Matthews, Steven 1961-
MATTHEWS, Steven 1961-
PERSONAL: Born 1961. Education: B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Office—School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford 0X3 0BP, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, England, professor in School of Humanities.
(Editor, with Keith Williams) Rewriting the Thirties:Modernism and After, Longman (London, England), 1997.
Irish Poetry: Politics, History, Negotiation: The Evolving Debate, 1969 to the Present, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Yeats as Precursor: Readings in Irish, British, andAmerican Poetry, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Les Murray, Manchester University (New York, NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: A professor specializing in twentieth-century Irish, British, and American poetry, Steven Matthews has published scholarly studies, several of which deal with poetry as an expression of political beliefs. In 1997 he coedited with Keith Williams Rewriting the Thirties: Modernism and After, a collection of essays that treat British literature during the 1930s, which Modern Language Review contributor Peter Faulkner deemed to be an "undoubted success" overall. Faulkner went on to write that Rewriting the Thirties is a "welcome contribution to the ongoing enlargement and clarification of the picture" of this fertile time in literary history.
In Yeats as Precursor: Readings in Irish, British, and American Poetry, using Harold Bloom's model of influence, Matthews discusses the relationships between poems by Yeats and a selection of twenty-three more recent poets, including Auden, Davie, Gunn, Hughes Hill, Muldoon, Boland, Merrill, Plath, Rich, and Graham. D. R. McCarthy, writing in Choice, compared and contrasted Yeats as Precursor with other similar works, finding that Matthews's arguments are "theoretically more complex." On the other hand, "Matthews's theory of influence is an earnestly erudite if less-than-fresh cocktail," McCarthy felt. In a review for the Journal of Modern Literature Daniel T. O'Hara said: "Matthews makes the reading of literary influence, such as Yeats's upon these poets, possible for a politically correct contemporaneity." O'Hara went on to say that all of the poets discussed in this work receive "an acute critical understanding" from Matthews.
In 2001 Matthews offered readers the first full-length critical study of works by Australian poet Les Murray to date. After providing in Les Murray an overview of Murray's place in Australian literature and culture, Matthews presents detailed readings of selected poems. As with his Irish Poetry, Matthews was drawn to poems that deal in some way with politics and cultural criticism. Neil James in the Times Literary Supplement pointed out that Matthews's Les Murray might provide readers new to Murray's work due to Matthews' "useful introduction" to the poet's work and times.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, July-August, 1997, D. R. McCarthy, review of Irish Poetry: Politics, History, Negotiation: The Evolving Debate, 1969 to the Present, p. 1802; September, 2000, D. R. McCarthy, review of Yeats as Precursor: Readings in Irish, British, and American Poetry, p. 127.
Journal of Modern Literature, summer, 2001, Daniel T. O'Hara, review of Yeats as Precursor: Readings, History, Negotiation: The Evolving Debate, 1969 to the Present, pp. 518-525.
Modern Language Review, Volume 95, number 1, Peter Faulkner, review of Rewriting the Thirties: Modernism and After, pp. 198-199; Volume 96, number 4, Stephen Matterson, review of Yeats as Precursor, pp. 1056-1057.
Times Literary Supplement, February 20, 1998, Peter Sirr, review of Irish Poetry, p. 12; February 8, 2002, Neil James, review of Les Murray, p. 31.