James Brophy

Lecturer in Honors

145.1 Estabrooke Hall

Ph.D., Boston University
B.A., M.A., University of Maine

I am a scholar of 19th and 20th century British and Irish literature,
teaching mostly in the first year of the Civilizations program, whose scope
and flexibility I love. In other contexts, I’ve taught courses on modernism,
aesthetics, elegy, irony, and critical methods. I also teach Greek and
Roman literature and culture for Modern Languages & Classics.
My scholarship focuses on poetry, aesthetic criticism, and often includes
elements of classical reception (how forms and concepts from Greco-
Roman antiquity have been inherited and interpreted).

Why I Teach in Honors:
I love tracing concepts across cultures and time. I read with a philological
eye I developed as an undergraduate Latin student interested in the
structure, history, idiomatic meaning, and philosophical implications of
words and phrases. Practiced sensitivity to the inscape of words helps us
gain important perspective on our own institutions and ideological
assumptions; it’s also fascinating and fun!

Samuel Beckett’s Poetry, which I coedited with Will Davies, was published by
Cambridge University Press at the start of 2023. My current ongoing
project, based on my doctoral dissertation, is about poetry, pessimism,
and aesthetic criticism.

Other Selected Publications

  • “Beckett Growing Gnomic: The Poems of 1934” in Samuel Beckett’s
    Poetry (2023).
  • “‘Pulsating wrongfully’: Cliché, Critique, and The Secret Agent” in
    Politics of Fear, Politics of Hope: Post-critique and Joseph Conrad, ed.
    Jay Parker and Joyce Wexler (Palgrave, 2021): 105-127.
  • “Cynic and Lyric Balanced: The War Dead and The Lyric Beloved in
    Keith Douglas,” Twentieth Century Literature 66.1 (Spring 2020): 37-58.
  • “‘As if the sex matters’: Samuel Beckett, Roland Barthes and Endgame
    in Love,” in Beckett Beyond the Normal, ed. Seán Kennedy (Edinburgh
    University Press, 2020): 90-103.
  • “Walter Pater, Roland Barthes, and Aesthetic Idiosyncrasy: A Critical
    Experiment in Paideia,” Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry
    and Poetics, Vol. 45 (2019): 17-34.

I’m author of short-essay length entries on John Ashbery and Carl
Sandburg for Twentieth Century and Contemporary American Literature in
Context (2019) and wrote “Trying Uncertainty,” a review of Literary Theories
of Uncertainty, ed. Mette Leonard Høeg, for Essays in Criticism (2023). I’ve
also written performance and conference reviews for The Beckett Circle,
the publication of the Samuel Beckett Society.