Erin Murphy

Associate Professor Department of English NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities

  • Title Associate Professor Department of English
    NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities
  • Office 544
  • Phone 617-358-2557
  • Education BA, Vassar College
    MA, PhD, Rutgers University

My research and teaching interests center on the intersection of literature and politics, with primary areas of focus in seventeenth-century English literature (particularly Milton and women writers), and gender and sexuality studies more broadly.  My first book, Familial Forms: Politics and Genealogy in Seventeenth-Century England, investigated how writers from across the political spectrum explored the promise and the threats of using family as a means to stabilize politics.  Moving beyond the much-discussed patriarchal analogy, this study drew on feminist and queer theory to illuminate the temporal stakes of family politics, giving particular attention to the explicit and implicit debates over genealogy as a literary and governmental form.  My new book project deploys an inter-historical approach, reconsidering the writing of seventeenth-century women in relation to the English civil wars, as well as the ways that this writing has been appropriated during other moments of war, including our own moment of global conflict.  I have also co-edited a collection of interdisciplinary and theoretical essays entitled Milton Now, which expands discussions of Milton beyond the dominant historicist paradigm while simultaneously engaging wider questions about the current state of literary studies.  My work in sexuality studies includes the co-editing of a special issue of Criticism on the work of Eve Sedgwick.  I am also working on new essays on Milton and queer studies, the first of which will appear in June 2017.   In addition to offering undergraduate and graduate classes in English, I teach both the undergraduate class WS 101 and the theories and methods graduate seminar in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program.

  • Familial Forms: Politics and Genealogy in Seventeenth-Century English Literature (University of Delaware Press, December 2010).
  • Milton Now: Alternative Approaches and Contexts, co-edited and introduced with Catharine Gray (Palgrave, December 2014).  Collection of interdisciplinary and theoretical essays on the work of John Milton inspired by the twenty-fifth anniversary of the groundbreaking volume, Re-membering Milton: Essays on the Texts and Traditions.   
Selected Publications
  • “Radical Relations: The Genealogical Imaginary and Queer Kinship in Milton’s Paradise Regained,” in One First Matter All:  New Essays on Milton, Materialism, and Embodiment, edited by Kevin Donovan and Thomas Festa (Duquesne Press, forthcoming June 2017), 39 pages in manuscript.
  • “I remain, an airy phantasm’: Lucy Hutchinson’s Civil War Ghost Writing,” ELH: English Literary History, 82:1 (Spring 2015).
  • “War Times: Seventeenth-Century Women’s Writing and its Afterlives,” in Rethinking Historicism from Shakespeare to Milton, eds. Ann Coiro and Thomas Fulton, Cambridge University Press (2012).
  • Paradise Lost and the Politics of Begetting,” Milton Quarterly, 45:1 (March 2011).
  • “Sabrina and the Making of English History in PolyOlbion and A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle,” Studies in English Literature, 51, 1 (Winter 2011).
  • Co-editor with Keith Vincent, Criticism 52.2 (Spring 2010), Special Issue: “Honoring Eve: Essays on the Work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.” Includes an introductory essay by the editors, 159-76.
  • “Infectious Knowledge: Teaching John Milton’s Of Education and Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies,” in Teaching Early Modern Prose, eds. Margaret Ferguson and Susannah Monta (Modern Language Association, 2010)
  • “Milton’s ‘Birth Abortive’: Remaking Family at the End of Paradise Lost,” in Milton Studies 43 (2004)
  • “Mary Astell,” in The Age of Milton: An Encyclopedia of Major 17th-Century British and American Authors, ed. Alan Hager (2004)
Works in Progress
  • Wartimes: Seventeenth-Century Women’s Writing and its Afterlives (book project)
  • “Rude Milton: Gender, Sexuality and the Missing Middle of Milton Studies,” essay commissioned for Queer Milton, edited by David Orvis.  In process.
  • “‘Armies rais’d in my braine, fought in my fancy’: Margaret Cavendish’s Battle-scarred Genres.” (article in progress)
Honors, Grants, and Awards
  • Jeffrey Henderson Senior Research Fellowship, BU Center for the Humanities, (Spring 2015)
  • David L. Kalstone Memorial Fund Award (2007)
  • Boston University Humanities Foundation Fellowship (2005–6)
  • Folger Institute Grant-in-aid (2001)
  • Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture Fellowship (1999–2000)

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