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John Irwin

Decker Professor in the Humanities

Department of English
Johns Hopkins University
701A Dell House
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218


Telephone:  (410) 516-8929
Email:  jirwin@jhu.edu

John T. Irwin is the Decker Professor in the Humanities and Professor in The Writing Seminars and the English department at the Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Irwin received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Rice University in 1970 and 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 Georqia Review at the University of Georgia. His 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, and this was soon followed by his first book of poems, The Heisenberq Variations, under his pen name John Bricuth, published by the University of Georgia Press in 1976.  Professor Irwin returned to Johns Hopkins University as professor and chairman of The Writing Seminars department.  He subsequently accepted a joint appointment in the English department and received an endowed chair, the Decker Professorship in the Humanities, in 1984.

In 1980 he published his second book of literary criticism and scholarship, American Hieroqlvphics: The Symbol of the Egyptian Hieroqlvphics 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 Prize from Phi Beta Kappa for the best scholarly book in the humanities published in 1994 and also won the Aldo Scaglione Prize in comparative literature from the Modern Language Association for the best scholarly book published in the field of comparative literature that year.

In 1996, Professor Irwin stepped down as chairman 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. Presently, he is at work on another long narrative poem about marriage called As Long As It's Big and on a book of literary criticism on the American poet Hart Crane and another book on hard-boiled detective fiction and film noir.

Curriculum Vitae 

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