Perhaps on of the most fascinating modern-day writers, Jack Murnighan has many talents – quoting everything from Proust to David Foster Wallace among them. It’s no surprise Jack is proficient in such work, as he’s spent most of his life studying the literary greats. His latest work is co-authoring with Maura Kelly on Much Ado About Loving: What Our Favorite Novels Can Teach You About Date Expectations, Not So-Great Gatsbys, and Love in the Time of Internet Personals, published by Simon and Schuster imprint Free Press.
Born a Hoosier, raised a central-Illinoisan, Jack Murnighan used geography quotas to get in to Brown University, where he studied philosophy and semiotics and graduated in 1990.
The next two years were spent on and off in Paris, doing Orwellian lifestyle experiments and seeing what his identity would be if he spoke to no one and got no positive feedback. He wrote a lot of letters.
Penniless, he returned to the academy, joining Duke University’s Literature Program, where he would eventually earn a Ph.D. (in 1999) with a thesis on allegory and a specialization in Medieval and Renaissance literature.
While writing his dissertation, Murnighan started working as an editor and staff writer of Nerve.com, contributing, among other things, ,em>Jack’s Naughty Bits, a weekly column on sex in the history of literature, which was ultimately compiled into two books, The Naughty Bits and Classic Nasty.
In 2000 he left Nerve and began research for Beowulf on the Beach, reading or rereading all 15 of Dickens’ major novels, as well as most of the rest of the Western canon. He fancied himself a swashbuckling young rival of Harold Bloom, minus the readership or chair at Yale.
Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature’s 50 Greatest Hits was published in May of 2009. Now, for fun, Murnighan has turned to reading Dickens’ non-fiction.
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