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Martin Griffin UTK English

Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin

Associate Professor

217 McClung Tower
Phone: (865) 974-7166
Fax: (865) 974-6926


Working in the broad field of American literature and culture, my main interest is the relationship of the literary arts to political ideas and action, both historical and contemporary. My first book Ashes of the Mind explores the role of memory and commemoration for Northern writers in the decades after the Civil War. Since then, I have written on a range of topics, including how narrative dynamics shape debates on cultural policy and cultural diplomacy, the meaning of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s elegy for FDR, and how an American account of the Iraqi coup of 1958 emerges in both fiction and official documentation. My latest book project is a study of connections between modern political ideas and espionage fiction. My regular teaching includes American Fiction to 1900, American Realism and Naturalism, and Introduction to Fiction. I have also taught undergraduate and graduate courses on themes such as World War II in history and memory, American Literature and World War I, and the expatriate voice in American fiction.


  • Ph.D.  University of California, Los Angeles
  • MA  University College Dublin
  • BA  University College Dublin



Articles and Essays

  • Homeland and American Poetry” in When American TV Became American Literature, Brill, forthcoming in 2022.
  • “Officers and Men,” in Herman Melville in Context, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • “Dave Burrell’s Baghdad Blues: Fiction, Race, and History in 1950s Iraq,” in Stories of Nation: Fictions, Politics, and the American Experience.  The University of Tennessee Press, 2017.
  • “Cassandra, Bartleby, and the Direction of Time: Some Thoughts on Unknowability,” in A Passion for Getting It Right:  Essays and Appreciations in Honor of Michael J. Colacurcio’s 50 Years of Teaching.  New York: Peter Lang, 2016.
  • “How Whitman Remembered Lincoln,” New York Times Disunion series, May 4, 2015.  Online.
  • “’Not a mask of power’:  Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eamon de Valera, and the Oblique Light of a Poetic Elegy,” Nordic Irish Studies 12 (2013), 13-24.
  • “Crisis of Authority/Authoring Crisis: Decision and Power in Torchwood: Children of Earth” (with Rosanne Welch), in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television.  London:  I.B. Tauris, 2013: 104-119.
  • Review of War Stories:  Suffering and Sacrifice in the Civil War North, by Frances M. Clarke, Nineteenth-Century Literature 66:4 (2012), 548-51.
  • “Narrative, Culture, and Diplomacy.”  The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 38:4 (Winter 2009), 258-69.
  • “Underneath a Sky of Blue” (Review essay).  Soundings 91:1-2 (Spring/Summer 2008), 189-99.
  • “Emerson’s Crossing:  English Traits and the Politics of ‘Politics’,” Modern Intellectual History 5:2 (August 2008), 251-78.
  • “The Moonlit Road.”  A Literary Brief.  The Ambrose Bierce Journal 2.1 (Fall 2006).
  • “The Road from Memorial Hall:  Future Imperfect in The Bostonians.”  Prospects:  An Annual of American Cultural Studies 29 (2004), 251-88.
  • “The New South”; “World War I.”  In American History through Literature, 1870-1920.  Edited by Tom Quirk and Gary Scharnhorst.  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005:  770-3; 1218-24.