Jeffares, A. Norman 1920-2005
JEFFARES, A. Norman 1920-2005
(Alexander Norman Jeffares)
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 11, 1920, in Dublin, Ireland; died June 1, 2005, in Crail, Fife, Scotland. Educator and author. A noted scholar of W. B. Yeats, Jeffares was an English literature professor who promoted the writings of authors throughout the British Commonwealth. Born in Dublin and of Irish and Scottish descent, he was proud of his heritage and keenly interested in the literature of these countries, being particularly fascinated by Yeats. While still in high school, in fact, he contacted the famous author and commissioned him to write the poem "What Then?," which some critics believe to be one of Yeats's best later works. Graduating from the University of Dublin with a B.A. in 1943 and Ph.D. in 1946, he also earned an M.A. from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1946 and a doctorate in 1948; his doctoral thesis was based on the papers Yeats's widow gave him. Embarking on an academic career, Jeffares taught at the University of Gröningen in the Netherlands in the late 1940s and was a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh from 1949 to 1951. By this time he had become interested in the literature of the former British Empire. He traveled to Australia to teach literature at the University of Adelaide for several years, returning to England in 1957 to become a professor of English literature at the University of Leeds. It was while here that he really established his reputation as an authority on post-colonial literature, and he made it his mission to travel to countries around the world to encourage various university literature departments to promote their native authors' writings. Jeffares also established a number of associations and societies along these lines, including the International Association for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature and the Association for Commonwealth Literature. After heading the Leeds English department, as well as serving as chair of its School of English, Jeffares joined the University of Stirling in 1974. He remained there until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1986. Jeffares was a prolific author and editor with more than one hundred titles to his credit. Among these are W.B. Yeats: Man and Poet (1949; revised as W.B. Yeats: A New Biography, 1988), The Poetry of W.B. Yeats (1961), George Moore's Mind and Art (1968), Jonathan Swift (1976), and The Irish Literary Movement (1998). He also penned two collections of original verse: Brought up in Dublin (1987) and Brought up to Leave (1987). At the time of his death, he had just completed coediting a four-volume anthology on Irish literature.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Independent (London, England), June 4, 2005, p. 40.
Times (London, England), June 17, 2005, p. 72.