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BARS  January 2019

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Subject:

BARS: Professor Michael O'Neill

From:

Neil Ramsey <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Neil Ramsey <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 Jan 2019 04:25:27 +0000

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I am very sorry to inform you that Professor Michael O’Neill died on Friday 21st December. Michael passed away peacefully at home with his family. As some of you will know, Michael had come through the initial phase of his illness with immense courage, and continued to lecture and supervise his PhD students until the week before his death; his loss in these circumstances is all the more upsetting.
 
Many of you will have known Michael personally while others will know and have been inspired by his work. Michael was a highly distinguished scholar of Romantic poetry and a leading expert on poetic influence, dialogues, and legacies. Although he will be rightly remembered for his ground-breaking critical studies and textual editing of Percy Bysshe Shelley, his range was astonishing, publishing on English poetry from the late eighteenth century to the present day (with significant contributions, also, on Dante and Shakespeare). His editorship of The Cambridge History of English Poetry (2010) is an indication of the breadth of his knowledge. Michael’s other books include, among so many others, The Human Mind’s Imaginings: Conflict and Achievement in Shelley’s Poetry (1989), Romanticism and the Self-Conscious Poem (1997), The All-Sustaining Air: Romantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry (2007), and Shelleyan Reimaginings and Influence: New Relations (the latter was completed shortly before his death and is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2019).    
 
Michael was also a prize-winning poet, publishing four collections of poems during his lifetime with a fifth collection forthcoming in 2019. He received the Eric Gregory Award in 1983 and a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 1990. His fourth collection of poems, Return of the Gift, published in 2018, received a Special Commendation from the Poetry Book Society.
 
The above only touches on Michael’s many achievements and commitment to the subject area during a career of nearly forty years at Durham University – which also, for example, included serving nationally and internationally on editorial and advisory boards. He will be remembered by generations of students and scholars as an inspirational lecturer and mentor. Michael is to be honoured as a Distinguished Scholar by the Keats-Shelley Association of America at the MLA Convention in Chicago this January. He will be greatly missed.
 
 
Sarah Wootton, Durham University, 30th December 2018 

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