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Patrick Murphy

Associate Professor
Director of English Graduate Studies

317 Marano Campus Center

Office hours

Fall 2016
Tuesday & Thursday
4:00 - 5:00
Wednesday 3:00-4:00
or by appointment

Classes taught

Fall 2016 Courses

CSS 395/820
ENG 395/800

T 6:00-9:00 306 Marano CC
ENG 304/810 TR 12:45-2:05 142 Marano CC
ENG 319/800 TR 2:20-3:40 211 Marano CC

CSS 395/ENG 395-We will study several different kinds of films: one or two that claim to represent theatrical performances of Shakespeare’s work; one or two that claim to adapt Shakespeare’s work for their own purposes, striking out on their own creating a screenplay with some autonomy from Shakespeare’s anterior script; and one or two films that attempt to conceal their indebtedness to Shakespeare while they engage in strategies of imitation, homage, or critique—if not perhaps outright rejection of his work or the conventions and themes associated with it.  The course will probably begin with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and it’s retelling by Joss Whedon in 2012, which in its own way offers us a critique of Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 film version staring Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson, and Keanu Reeves.  Stanley Cavell’s work on what he calls the Hollywood comedies of remarriage, as well as his close readings of Shakespeare’s tragedies, will be our initial critical touchstone.  Since this is a new course, which I will be developing over the summer break, students who are interested in particular films, or plays, or types of film criticism may write to me with their suggestions (  Students can design (with my approval) their own projects for this class; however, for those students who prefer a more traditional form of evaluation, there will be two exams and two papers.  This course will serve as an elective course in the English major as well as an elective for students in Cinema and Screen Studies.  

ENG 304/810-How do literary critics do what they do? What is the secret behind writing a critical interpretation of a literary work of art that others will find insightful and compelling? What is at stake when literary critics begin to argue over how works of literary art should be read or taught?  This course will answer some of these questions, while it attempts to answer the toughest questions of them all: What can one do with an English major?  We will pursue these and similar questions by focusing upon some interpretive strategies in formalism, structuralism, hermeneutics, psychoanalysis, deconstruction and cultural materialism.  We will examine some developments within feminism, gay and lesbian studies, and perhaps some cultural anthropology and ethnography, while situating these developments within the larger traditions of literary criticism and theory that begin with Plato and Aristotle.  By reading both theory and criticism along with several specific literary texts, we will examine how literary criticism is fashioned, what is at stake in its arguments, and how literary criticism provides its own unique kinds of political, philosophical, historical, and poetic knowledge.

ENG 319/800-This course studies Shakespeare’s development as a writer who explores new possibilities for his poetry and his plays while altering, amplifying, or discarding old strategies.  We examine the full range of Shakespeare’s writing:  (1) from his somewhat early work in the sonnets and narrative poems along with his early experimentations in comedy to his more mature developments in the history play and festive comedy, (2) from his first attempts at tragedy to the breakdown of comic form in the problem plays, and (3) from his exclusive attention upon tragedy to his almost exclusive work in the later romances.  Our readings will be selected from each of these phases and genres.  There will be two or three examinations and two essays.