Author of scholarly books on literature
Christopher Heywood was born in Banhoek, near Stellenbosch, 2 July 1928. After
primary schooling in his mother's school on the farm (Katherine Heywood's
Simonsberg Garden School), he joined Paul Roos Gymnasium (then still
Stellenbosch Boys' High School): Matriculation First Class, 1945 (English,
Latin, Afrikaans, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics). At Stellenbosch University,
studied Afrikaans, French, Philosophy, Psychology and English, graduating Cum
Laude in English and French, 1948. As Rhodes Scholar, studied English Language
and Literature at New College, Oxford, graduating BA 1952, MA 1958. The
postgraduate thesis titled 'The Influence of the French Realists on English
Novelists and Critics 1880-1915) gained the degree BLitt (now MPhil) , 1958.
Career: As Research Fellow at Birmingham University (1954-6), studied George Eliot and other earlier Novelists; as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield (1956-1988), and Sub-Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1971-6), published numerous articles and books. As Professor of English and Head of the Department of English at the University of Ife, Nigeria (1966-1968, on leave of absence from Sheffield University), organised and contributed to the Ife Conference on African Literature. The commitment to African literature, including South African literature, appeared there.
As Jerwood Fellow at Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo (1988-1989) and as Professor of English at Okayama University, Japan (1989-1995) and at Kobe Women's University, Japan (1995-1998), embarked on wider studies that will be incorporated in a future book on imperialism and literature. A British Academy award (1985) was to study the work in South Africa of W.H.I. Bleek. A Mellon award (2004) gave sustained access to research materials at the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin and at other research Libraries in the USA.
Has served on the Committee of the British Comparative Literature Association and is a member of the Modern Language Association of America and the American Association for African Literature.
Interests include music (played second violin in various orchestras), painting (exhibited works in Cape Town, Oxford, Sheffield, and Japan), and travel.
Last read: I've been convulsed with laughter over Wuthering Heights According to Spike Milligan - be warned and fasten seat belts, it's pretty Agricultural ie full of sex and muck, like Kingsley Amis and that crowd. Humour, according to George Orwell, is always subversive.
Research and publications: the research has two main parts: (a) Anglo-French literary relations, including the Brontës; (b) African/South African
literature. Numerous articles published in specialised scholarly journals.
A book provisionally titled 'Emily Brontë at Work' is currently approaching completion and likely to be sent on its rounds in the publishing world in 2016. A further book provisionally titled 'Imperialism and Fiction 1840-1940' is under construction.