John Thomas Irwin (b.
April 24, 1940in Houston, Texas) is the Decker Professorin the Humanitiesand Professor in The Writing Seminars and the English department at Johns Hopkins University.
Irwinreceived his Master's degreeand Ph.D.in English from Rice Universityand began teaching as an assistant professor in the English department at Johns Hopkins University in 1970, where he continued until 1974 when he left to become the editor of "The Georgia Review" at the University of Georgia. Irwin returned to Johns Hopkins University as professor and chair of The Writing Seminars department. After that he accepted a joint appointment in the English department and received an endowed chair, the Decker Professorship in the Humanities, in 1984.
Irwin's first book of
literary criticism, "Doubling and Incest/Repetition and Revenge: A Speculative Reading of Faulkner", was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in 1975. This was followed by his first book of poems, "The Heisenberg Variations", under his pen name John Bricuth, published by the University of Georgia Press in 1976.
In 1980 he published his second book of literary criticism and scholarship, "American Hieroglyphics: The Symbol of the Egyptian Hieroglyphics in the American Renaissance", with the Yale University Press, and in 1994 he published his third book of criticism, "Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borqes. and the Analytical Detective Story", with the
Johns Hopkins University Press. The latter book won the Christian Gauss Prizefrom Phi Beta Kappafor the best scholarly book in the humanities published in 1994 and also won the Aldo Scaglione Prizein comparative literature from the Modern Language Associationfor the best scholarly book published in the field of comparative literature that year.
In 1996, Irwin stepped down as chair of the Writing Seminars after nineteen years but still continues as a professor in the Writing Seminars and in English, teaching full time and writing. In 1998 he published his long narrative poem, "Just Let Me Say This About That", under his pen name John Bricuth, with the Overlook Press as the first volume in the Sewanee Writers' series. His latest book, a narrative poem published by Johns Hopkins University press in 2005, is titled, "As Long As It's Big".
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