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Department of


Mary Quinn, PhD

Professor Emerita, English

Mary A. Quinn was a member of the faculty begininning in 1984. She was a Professor of English. In the English Department, Professor Quinn offered undergraduate courses on Romanticism, poetry and the visual arts, mindfulness in literature, and the short story. Her research focused on poetry and the visual arts. Professor Quinn served as director of the Honors Program and coordinator of the Writing Center.  She twice delivered the Freshman Convocation address. She received an Outstanding Preceptor Award in 2007.


Professor Quinn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Simmons College, a Masters in English also from Simmons College, Masters and Ph.D. degrees in English from UC Santa Barbara.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Professor Quinn’s research focused on ekphrastic poetry. Her book project was a resource volume on poetry and the visual arts. She also worked on a book “Mindful Moments in Poetry,” an exploration of manifestations of mindfulness--contemplative strategies, practices and resolutions--in American, British, and Continental literature. Both projects grew from her work in Romanticism, particularly Percy Bysshe Shelley and his circle. Her three volumes on Shelley’s notebooks in the Huntington Library (Garland Press) are part of the extensive project, The Manuscript of the Younger Romantics involving American, Canadian, British, Japanese, and South African scholars. She has also published work in The Keats-Shelley Journal and the Wordsworth Circle. Professor Quinn was a recipient of a University Professorship for her textual research with Shelley’s manuscript letters.

Teaching Interests

Professor Quinn taught a variety of courses at USD, including overviews of literature in English after 1800, introductory courses in poetry, the short story, and modern American literature. She  taught upper-division courses in British and Continental Romanticism, contemporary fiction, the novels of Toni Morrison, mindfulness in literature, and ekphrasis—poetry about art. In addition to teaching departmental classes, Professor Quinn participated in team-teaching projects for the Honors Program that focused on Romanticism in art, and Romanticism and the Enlightenment. Professor Quinn was a recipient of USD’s Davies Award for Faculty Achievement.