Diana Murphy

Unity College Professor Diana Murphy
Professor of Humanities
Phone Number 
Office Location 
Founders Hall South, Office 202
Curriculum Vitae 
Environmental Arts and Humanities

Academic Background

PhD, Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts
BA, Comparative Literature, Brown University

I was born in Scotland, raised in upstate New York, and have lived in California, Florida and (mostly) New England. My first experience in Maine was as a back-to-the-lander in the 1970s, which involved buying a few acres of scrubby woodlot and attempting to turn it into an organic farm. My former partner and I built our own cabin and barn, dug our own well, and lived “off the grid” before I even knew this phrase existed. After seven years, though, both of us longed for new adventures. We restored a classic 27-foot wooden sloop and, not content to sail around Maine, decided to head south for the Bahamas. This shakedown cruise ended the relationship, but I did learn a lot about sailing and acquired increased respect for the destructive power of nature.

I had always planned to get a college degree, but motive and opportunity never seemed to coincide until I had a bit of money from the sale of the farm. With typical impetuosity, I applied to Brown University and was accepted, much to everyone’s surprise, especially my own. In terms of scholarly development, I was able to combine a longheld passion for literature and languages into a Comparative Literature degree. After taking a course in medieval studies, I was hooked. This became my specialty at Brown and my area of expertise at the University of Massachusetts, where I earned my PhD. My book on popular culture and religious theater was published in 2006 and I have recently completed a translation of an encyclopedic poem by a fourteenth-century Italian astrologer whose views on the natural world were considered heretical. I have taught at Unity College since 1997 and find it to be a great fit for someone with my unusual background, shaped by nature and culture.