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Remembering Professor Mark Dunphy

Related: Mark Raymond Dunphy, 66, Adair Co., KY (1950-2016)

By Paul Thifault

"The late, great Professor Mark Dunphy of Lindsey Wilson College was known for his hilarious classroom antics and his encyclopedic knowledge of Moby-Dick. For those who never took a course with Mark, his clever manner of getting students to engage with classics of American literature is perfectly captured in Moby-Dick itself, when we learn how the character of Stubb was able to lead and motivate his crew to row and row with all their might into dangerous waters:

"Stubb…had rather a peculiar way of talking to them [the crew]…he would say the most terrific things to his crew, in a tone so strangely compounded of fun and fury, and the fury seemed so calculated merely as a spice to the fun, that no oarsman could hear such queer invocations without pulling for dear life, and yet pulling for the mere joke of the thing.

"Besides he all the time looked so easy and indolent himself, so loungingly managed his steering-oar, and so broadly gaped - open-mouthed at times - that the mere sight of such a yawning commander, by sheer force of contrast, acted like a charm upon the crew.

"Then again, Stubb was one of those odd sort of humorists, whose jollity is sometimes so curiously ambiguous, as to put all inferiors on their guard in the matter of obeying them.

"I hope, Mark, you’ll forgive the ellipses (but I did remember to hyphenate “Moby-Dick” this time)."

From former colleague of Professor Dunphy, Paul Thifault
Wed. Dec. 14, 2016

This story was posted on 2016-12-16 15:08:56
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