Shesgreen, Sean N. 1939–

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Shesgreen, Sean N. 1939–

(Sean Nicholas Shesgreen)


Born December 5, 1939, in Derry City, Ireland; son of Johnnie (a laborer) and Ruperta Shesgreen; married Mary O. Gallagher, August 4, 1964 (separated); children: Deirdre. Education: Loyola University, Chicago, IL, B.A., 1962, M.A., 1966; Northwestern University, Ph.D., 1970. Politics: Independent socialist. Religion: Agnostic. Hobbies and other interests: Irish and American political struggles, carpentry, food, and travel.


Home—DeKalb, IL. Office—Department of English, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]


High school English teacher and elementary teacher in parochial schools in Chicago, IL, 1961-65; Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, professor of English, 1969—. Visiting professor, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2007-08. Also advisory editor of art history for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 1993-95.


Modern Language Association of America.


Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Northern Illinois University, 1995. Recipient of numerous grants and fellowships.


Literary Portraits in the Novels of Henry Fielding, Northern Illinois University Press (DeKalb, IL), 1972.

The Engravings of Hogarth: An Edition and Commentary, Dover, 1972.

Hogarth and the Times-of-the-Day Tradition, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1983.

(Editor, and author of introduction and commentary) Marcellus Laroon, artist, The Criers and Hawkers of London: Engravings and Drawings, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1990.

Images of the Outcast: The Urban Poor in the Cries of London, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 2002.

Contributor to American Notes and Queries, Studies in the Novel, Chicago Tribune Perspective magazine, Panorama, and Chicago Journalism Review. Contributor to books, including Hogarth: Representing Nature's Machines, 2001; and Representations of Swift, 2003.


Sean N. Shesgreen is the author of several scholarly works on art history. His fourth book, Images of the Outcast: The Urban Poor in the Cries of London, was published in 2002. The volume explores the late-sixteenth-century genre of "Cries," which depicted images of London street people in their element. The Cries, which included sketches of people who were fishmongers, chimneysweeps, prostitutes, or other members and professions of the lower class, were predominantly purchased by London's emerging middle class. Some of the prominent artists of this genre, Shesgreen shows, are the Dutch Marcellus Laroon, the Italian Jacob Amigoni, and the English William Hogarth. Shesgreen is also the author of two books on the latter artist. Reviews of Images of the Outcast were largely positive. For instance, Albion critic John D. Ramsbottom called the work "a fascinating review of the London social scene but also a convincing commentary on the function of a popular art form that has never been treated so thoroughly." Ramsbottom also noted that "Shesgreen's work is informed by wide reading, and most of his conclusions ring true." Another laudatory assessment was offered by Dianne Payne, writing in the Journal of Social History. Payne commented that "Images of the Outcast offers a wealth of material and will be of immense interest to historians of English art, society, economics and culture. It is beautifully produced with ten coloured plates and over 150 illustrations, all clearly numbered and referenced."



Albion, March 22, 2004, John D. Ramsbottom, review of Images of the Outcast: The Urban Poor in the Cries of London, p. 137.

Chronicle of Higher Education, December 13, 2002, review of Images of the Outcast.

Journal of Social History, December 22, 2004, Dianne Payne, review of Images of the Outcast, p. 530.


Department of English, Northern Illinois University Web site, (June 10, 2008), author's curriculum vitae.