Professor Peter Murphy to Deliver Talk

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., March 8, 2021—Peter Murphy, Williams College professor of English, emeritus, will deliver a talk titled, “In Conversation with Peter Murphy: The Long Public Life of a Short Private Poem: Reading and Remembering Thomas Wyatt.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Wednesday, March 10th, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. via the Zoom link:

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For 35 years, Peter Murphy has been a teacher, Dean of the College, and Dean of the Faculty at Williams College. He has written widely on some of the big questions in Romanticism and 18th century British literature, and has, more recently, taught a course on comic books and graphic storytelling. He retired from Williams College last July.

Thomas Wyatt’s lyric “They Flee From Me” is one of the best-loved poems in English. Appearing first in a handwritten notebook in 1535, the poem was largely neglected for centuries. Today it is in every poetry anthology. Murphy explores the accidents that kept the poem alive across 500 turbulent years. From the deadly, fascinating circles of Henry VIII’s court to the contemporary classroom, The Long Public Life of a Short Private Poem explores the cultural politics involved in establishing Wyatt’s lyric as a model of the “best” English literature has to offer.

The event is sponsored by The Class of 1960 Scholars and the English Department.