John L. Murphy PhD

John L. Murphy, Ph.D. coordinates the Humanities sequence at DeVry University’s Long Beach, California, campus.

He earned his UCLA Ph.D. in English literature. His many interests include Irish language reception by English-language culture; Irish republicanism in literature; traditional Irish and contemporary rock music; and the presentation of otherworldly, liminal states in medieval and modern literature.

Dr. Murphy has been widely published in scholarly reference works, in literary studies, and on websites. He reviews books and music over a broad range of topics in print and online.

His current research into two areas, Samuel Beckett’s purgatorial ideas, and the invention of the concept of ”Celtic Buddhism,” typifies his eclectic direction, documented at Blogtrotter at http://fionnchu.blogspot.com.

Book Reviews by John L. Murphy PhD

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“His genial, heartfelt, but blunt tone may shake up those long wearied by gentler inspirational tales.”

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“Dr. Samuel comprehends our current, eternal difficulty with our common fate, unimaginable for many of us, always inevitable.”

We lack an ability to cope with death.

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“Katherine Frank, nodding to her own ethnographic training, argues that seasoned initiates tend toward the banal.

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“As a popularization of recondite argument, God in Proof mingles accessible explanations with a reporter’s fresh outlook.”

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“Recommended for readers who prefer poetry and criticism to platitudes or self-help texts . . .”

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“One closes John Thavis’ perceptive study reflecting on the Vatican’s challenge: to persist in a secularizing world sometimes fascinated by the pomp and pageantry of St.

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“. . . will be welcomed by many capable of discerning wisdom within advanced argument—while undoubtedly opposed by certain powers that be.”

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“In these pages, we glimpse the thousands of beloved or fondly despised books which, distilled into allusions, memories, and anecdotes, enrich the author’s life and our own.”

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“. . . full of sly, scholarly challenges to the common wisdom peddled as dharma, karma, and nirvana.”

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“. . . will reward a patient, reflective reader.”

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“. . . a parable for modernized, globalized, restless identity.”

Beggar’s Feast, by its title alone, introduces a wry tone.

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“. . . [a] febrile but readable novel . . .”

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“John Kelly conveys an impressive study of the firsthand accounts, the government reports, and the secondary scholarship within a well-paced, judicious presentation of what too often has be

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“Robert Kanigel knits together a handsome pattern as he traces the inherent drama within the destinies on the page—and in recollection by themselves and others—of the Blasket Islanders.

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“In a history illustrating the importance of global ties for the Irish, its links to a European economy facing unprecedented challenges by its own unity serve as a cautionary tale: to be ca

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“Fourteen of the twenty people involved in these experiential accounts of WWI were in their twenties when the war broke out.

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“Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine scans rituals so venerable they lack inventors, and doctrines so fresh he watches them evolve in real time.”

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“Péter Nadás may infuriate readers accustomed to a Tolstoyan resolution of a series of interrelated stories and characters and times and settings.

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“. . . for a glimpse into James Joyce’s shadowed soul and his demanding mind as well as his labyrinthine texts, Ms.

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“Combined with brief but practical exercises for meditation and actualization, Mr.

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“This final episode in The Maeve Chronicles, for all its carefully recreated battle and bloodshed, lingers in the mind equally for its introspection and revelation.

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“Besides the deftly rendered plot to uncover a conspiracy—which may remind a few readers of another sexually adventurous girl who kicks over a hornet’s nest even if she lacks a dragon tatto

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“Coriander, curry, Chinese brothels, drug dens, butchers’ remnants, and brewery smells, tropical heat and Caribbean costume makes this a multicultural city in the west of a dystopian Irelan

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“For readers captivated by a masturbatory rapture turned into a corporate model so successful that it becomes law, part of an “amendment relating to Vending Machines and Workplace Stress Re

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“Cain inserts himself into the biblical narrative and wedges himself into these patriarchal stories to undermine their presumptions and prejudices.”

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“[Dr. Kornfield] addresses an audience impatient with platitudes, one that understands that the Buddhist path offers no shortcuts.

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“On Canaan’s Side’s climactic pages glow with wonder and terror.”

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“An astute, vigorous, and candid participant-observer who seeks to radicalize the conditions by which Arab men and women can find satisfying, secular, and sensible lives together.”

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“While the results may play out less for the requisite happy ending than a fictional adaptation might concoct, the truth of this situation so cloaked in deceit it teaches a sobering lesson

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“Secrecy endures as the ultimate legacy of this mysterious movement, then as now.

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“The book provides an academically oriented but clearly conveyed analysis of what earlier decades in the past century have judged right and wrong about Northern Irish women and their sexual

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“Friars’ Tales, intended for seminars on medieval religion and popular culture, may also benefit any reader eager to find out more about how men and women once may have conceived t

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Fernando Tejerina edits this first single-volume survey of the evolution and current state of institutions of higher learning.

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Bluntly, boldly, this book urges Buddhists to adapt its “radical teachings on forgiveness, compassion, and kindness.” Readers of Noah Levine’s streetwise memoir Dharma Punx (2004) will fin

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Returning to Budapest after three concentration camps, Imre Kertész wrote novels he knew would never be published under the Soviet regime.

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Fluently translated by Sherab Chödzin Kohn from the 2008 French original, this primer introduces meditation to the non-Buddhist.

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This treatise condenses profound teachings about the “middle way,” between idealism and materialism, as the philosophical grounding for the Buddhist balance.

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Expelled from Eden, wanderlust may have been one curse for Adam and Eve. In this survey of modern exiles, their yearning to go back to the Garden afflicts them with the same intensity.

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Jennifer Wright Knust, a professor of New Testament and early Christian studies at Boston University and an “American Baptist pastor,” recalls her own shaming as an adolescent for presumed sexual i

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This first of four volumes explores the replacement of chronological historiography with a more fluid, less rigid approach that investigates what is remembered from the Irish past.

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A century of endeavor by Irish missionary priests, brothers, and sisters ebbs away.

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Given 2,000 pages, 7 major texts, 32 dramatic pieces, plays, 30 poems, 3 early stories, an early story collection, 20 more stories to total 52, texts, novellas, 3 pieces of criticism: What can one

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This anthology compiles sayings of over two dozen lamas, past and present. Following the naturally emerging path into Buddhist practice, Reginald A.

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Many books endure by telling you about the Buddha, but this is one of the few telling you in his own words. Recorded by his followers, these discourses survived in the ancient Pali language.

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As an analyst and analysand, who since her unconventional childhood has meditated and studied Buddhism, Pilar Jennings brings her professional expertise and personal experience into this rewarding,

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Trungpa Rinpoche’s controversial “crazy wisdom” methods of cutting through “spiritual materialism” to penetrate the superficially captivated, shopping-mall mentality of his Western audiences with t

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Six thousand entries on language, folklore, history, and myth enliven these 800-odd pages, edited by Seán McMahon from Derry and Kerry-born, Dublin-based Jo O’Donoghue with additional editing by Ma

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These verses come from the earliest surviving Buddhist texts.

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Coverage of women’s contributions to the struggle for Irish independence early last century harps on two names: Maud Gonne and the Countess Constance de Markievicz.

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Editor of New Left Review, London-based Ali criticizes Barack Obama’s obedience to the same corporate and military powers that controlled previous American administrations.

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Can we strip a gilded statue or blow away incense?

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If there may be no God that we can prove or deny, why be good?

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(Oxford University Press, 2010)

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A leading Spanish postmodernist novelist paraphrases, summarizes, and cites James Joyce’s modernist “mistresspiece,” most-loved of all that Irishman’s works.

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Jason Siff advises “what to do when the instructions get in the way.” That is, for both beginning and experienced meditation students, he encourages practitioners to relax.

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Not long after the City of the Queen of the Angels was founded, its many newcomers and its few natives lamented its decline.

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Can Irish sexuality free itself from the criminal evidence, the violent expression, the caricatured reaction?

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This large format book is no coffee table artifact. A lively text by the Los Angeles Public Library’s map archivist, Glen Creason, along with an introduction by fellow native D. J.