McGuinness himself lived in the years leading up to the revolution.

Awards[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Last Hundred Days, Seren, 2011
  2. ^ T E Hulme: Selected Writings, Carcanet, 1998
  3. ^ For Anatole's Tomb, Carcanet, 2003
  4. ^ Anthologie de la Poésie Symboliste et Décadente, Les Belles Lettres, France, 2001
  5. ^ Marcel Schwob, Œuvres, Les Belles Lettres, France, 2003
  6. ^ J K Huysmans, Against Nature, Penguin, 2003
  7. ^ Patrick McGuinness, "New Welsh Writing. Rediscovering a modernist classic: Lynette Roberts (1909-1995)"
  8. ^ The poem Daytime Drinking is also published in the Poems on the Vaporetto series in Venice, n. 54.
  9. ^ Wales Literature Exchange The Canals of Mars
  10. ^ Patrick McGuinness, Černá skřínka Periplum, 2009. ISBN 978-80-86624-51-8.
  11. ^ 19th Century Blues, Smith/Doorstop Books, 2007
  12. ^ Sean O'Brien, "Jilted City by Patrick McGuinness" in The Guardian, 29 May 2010
  13. ^ L'età della sedia vuota, cura e traduzione di Giorgia Sensi, edizioni Il ponte del sale, Rovigo, 2011
  14. ^ The Age of the Empty Chair, inspired by Monet's painting The Beach at Trouville
  15. ^ James Purdon, "The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness. Ceausescu's Bucharest falls again in a vivid semi-autobiographical novel" in The Guardian 14 August 2011 [1]
  16. ^ Ministere

External links[edit]