Corrigan, Maureen 1955-
Corrigan, Maureen 1955-
Born July 30, 1955, in Long Island, NY; daughter of John Joseph and Johanna Alice Corrigan; married Richard Jay Yeselson, July 21, 1990. Education: Fordham University, B.A., 1977; University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 1978, Ph.D., 1987.
Office—Department of English, Georgetown University, Box 571131, New North 309, Washington, DC 20057-1131. E-mail—[email protected]
Haverford College, Philadelphia, PA, professor of English, 1981-84; Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, PA, professor of English, 1981-87; Village Voice, New York, NY, book critic, 1981-93; National Public Radio, Philadelphia, PA, book reviewer and commentator, 1989—; Georgetown University, Washington, DC, professor of English, 1990—; Washington Post, Washington, DC, mystery critic and columnist, 1993—; Observer, New York, NY, book critic, 1994-96; Newsday, New York, NY, book critic, 1995—; Nation, New York, NY, book critic, 1996—. Member of advisory panel,
American Heritage Dictionary; judge, Los Angeles Times book prize.
National Writers Union, National Women's Book Association, National Book Critics' Circle, Mystery Writers of America (member of associate board).
National Endowment for the Humanities grant, 1993; Edgar Award for Criticism, Mystery Writers of America, 1999, for Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage.
(Editor, with Robin W. Winks) Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, Scribner (New York, NY), 1998.
Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals, including Washington Post, Newsday, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Nation.
Maureen Corrigan is a professor of English, as well as a widely known book critic. She also served as a contributing editor to Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, which was hailed by many critics for its comprehensive look at the mystery and suspense genre. Coedited by Robin S. Winks, Mystery and Suspense Writers was published as part of the "Scribner Writers" series. The book is a compilation of eighty-two essays that pertain to the many writings that fall within the boundaries of mystery and suspense, from its beginnings in the nineteenth-century to the modern renderings of such authors as John Grisham and James Lee Burke. The contributing essayists who lent their expertise include H.R.F. Keating, B.J. Rahn, Stephen F. Soitos, Jennifer Crusie, and Jon L. Breen. While some essays, sixty-eight in all, specifically deal with particular authors, fourteen others cover various themes or subgenres, which include the armchair detective, the black detective, the female detective, the gay and lesbian mystery, the police procedural, the religious mystery, the romantic suspense novel, and the spy thriller.
The authors that are covered are also wide-ranging, from classicists such as Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to hard-boiled detective writers including Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Also included are espionage writers such as Ian Fleming and John le Carre and romantic suspense mystery authors like Daphne du Maurier and Helen MacInnes. The essays provide lengthy commentary on their subjects. Corrigan and Winks also include three large appendixes, one dealing with pseudonyms and series characters, another with some mystery and suspense subgenres, and a third with major literary prize winners. Booklist critic Richard Bleiler called the work "one of the finest and most authoritative" volumes on the subject of the mystery and suspense genre. Noting the book's "excellent index," Library Journal contributor Cynthia Johnson felt Mystery and Suspense Writers would "fill [the] gap in reference collections, appealing to patrons researching popular mystery writers of the mid-19th through the 20th centuries."
Corrigan, who is known for her book reviews on the National Public Radio network as well as in periodicals, reflected on the ways books change their readers in her essay collection Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books. Of particular interest to the author are detective fiction—which she believes gives unique insights into issues of social class—women's narratives, and stories of saints. Her essays reveal her as "immensely likable, eclectic, and dynamic," according to Donna Seaman in Booklist, and her book "celebrates the joys of reading in a peppery narrative." Seaman suggested that the author offered much food for thought on the subject of life, as well as books. Reviewing Leave Me Alone for Library Journal, Terren Ilana Wein described the volume as "a compulsively readable work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, Scribner's (New York, NY), 1998.
Booklist, April 15, 1999, Richard Bleiler, review of Mystery and Suspense Writers, p. 1464; September 1, 2005, Donna Seaman, review of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books, p. 23.
Library Journal, March 1, 1999, Cynthia Johnson, review of Mystery and Suspense Writers, p. 74; October 1, 2005, Terren Ilana Wein, review of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading, p. 74.
Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2005, review of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading, p. 65.
National Public Radio Web site,http://www.npr.org/ (May 18, 2006), biographical information about Maureen Corrigan.