Department Directory

Ross Murfin

E.A. Lilly Distinguished Professor of English


An early interest in Thomas Hardy, his Romantic precursors, and his Victorian contemporaries led me later to consider Hardy’s influence on a later, Edwardian writer, D.H. Lawrence.  Subsequent studies of Joseph Conrad gave me the opportunity to edit a critical edition of Heart of Darkness, which in turn led to the creation of an entire series of theory-smart critical editions published by Bedford Books of St. Martin’s Press.  Currently, I am combining my interests in critical theory and nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature by writing a study of the way in which Romantic, Victorian, and early-modern writers use, bend, and break the evolving conventions governing quotation marks in order to create meanings that would otherwise be difficult to express. 

Courses taught

  • Fiction
  • Contemporary Critical Approaches
  • Romantic and Victorian Poetry (undergraduate- and graduate level)
  • Victorian Fiction (undergraduate and graduate level)

Publications (selected)

Swinburne, Hardy, Lawrence, and the Burden of Belief (1978); The Poetry of D.H. Lawrence:  Texts and Contexts (1983); Sons and Lovers:  A Novel of Division and Desire (1987); Lord Jim:  After the Truth (1992); The Scarlet Letter:  A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism (2ed. 2006); Heart of Darkness: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism (3ed., 2011); ed. Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism (1989-2011)


Numerous outstanding teaching awards earned at various institutions; Outstanding Admministrator Award, Southern Methodist University (1999); M Award for Outstanding University Service, SMU (2003)