Kevin Barry

Notes

Life
[1950- ]; Prof. of English, Galway/NUI; author of Language, Music and the Sign: A Study in Aesthetics, Poetics and Poetic Practice from Collins to Coleridge (1987); also ‘Critical Notes on Post-Colonial Aesthetics’, in Irish Studies Review (Spring 1996), pp.2-11, and The Dead (2001). FDA

[ top ]

Works
[Incl.] Language, Music and the Sign: A Study in Aesthetics, Poetics and Poetic Practice from Collins to Coleridge (Cambridge UP 1987), xii, 244pp. [see note]; ed., The Irish Review, 12 [New Histories: Visions and Revisions; Ulster Identities] (Belfast: IIS/QUB Spring/Summer 1992); with William J. McCormack & Terence Brown & Jill Berman, ed., Degree/Diploma in Arts: Literature - 1: Foundation Module ] (Dublin: National Distance Education Centre/DCU 1994); The Dead [Ireland into Film] (Cork UP 2001), 98pp.

See also a review of The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (1992), in The European English Messenger, 1, 3 (Autumn 1992), pp.46-49

Bibliographical details
Language, Music and the Sign: A Study in Aesthetics, Poetics and Poetic Practice from Collins to Coleridge (Cambridge UP 1987): a conceptual account of the relationship between music and poetry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries [which] lays emphasis on the visual analogy (comparing poetry with painting rather than with music). Coleridge believed that music was 'the rhythm of the soul's movements' and declared himself to be 'in a state of Spirit much more akin' to Mozart's or Beethoven's than to that of any painter. Dr Barry examines in detail the ways of thinking about poetry, music and language (in its broadest sense) during the period that preceded Coleridge, referring to the work of philosophers and poets such as Hume, Berkeley, Rousseau, Collins, Blake, Cowper and Wordsworth, but also to lesser-known theorists such as James Usher, Thomas Twining, Adam Smith, Dugald Stewart and de Gerando. (See notice in COPAC - online.)

[ top ]

Criticism
Helen Meany, notice of summarises ‘Critical Notes on Post-Colonial Aesthetics’, in Ireland of the Welcomes (Sept. 1996), p.38 [see extract].

[ top ]

Commentary
Helen Meany
: Meany summarises ‘Critical Notes on Post-Colonial Aesthetics’, a keynote delivered at the James Joyce Summer School in 1995: ‘[Barry] rejected post-colonial criticism’s correlations between aesthetics and politics: for example, the notion that there is an aesthetic of the oppressed, favouring literary devices such as allegory, versus an aesthetic of the powerful, which tends to employ symbol and metaphor. This polarised scheme, he argued, gives rise to “powerless misreadings” of complex literary texts. “Despite their advocacy of plurality ... these critics reduce texts to binary oppositions’ and eliminate diversity. “Post colonial theory goes seriously wrong in the case of Joyce, when it seeks to discover a conflict between England and Ireland”. This insistence “runs entirely contrary to Joyce’s work”.’ (Ireland of the Welcomes, Sept. 1996, p.38.)

[ top ]

Notes
Which book? Asked by the paper which single book he - among 10 other writers - would give as a gift, Kevin Barry answered: Collected Poems by Philip Larkin (‘No matter how bad you are feeling, Philip Larkin is feeling worse [...].’). (See Irish Times, 5 March 2011, Weekend, p.7.)

Namesake: Kevin Barry (aetat. 59), an London-Irish artist lwith three one-man exhibitions to his credit, issued Kilty-boy (2011), a memoir of childhood in Notting Hill and Chelsea, and his second publication.

[ top ]