Kelly MacPhail

Photo of Kelly MacPhail
Professional Title
Assistant Professor & English Graduate Faculty

Dr. MacPhail's interdisciplinary background in literature, philosophy, religious studies, and environmental humanities are brought to bear in his teaching and research into humanity's complex ultimate questions. While his early research focused on Transatlantic literary modernism and its resignification of spirituality, his recent work has developed an ecocritical critique of the underlying assumptions of belief made apparent in modern and contemporary literature from the environmental movement. Other interests include poetics, cinema, ethics, and popular genres including Westerns, nautical literature, and detective fiction.


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, McGill University
PhD, English, Université de Montréal
STM, Theology, McGill University
BA, Liberal Studies, University of Waterloo

Courses Taught 

ENGL 1582: World Literatures
ENGL 1907: Introduction to Literature 
ENGL 2906: Methods of Literary Study
ENGL 3563: American Literature I: Beginnings to 1865
ENGL 4572: American Renaissance 
ENGL 4574: American Literature to 1914 
ENGL 8906: Critical Theory 
PHIL 1003: Ethics and Society
PHIL 1007: Philosophy and World Religions
PHIL 1008: Critical Thinking
PHIL 1021: Classical Mythology
WRIT 1120: College Writing 
WRIT 3100: Advanced Writing for Language and Literature

Selected Publications

"'This peculiar constitution of our nature': John Owen's Perception of Death, Ontology, and the Isangeloi." The Seventeenth Century Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, 2021, pp. 271-286, doi: 10.1080/0268117X.2020.1744184.

"'Scratched blood': The Erinyes and Anthony Mann's The Furies." Westerns and the Classical World, edited by Sue Matheson, McFarland P, 2021.   

"Trading Places—Trading Races: The Cross-Cultural Assimilation of Women in The Searchers (1956) and The Unforgiven (1960)." Women and Westerns, edited by Sue Matheson, U of Edinburgh P, 2020.  

"'The detachment of God': A Theopoetic Reading of Steinbeck's The Pearl.Critical Insights: John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Salem/Grey House, 2019, pp. 121-134.

"'A constant sacrament of praise': The Liturgy of the Imagination in Stevens' Harmonium." The Wallace Stevens Journal, vol. 42, no. 2, Fall 2018, pp. 227-250. doi: 10.1353/wsj.2018.0024

"'All Europe contributed': Joseph Conrad’s Experience and Representation of Exile." European Writers in Exile, edited by Jeff Birkenstein and Robert Hauhart, Lexington P. of Rowman & Littlefield, 2018, pp. 31-48. 

 "The Good Bounty Hunter: Steve McQueen in Wanted: Dead or Alive." A Fistful of Icons: Essays on Frontier Fixtures of the American Western, edited by Sue Matheson, McFarland Press, 2017, pp. 62-73.   

 "American Exiles and the Cross-Pollination of Modernist Poetry." American Writers in Exile, Critical Insights Series, edited by Jeff Birkenstein and Robert Hauhart, Salem Press, 2015, pp. 37-53. [Concerns T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and W.H. Auden]  

 "Domesticated Shadows: Progress, Permanence, and Change in Alice Munro's 'Working for a Living' and 'Boys and Girls.'" Revue Etudes Canadiennes/Canadian Studies, vol. 77, Dec. 2014, pp. 27-42,