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Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin

Martin Griffin

Associate Professor, Associate Head

415 McClung Tower
Phone: (865) 974-7166


Working in the broad field of American literature and culture, Martin Griffin’s main interest is the relationship of the literary arts to political ideas and action, both historical and contemporary. His 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, he has written on a range of topics, including the meaning of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s elegy for Franklin D. Roosevelt and how an American account of the Iraqi coup of 1958 emerges in both fiction and official documentation. His latest book project is a study of connections between political ideas and the espionage story, entitled Reading Espionage Fiction: Narrative, Conflict, and Commitment from WW1 to the Contemporary Era (forthcoming). He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including American Fiction to 1900, Introduction to Poetry, and Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Literature.


  • Ph.D.,  University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.A.,  University College Dublin
  • B.A.,  University College Dublin



  • Stories of Nation: Fictions, Politics, and the American Experience. Editor, with Christopher Hebert. University of Tennessee Press, 2017.
  • Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy: Once Upon a Time in a Globalized World. With Constance DeVereaux. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2013.
  • Ashes of the Mind:  War and Memory in Northern Literature, 1865-1900.  Amherst:  The University of Massachusetts Press, 2009.

Articles and Essays

  • Homeland and American Poetry” in When American TV Became American Literature, Brill, forthcoming in 2023.
  • “The Maugham Paradigm: Commitment, Conflict, and Nationality in Early Espionage Fiction.” Partial Answers 21:1 (forthcoming in 2023)
  • “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.