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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Marc Conner

Jo M. and James Ballengee Professor of English and Associate Provost

Payne 108 and Washington Hall 217
(540) 458-8924 English (540) 458-8418 Office of the Provost

Professional Website | Curriculum Vitae



B.A. in English, University of Washington, 1989 (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude)
B.A. in Philosophy, University of Washington, 1989
M.A., Princeton University, 1992
Ph.D., Princeton University, 1994


Modernity and Modern Narrative; Twentieth-century American fiction; African-American literature; modern Irish literature; literature and philosophy; literature and religion.


WRIT 100—First Year Writing Seminar: Coming of Age
English 236—The Bible as English Literature
English 252—Shakespeare (view Shakespeare Studies Web site)
English 352—Modern Irish Literature
English 365—African-American Literature
English 368—The Modern American Novel
English 380/387: Supervised Study in Ireland and Irish Literature

African-American Studies 130: Introduction to African-American Studies (African-American Studies Web site)

Seminar and Capstone Topics

African-American Memoir
Yeats, Gregory, and the Irish Revival Gnosticism and the Irish Moderns
Yeats and Irish Modernism
Comedy and Tragedy
Existentialism and Literature
Modern Irish Literature
Toni Morrison and William Faulkner
Spring Term in Ireland Program (view my bi-annual Study Abroad in Ireland program)

Selected Publications


How to Read and Understand Shakespeare. A 24-lecture course for The Teaching Company / The Great Courses. Chantilly, VA. Released winter 2013. (Book and DVD)

The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered. Editor, with Introduction and Essay. (Gainesville, Florida: The University Press of Florida James Joyce Series, 2012).

 Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher. Editor and contributor, with William R. Nash. University Press of Mississippi, 2007. Includes my essays, "Charles Johnson and Philosophical Black Fiction" (xi-xxxvii, with William R. Nash), "To Utter the Holy: The Metaphysical Romance of Middle Passage" (57-81), and "'At the numinous heart of being': Dreamer and Christian Theology" (150-170).

Speaking the Unspeakable: The Aesthetic Dimensions of Toni Morrison. Editor and contributor. University Press of Mississippi, 2000. Includes my essays "Aesthetics and the African-American Novel" (.ix-xxviii) and "From the Sublime to the Beautiful: The Aesthetic Progression of Toni Morrison" (49-76).

Essays and Articles

"'The Whiteness of Blackness': The Bonfire of the Vanities and African-American Poetics." Shenandoah 57:1 (Spring 2007): 166-186.

"The Specter of History: Filming Memory in Beloved." In The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century American Fiction on Screen, ed. Barton Palmer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007: 202-216.

"The Litany of Things: Sacrament and History in Invisible Man." In "Raft of Hope": Ralph Ellison and the Literature of Politics, ed. Lucas Morel. Louisville: University of Kentucky Press, 2004, pp.171-192.

"Fathers and Sons: Winesburg, Ohio and the Revision of Modernism." Studies in American Fiction 29:2 (Autumn 2001): 209-238.

"Wild Women and Graceful Girls: Toni Morrison's Winter's Tale," Nature, Woman, and the Artifice of Politics. Ed. Eduardo Velasquez. Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

"Midnight's Children and the Apocalypse of Form." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 38:4 (Summer 1997): 289-99.

"Postmodern Exhaustion: Thomas Pynchon's Vineland and the Aesthetic of the Beautiful." Studies in American Fiction 25:1 (Spring 1996).


"'To bring all loves home': An Interview with Jamie O'Neill." New Hibernia Review 11:2 (Summer 2007): 66-78.


Arnold Rampersad’s Ralph Ellison: A Biography, in South Atlantic Review, forthcoming 2007/2008.

George Cinclair Gibson’s Wake Rites: The Ancient Irish Rituals of Finnegans Wake, in South Atlantic Review, forthcoming 2007.

Andrea O’Reilly’s Toni Morrison and Motherhood: A Politics of the Heart in South Atlantic Review, forthcoming 2007.

Edna O’Brien’s The Light of Evening, in The Irish Literary Supplement, 27:1 (28): Fall 2007.

Seamus Heaney’s District and Circle in Shenandoah, 56:3 (Winter 2007): 177-182.

Brett Bourbon’s Finding a Replacement for the Soul: Mind and Meaning in Literature and Philosophy in James Joyce Quarterly, 42/43: 1-4 (Fall 2004/Summer 2006): 376-380.

“A Theatrics of Protest”: Book review of Lucy McDiarmid’s The Irish Art of Controversy in The Irish Literary Supplement 25:1 (Fall 2005): 13-14.

Ben Howard’s The Dark Pool, in Shenandoah 55:1 (Spring/Summer 2005): 198-201.

im McWilliams’s Passing the Three Gates: Interviews with Charles Johnson in African-American Review 39:3 (Fall 2005): 481-483.

Charles Johnson’s Dr. King’s Refrigerator and Other Bedtime Stories in Shenandoah 55:2 (Fall 2005): 157-160.

Toni Morrison’s Love in Shenandoah 54:1 (Spring/Summer 2004): 186-189.

Evelyn Schreiber’s Subversive Voices: Eroticizing the Other in William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, in South Atlantic Review 68:1 (Winter 2003): 87-91.

Cyrus R.K. Patell’s Negative Liberties: Morrison, Pynchon, and the Problem of Liberal Ideology, in South Atlantic Review 67:4 (Fall 2002): 87-91.

Web Publications

Searchable database for Irish literary studies at Washington and Lee University [electronic resource] (Lexington, VA) : Washington and Lee University, c2003:

The Context and Development of Irish Literature: History, Poetry, Landscape [electronic resource] (Lexington, VA): Washington & Lee University, c2006: (A web-based, multi-media, interactive Introduction to Irish History.)

Work In Progress

The New Territory:  Ralph Ellison and the Twenty-First Century, Co-editor with Lucas Morel.

 The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison, co-edited with John Callahan, in progress.

Related Links