The Gatekeeper: A Memoir

Front Cover
St. Martin's Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 177 pages
6 Reviews
Oxford professor, best-selling author, preeminent literary critic, playwright, screenwriter, and novelist, Terry Eagleton knows all about the claims of competing worlds. One of his earliest roles growing up Catholic in Protestant England was as "the gatekeeper"-the altar boy who at reverend mother's nod literally closed the door on young women taking the veil, separating the sanctity of the convent from earthly temptations and family obligations.

Often scathingly funny, frequently tender, and always completely engaging, The Gatekeeper is Eagleton's memoirs, his deep-etched portraits of those who influenced him, either by example or by contrast: his father, headmasters, priests, and Cambridge dons. He was a shy, bookish, asthmatic boy keenly aware of social inferiority yet determined to make his intellectual way. "Our aim in life," he writes of his working-class, Irish-immigrant-descended family, "was to have the words 'We Were No Trouble' inscribed on our tombstones." But Eagleton knew trouble was the point of it all. Opening doors sometimes meant rattling the knobs. At both Cambridge and Oxford, he gravitated toward dialectics and mavericks, countering braying effeteness with withering if dogmatic dissections of the class system.

The Gatekeeper mixes the soberly serious with the downright hilarious, skewer-sharp satire with unashamed fondness, the personal with the political. Most of it all it reveals a young man learning to reconcile differences and oppositions: a double-edged portrait of the intellectual as a young man.

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Review: The Gatekeeper: A Memoir

User Review  - Josh Wade - Goodreads

My first Terry Eagleton book on my swing back to the Leftism of my early twenties, (slightly now more informed) I am simply giving this 5 stars because of the number of times I actually laughed out ... Read full review

Review: The Gatekeeper: A Memoir

User Review  - Aran - Goodreads

In which Terry Eagleton picks and chooses; claims to loathe Oxbridge and the upper-classes while striving desperately to appear a raffish wit of precisely the Oxbridge type. Spiked with funny moments ... Read full review

About the author (2001)

Terry Eagleton is the author of, among other books, Literary Theory and The Truth About the Irish. He has also written a novel, several plays, and the screenplay for Derek Jarman's film Wittgenstein. He has been Thomas Warton Professor of English at Oxford, and Fellow at St. Catherine's College, Oxford, and is currently Professor of Cultural Theory at Manchester University.

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