Enright, D(ennis) J(oseph) 1920-2002
ENRIGHT, D(ennis) J(oseph) 1920-2002
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born March 11, 1920, in Leamington, Warwickshire, England; died December 31, 2002, in London, England. Educator and author. Enright was a poet famous for his minimalist, colloquial style and themes about ordinary life. He earned his master's degree from Downing College, Cambridge, in 1946, and after he had bad luck looking for a university job in England, he moved to Alexandria, Egypt, where he obtained his Ph.D. at what is now the University of Alexandria in 1949. After lecturing at Alexandria for three years and back home at the University of Birmingham for another three, Enright embarked on a long career teaching at foreign universities. He taught at Koonan University in Japan from 1953 to 1956, the Free University of Berlin for the next year, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand from 1957 to 1959, and the University of Singapore from 1960 to 1970. His desire to have an open and free curriculum in Singapore caused him to run into some trouble with the restrictive government there, but he was beloved by his students. Many of his early poetry collections concern his experiences in Japan and Singapore, including The Laughing Hyena (1953) and Bread rather than Blossoms (1956). He also drew on his experiences in Egypt for his novel Academic Year (1955). In 1970, Enright returned to England to become coeditor of the literary magazine Encounter for two years, followed by a productive eight years at the publishing house Chatto & Windus and a five-year stint, from 1975 to 1980, as an honorary professor of English at Warwick University. Sometimes associated with the Movement, a school of poetry in England during the 1950s and 1960s that was a reaction to the more ornate language of poets such as Dylan Thomas, Enright wrote movingly about subjects such as poverty and his childhood in simple, usually unrhymed verses in collections such as The Terrible Shears: Scenes from a Twenties Childhood (1973). In addition to some two dozen poetry collection, he wrote or edited eleven novels, including three for children, completed fourteen essay collections, edited thirteen other books, and translated books by Colette Portal and Marcel Proust. Toward the end of his life, he completed the memoirs Interplay: A Kind of Commonplace Book (1995) and Play Resumed: A Journal (1998), as well as his Collected Poems (1998) and Signs and Wonders: Selected Essays (2001). At the time of his death, Enright had just finished another autobiographical book, Injury Time that was scheduled for publication in 2003. For his poetic achievements, Enright was awarded the Cholmondeley Award for Poetry from the British Society of Authors in 1974 and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1981; he was also named to the Order of the British Empire in 1991.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Contemporary Poets, seventh edition, St. James (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Chicago Tribune, January 7, 2003, section 2, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2003, p. B11.
New York Times, January 13, 2003, p. A23.
Times (London, England), January 1, 2003.