Swansea University - sheils_b

Dr. Barry Sheils

Specialist Subjects: European modernism; Irish literature; romantic and post-romantic aesthetics; literature and psychoanalysis; theories of ‘World Literature’; questions of style and subjectivity as they relate to nationhood, especially ‘Irishness’, ‘Englishness’ and ‘Britishness’; innovative HE teaching and learning strategies.

Before coming to Swansea, Barry taught in the departments of English and Comparative Literary Studies and Philosophy at the University of Warwick where he also completed his PhD on the topic of style in the work of the Irish poet, W.B. Yeats. He continues to work in the area of Yeats Studies, preparing a research monograph on Yeats’s relevance to contemporary discourses on world literature, bioethics (eugenics), political fanaticism, and national subjectivity.  As well as publishing on Yeats, Barry has published on contemporary fiction, the relation between literature and psychoanalysis, and the development of performance-based pedagogies in HE.


Beyond his Yeats monograph, Barry is currently developing three new research projects:

  • ‘Shame and the Act of Writing’ - a collaborative project with colleagues at the University of Warwick which investigates the role of shame in acts of academic and creative writing.
  • Englishness and Literary Style - an investigation of how the historical style of the ‘English gentleman’ influences the reception of contemporary fiction.
  • An investigation of the conceptual importance of Masochism to the development of the literary and social imagination of Europe from 1850-1930.


Selected Publications

Journal Articles

‘Tragedy and Transference in D.M Thomas’s The White Hotel’, Psychoanalysis and History January 2013, 15.1 [Co-authored with Julie Walsh]

‘“Dark Cognition”: W.B. Yeats, J.G. Herder and the Imperfection of Tradition’, Irish Studies Review 20.3 August 2012 pp. 299-321

‘From Dignity to Beauty: Aesthetics, Revolution and the Problem of Reception in “Easter 1916”’, The Politics of Irish Writing. Ed. JenĨová, K. et al. Prague: Charles University Press, March 2010



A Bibliography of Open Space Learning, Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning University of Warwick, June 2010 [http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/projects/osl-final/osl_practice/bibliographies/] 130pp.

General Information

BA (Trinity College, Dublin), MA, PhD (University of Warwick)

English Literature and Language
TEL: +44 (0)
FAX: +44 (0)
E-MAIL: b.a.sheils@swansea.ac.uk

Courses Taught

Module co-ordinator:


EN219 Hardy and Hopkins as poets of Innovation and Idiosyncrasy

EN339 W.B. Yeats


EN216 California Dreamin’: from the Beats to Brautigan

EN383 Dylan Thomas

Contributing lecturer:

EN114  Lyric Poetry and Tragic Drama: An Introduction to Genre

EN100 Monsters and Transformations: An Introduction to Fiction and Theory

EN207 Modernism and Modernity

EN206 Debating Texts

EN238  Shakespeare’s Plays

EN389 Revolution, Romanticism and Realism