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Murray McArthur

Associate Professor

Murray McArthur

PhD, Western Ontario
MA, Western Ontario
BA, Manitoba

Extension: 32759


I was born in Winnipeg in 1953 and was educated at Churchill High School and the University of Manitoba. After several years working (and skiing) throughout Western and Arctic Canada, I started graduate school at Concordia University in 1977 and completed my PhD at Western in 1985. I luckily started my PhD at the same time as Parisian theory and new textual approaches to Modernism arrived, and I happily combined both in my dissertation and first book, an influence study of William Blake and James Joyce (1988). I joined the faculty at Waterloo in 1986, and I have been Undergraduate Chair (1993-1996) and Chair (1996-2004) in this Department.  In 1993, I taught at the Université Canadienne en France in Nice, and I regularly attend Joyce conferences in Europe and North America.  I am married with two daughters. I am an avid gardener, traveler, and football and hockey fan.

Selected publications

Editor, with Shelley Hulan and Randy Allen Harris. Literature, Rhetoric and Values: Selected Proceedings of a Conference held at the University of Waterloo, 3-5 June 2011.  Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

"The Index Nothing Affirmeth: The Semiotic Formation of a Literary Mandate in Joyce’s 'The Sisters'." James Joyce Quarterly.

"Giacomo Joyce, Ezra Pound, Jacques Derrida, and the Image of the Artist." In Giacomo Joyce: Envoys of the Other.  Ed. Louis Armand, Clare Wallace. Bethesda, MD: Academica Press, 2002. 56-79; rpt. Prague: Charles University Press, 2006.

"The Origin of the Work of Art in Portrait V." In Images of Joyce, Volume Two. Ed. Clive Hart, C. George Sandalescu, Bonnie Kim Scott, Fritz Senn. London: Colin Smyth, 1998. 450-64.

"The Example of Joyce: Derrida Reading Joyce." James Joyce Quarterly 32.2 (1995), 227-41.

"Deciphering Eliot: 'Rhapsody on a Windy Night' and the Dialectic of the Cipher."  American Literature 66.3 (1994), 509-24. 

"Herman Rapaport, Heidegger and Derrida: Reflections on Time and Language.  Lincoln: U. of Nebraska Press, 1989."  Recherches sémiotiques/Semiotic Inquiry. 12.1-2 (1992), 275-282.

Stolen Writings: Blake's Milton, Joyce's Ulysses, and the Nature of Influence. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1988.

"Rose of Castille/Rows of Cast Steel: Figural Parallelism in Ulysses." James Joyce Quarterly 24.4 (1987), 411-22.

"'Signs on a White Field': Semiotics and Forgery in the 'Proteus' Chapter of Ulysses." ELH 53.3 (1986), 633-52.

Current research

My most recent research has combined cultural, psychoanalytic, and genetic studies to explore the origins of what Slavoj Zizek has called the “mandate” of any individual literary or artistic career. I have been interested in how the cultural and medical context of the early Modernist period contributed to the beginnings of the careers of two writers in particular, James Joyce and T. S. Eliot. In my most recent conference and print research, I have compared how both writers were irresistibly drawn at the age of twenty-two to Paris and its culture of hysteria and how the symptomatology of hysteria contributed to the creation of their mandates in their first texts. My current research plans are to complete these studies on the origin of a mandate and bring the results to bear on the major texts of those mandates, Ulysses and The Waste Land, both published in 1922. I am especially interested in re-exploring Ulysses through the textual intersections of its perpetually renewable and multiple mandates.

University of Waterloo

Profiles by type

Youtube video featuring Murray McArther on James Joyce's Ulysses

Murray McArthur

Two Lecturer Positions in Writing Studies

The Department of English is inviting applications for positions in Writing Studies at the rank of Lecturer.

For more information, please see the news item here.