Timothy Parrish

Position Title
Professor of Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature

402 Sproul

Education and Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., University of Washington
  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • B.A., Trinity University


Parrish teaches courses on the history and theory of the novel, modernism and post-modernism, and Jewish identity since the Holocaust. He is the author of three books: Walking Blues: Making Americans from Emerson to Elvis (2001; 2nd edition, 2012), From the Civil War to the Apocalypse: History in Twentieth-Century American Fiction (2008), and Ralph Ellison and the Genius of America (2012). He edited both The Cambridge Companion to Philip Roth (2007) and The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists (2013). He has published numerous essays on a wide range of modern and contemporary writers. His recent creative work includes “Philip Roth’s Final Hours” (Raritan), a 2016 Pushcart Prize-nominated work of fiction and The Critic: a novella (Ploughshares solo, 2017). As a literature professor, he remembers always the dictum of novelist, Roberto Bolaño, who says “the truth is, reading is always more important than writing.” Recognizing that any list is most interesting for what it leaves out, some of the writers who often appear in his classes, not to mention his writings, include Bowen, Borges, Cervantes, Calvino, Diderot, Didion, Dostevsky, Ellison, Jelinek, Kafka, Kertész, Kundera, Lispector, O’Campo, García Marquez, Robert Musil, Nabokov, Ozick, Proust, Cynthia Ozick, Henry Roth, Sebald, and Spark. The winner of many teaching awards, he believes that reading is one of the most important acts of self-realization that we can pursue.