Dr. Brian Conniff

Professor of English

B.A., Rutgers University
M.A., University of Scranton
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame


Dr. Conniff is the author of The Lyric and Modern Poetry, a book on the relationship between "lyricism"--involving ideas of music and transcendence--and the work of several modern and contemporary poets. My articles have appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including American Literature, African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Twentienth-Century Literature, Religion and literature, Christianity and Literature, Logos, Catholic Education, Journal of Reading, and Review of Contemporary Fiction, as well as scholarly books on Robert Hayden, Truman Capote, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, W. H. Auden, Robert Creeley, adult literacy, prison writing, and literature and law. I am currently working on two long-term projects. The first explores the Catholic imagination in American literature and popular music, including a chapter that has recently been accepted for publication called "Everyday People: Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, and the Gospel Tradition." The second is a study of the liberal arts and contemporary education. It is a love story, likely to end in tragedy.

Dr. Conniff currently teaches the following courses:

ENLT 120 Intro. to Fiction

3 cr. (CL)

an exploration of the nature of prose fiction, its elements and techniques. The emphasis is critical rather than historical. The range of works and the specific selections may vary with the individual instructor.

ENLT 121 Intro. to Poetry

3 cr. (CL)

An exploration of the nature of poetry, its value, aims, and techniques. The emphasis will be critical rather than historical. The range of poems and the specific selections may vary with the individual instructor.

ENLT 128 The Prison and Literature

3 cr.(CL, D)

A study of literature in various genres including poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography, journalism, and music written in and/or about the American prison. We will consider how this writing depicts the experiences of prisoners and raises social and moral issues related to imprisonment, race, gender, economics, and criminal justice reform. 

ENLT 131X Living Magnificently

3 cr. (FYS, CL)

Examination of the uses of various literary genres including biography, fiction, poetry, and drama to raise questions about how we might live a good life, even a magnificent one. Drawing largely from the Jesuit tradition and the life of Ignatius Loyola, we will explore some of the ways that literature raises questions of discernment, identification, compassion, and vocation.

ENLT 140 English Inquiry

3 Cr. (CL)

An exploration of fiction, poetry, and drama. The approach is inductive; the aims are a greater understanding of literature, and an introduction to techniques of literary scholarship, theory, and research.

ENLT 367 Gerald Manley Hopkins, S.J.

3 cr. 

Study of the life and works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., the only priest-poet ever to be honored with a place in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner.

WRTG 107 Composition

3 cr. (FYW)

Students develop techniques for making effective contributions in writing to intellectual discussions, academically and in other cultural settings. Students are tasked with forming the strong foundation in critical reading, thinking, writing, researching,a nd reflecting necessary for expressing ideas in a variety of rhetorical situations.

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