Molly Murray

This professor has earned a CULPA gold nugget

Dec 2020

I really, really love Prof. Murray! Keep in mind that I do love reading and English, so maybe the review will be biased, but Prof. Murray makes the facilitated conversations about the class incredibly interesting. She's a very understanding professor—I did take this class during online covid times, and I know she adjusted the workload accordingly because of how stressful the world was. My understanding is that during a normal year there would be more essays and assignments, but I don't get the impression that it would be undoable. Essentially, she just is very supportive of the class thinking about the text, she wants us to share, she wants us to listen to one another. It's a great, great class. Even though we were taking the class on zoom, pretty much everyone had their videos every day. I think most of us were happy to participate!

Apr 2020

AMAZING! Our class became so close and we would always be making jokes about different characters. Prof. Murray is super engaging and loves her students to have discussions. Her class was always so fun and I always looked forward to it. I learned so much from Prof Murray but also from my classmates. She doesn't lecture, she really wants everyone to contribute - so if you want to sit in the corner and be quiet then you won't do well in this class. You have to be willing to speak up about your ideas but she fosters such an engaging environment that you will soon feel very comfortable talking. We also did weekly 'vibe checks.' Overall Prof Murray is great, tells stories about her son, brings snacks for us.

Nov 2018

If you have Professor Murray, you've been blessed by the SSOL gods. Don't switch out! I'm currently a sophomore. I was in her LitHum class last year, and just a few days ago I saw her walking and we talked. Soon after, I had a sudden epiphany to write this review. Yes, she's that good. Just being reminded of her would make you want to shower her "professoral abilities", as she likes to say, with rainbows of praise. You will probably not be bored during class. She's incredibly smooth with discussions, bringing up interesting topics or controversial questions regarding the text. She often allows students to reply to each other before moving on. While some professors try to engage as many people in a single conversation, Professor Murray allows two students to debate on a topic in a back-and-forth manner. This means that the conversations are very natural and seem to be more like a true discussion instead of just class participation points. Listening to these energetic conversations are also quite fun and engaging. She also helps build upon student ideas. Oftentimes, it's hard to get my idea across, but Professor Murray always reformulates it in a more cohesive way before throwing it back to the class. It's really helpful! It keeps the discussion clear and smooth. Though the LitHum course itself seems to be quite stressful for some people, Professor Murray makes it as stress-free as possible. She's super flexible with deadlines and stuff. I know classmates who have had their essays pushed back two weeks at no additional costs. She's super understanding and really considers her students' workload. Just talk to her and she'll understand that you have either six hour rehearsals, three tests, another essay, a midterm, or whatnot. I like her sense of humour, she occasionally brings thematic foods such as gummy snakes for the Oresteia (spoilers?), or spicy candies for Dante's Inferno. Her energy in class is contagious. You get the sense that she's a real person and not just a professor teaching LitHum because sometimes she rants about politics and the depressing state of the world and then tells you to be a better person despite it all. She sometimes go on wild tangents but we always get stuff done in the end. All in all, she's an amazing teacher. Couldn't ask for more.

Apr 2017

Note: She's usually on SSOL as Mary Pollard Murray, which confused me when I first searched for her on CULPA. I had Molly Murray for Lit Hum two years ago, and she went on sabbatical afterwards. My advice: if you're lucky enough to wind up in her class, DO NOT switch out. We were the only section in that year to not have a single student drop; in a mandatory class with students of all interests, everyone tailored their schedules to make sure they could stay with her. That should speak for itself, but I'll keep going anyway. She tends to get lost in tangents with the class, but it's a 2-hour course and we always got through the material just fine. So if that's somehow a drawback, it's a small one to consider. I wouldn't say she's a tough grader, but her feedback is honest and your grade will reflect it. But she's rooting for you. Otherwise, I think she ruined me for most future professors. She witty, cool, collected, speaks most languages that you'll encounter on the syllabus (and brings the original texts in those languages to reference as needed). She's extremely knowledgable but not in a way that keeps you from engaging. If you have an inkling of an idea, you can throw it out there and you'll probably get a "say more!" as she helps you build upon that idea. What's more, it's really touching to have a teacher that can take an interest in her students like she does. Especially if you have her for Lit Hum and she's a big part of your freshman experience. I also agree with a past review about her dress. It's hardly the most impressive thing about her, but it's a little heartbreaking that she dresses so well on top of everything else.

Apr 2012

This course was standard for one of Prof. Murray's lectures; an extremely engaging lecturer with handout in hand, Prof. Murray took us through the century (or, highlights therein) with a bottomless wealth of information and a snarky, endearing tone. The class also had a wealth of graduate students, which added a sense of depth to the course, and added to the air of specialization in the room. Prof. Murray was able to make the material relevant to those without a basic knowledge of the period, for which she should be commended.

Jan 2012

Prof. Murray presented organized lectures with an effective, affected tone that made a class of over one hundred feel like a class of thirty. Her lectures throughout the semester were comprehensive and connected. She was receptive to office hours and remembered names after one or two visits--again, an impressive feat in a class of this size. She is quickly responsive to emails, and very reasonable about her workload. After effusively offering extensions for the first paper and sixty members of the class took her up on it, she refused to tie extensions for the second paper. Not sure of our class disillusioned her from offering ever again, but it might be worth being cautious with that offer in the future.

Dec 2010

If you are a poetry or lit person this class is probably for you. If you are neither of these things, DO NOT take this class. The only part of this class that makes it an "Intro" is that it is a survey of 1000 years of poetry. Besides that, it is completely taught for lit majors and 'poetry people.' The professors are both lively and brilliant (especially Golston), but at the end of the day the class is an unbelievable drag. Murray's lectures are rushed and scattered, and she can be quite condescending if you visit her office hours. Golston is much better, but the lectures lack big picture ideas and spend too much time on historical background and abstract concepts. Too much time is spent reading into things that aren't in the text. Overall, very disappointing and a huge pain in the ass as a non-lit person.

Dec 2010

Professors Murray and Golston were both incredible. They are brilliant, passionate, and knowledgeable, and their lectures were both insightful and fascinating. They also worked really well as a team. It will be a great loss for the department if Columbia ever loses either of them. Prof. Murray is truly inspirational (and well dressed) and was always willing to recommend extra books and articles. My bookcase is now filled with books that she and Prof. Golston recommended. Besides their amazing lectures, though, Profs. Murray and Golston were also very available and friendly. They never hesitated to stay and chat about poetry after class and were very encouraging when I asked paper questions. As for the course, for anyone interested in poetry, what could be better? The readings were all amazing, and Profs. Murray and Golston interspersed them with insightful analysis and interesting anecdotes. Even though I had read many of the poets before, I learned a great deal from this class and really enjoyed tracing the progression of English poetic theory. We also had a guest lecture on hip-hop by Kalefa Sanneh and two poets read for the last class--both really wonderful things.

Aug 2009

A diffident and mediocre lecturer, but you weren’t really expecting more from CRCW, were you? Of course, the quality of a lecture is inversely proportionate to your requirement to be there, so you don’t have much choice. Her energy and enthusiasm are genuine enough but quickly fizzle into inarticulate apologies for her own, well, inarticulateness (Is this making sense? Do you guys get it? Am I doing OK?) And so on. These blandishments capture the timbre of the lecture much more accurately than her bursts of dynamism. She’s solid on the poetry and the drama, but for someone ‘famously averse’ to narrative fiction – novels in particular – she sure likes to talk about it. Molly is approachable and nice. If you’re taking CRCW your relationship with your seminar leader will be much more important for determining what you get out of the class (in terms of learning and grades), and I certainly wouldn’t recommend against taking the class on account of Molly’s lectures.

Jun 2009

I haven't yet received my grade for this class, but should Prof. Murray decide to give me a C I will cherish it as a wise and judicious decision from the most brilliant, most shiny golden nugget in all the English program. Yeah, she's that good. How good, you ask? LitHum walks a fine line between a very small lecture class, in which the professor talks at the students for two hours and the students never talk back, and a free-for-all seminar where students share their oddball interpretations and personal feelings about the text without any real academic grounding. While we tended to list a little in the direction of lecture, our section frequently achieved that perfect balance where Prof. Murray gave us plenty of enough of her own (brilliant) interpretation and analysis without talking too much, and we spent most of the class speaking intelligently amongst ourselves. She wasn't afraid to let people know when she disagreed with them, but she actively encouraged that kind of dissent, and it made for vastly better discussions. She came into most classes with thematically-appropriate snacks (think "Little Schoolboy" cookies for a discussion of the Symposium), and blew her entire discretionary budget on full meals at our end-of-semester review sessions. She also speaks Greek, Latin and French, which gets you most of the way through the LitHum syllabus, and she comes into class with source-languages texts to resolve any difficulties with translation. She is a tough (but fair) essay grader, happily crossing out sentences (and sometimes even parts of paragraphs) that she thinks are not well-defended or just don't belong in the paper, and she absolutely drenches every page in green ink with suggestions for strengthening and refinement. Every essay is additionally returned with a detailed letter explaining, in longhand, her broader thoughts about structure and content. My writing improved much more as a result of this class than it did of UW. You will strive mightily for your A paper, but when you get it, it will feel so, so sweet. But what makes this class, more than anything else, is her unbelievable passion for the material -- it's impossible not to pick up at least some of her overflowing enthusiasm. She is, like a certain refrigerator that appears late in the syllabus (with apologies to Woolf), endowed with heavenly bliss. She is fringed with joy. It rubs off. Congratulations -- you have a good year ahead of you.

May 2009

Prof. Murray is fabulous. Seriously. She's brilliant, passionate, and immaculately dressed - love the shoes. She will regale you with tales of her former lit hum classes, dorky English Department colleagues (always affectionately), experiences as a CC undergrad, and encounters with models. Her personality is wonderful and lightens class at times, but it's important to note that above all, she is intensely devoted to academia. She doesn't lecture the class on her individual views, but uses her power as professor to guide discussion, asking a question to elicit more student responses when there is a lull/no one did the reading. She also brings thematically appropriate foods to share with the class on a regular basis and makes a real effort to get to know everyone in the section! You're lucky if you're placed with her!

Jan 2009

Professor Murray, as she likes to be called, is a stud! This is a lady who knows her stuff well and has an uncanny ability to make it all seem interesting by relating it to the events taking place around us. She is not a harsh grader, but instead one who's a bit more tough in the beginning and then relaxes over time (IF you follow her advice, and trust that she'll know whether or not you're following it). At various points throughout the semester she'll bring in food and tie it to the readings . . . which was cool and yummy! You also have to do some postings on courseworks at a certain time before class, which can sometimes prove to be a pain because you forget to do so. Definitely take her class if you can!

May 2006

Prof. Murray is enthusiastic, energetic, and funny -- the material she teaches, though, can be dry and boring at times. Although I recommend the class, I do so with a warning label -- if you don't like lyric poetry, you'll hate the class. That should be obvious by the title of the course, but still. On the other hand, if you're into poetry, Murray is going to make you love it even more -- she's really an AMAZING professor. Though her paper topics are challenging, and the reading is too, it's really quite a rewarding class in the end. She will bring out all of the humor and dirt in Elizebethan poetry, which includes lots of random stuff that you'd never expect! Murray really knows her stuff inside and out, is very helpful and VERY fair. She opens the class to discussion often, but maintains a good balance with her lecturing. This is definitely the type of class that you have to go to -- even though she doesn't have an attendance policy.

May 2006

Great professor, great class. Professor Murray is wonderful--engaging, funny, and fair. Her knowledge of Greek and Latin really adds to class discussion, especially first semester. Just be wary once the class gets to know each other; at some point the jokes and stories can detract from the quality of the class. We weren't serious enough the first several weeks of second semester, and class discussion suffered. For the rest of the year, however, class discussions were always something to look forward to.

May 2006

Getting Professor Murray for Lit Hum is lucky. She's beyond knowledgeable about her field and is engaging in class exactly the way you want her to be. She asks all the right questions without leading anyone into a corner. Basically, she makes Lit Hum really enjoyable and also a real education in all the literary tradition the course is supposed to establish. As far as her manner with students, she's friendly but she makes it fairly clear that she is not your friend. Grading is fair though maybe a little tough in comparison to some of the grade inflation that goes on in other Lit Hum classes. Some Lit Hum teachers seem afraid to give anyone less than an A-, but Professor Murray isn't one of them. It isn't like you'll never crack a C+ or anything, but those obsessed with a professor who will give them A's regardless of their work might want to switch to someone more forgiving. Her comments are always constructive and she encourages you to come to office hours to discuss anything about the class.

May 2005

Professor Murray is the most scholarly, enthusiastic, fair, and sophisticated teacher youÂ’ll ever meet at Columbia. I cannot say enough good things about Professor Murray, and IÂ’m sure that all of her students would agree. Professor Murray is the ideal Lit Hum professor because she is able to balance teaching the big thematic points with the most interesting details of each work while tying every work on the syllabus together. Her comments are always insightful and interesting. She knows Greek, Latin, French, and a lot of Italian, which accounts for about 95% of the reading that you have to do for Lit Hum. She is always passionate about teaching the class even if she dislikes the text. But most importantly, she is able to engage everyone in interesting discussion every class, something which you wonÂ’t find in most professors. Professor Murray is also insanely nice in and outside of class. She always brought our class food and candy that had thematic relations. She is willing to meet and discuss things with you during her office hours. If you canÂ’t catch her then, itÂ’s easy to arrange another meeting with her at another time. Another plus, Professor MurrayÂ’s wardrobe is quintessential New York. She always wears a lot of black but kills it with the shoes. Trust me, if youÂ’re in a small class with the same professor for more than 4 hours a week, youÂ’re gonna care what she looks like. So all in all, if you have Professor Murray for Lit Hum, you are incredibly lucky. I am planning on taking every single class she has to offer while I am here. Just check out her fan club on facebook, and that should get you a good idea of how awesome she really is. She literally changed my life. I want to be as amazing a professor as she is when I'm out of school.

Mar 2005

{This course was co-taught with Michael Goldston} The Professors for this course were great- funny, knowledgable, entertaining and stimulating. However, be aware that the course itself is jam packed with a tremendous amount of material (all of which you must memorize for the final exam) and is marred by harsh TA's, which grade everything. I actually loved my TA as a person- but oh boy was she merciless when it came to grading the papers. I took the class for fun, because I love poetry and, lastly, because I thought it would be a booster for my GPA with a minimal amount of work required. I learned a lot from the class and ended up with an -A, but the grading, tons of material and lack of direction in terms of your prospective grade (70% of the grade was attributed to the final paper and finalexam, both of which were at the very end of the semester and left you with no idea about how your final grade would turn out) made it hell. I worked like a dog for that grade and studied more for that final exam than for some of Chem and Bio exams! Final synopsis- wonderful teachers, interesting material ( despite some of the more modern "poets" we covered, for which I feel ridiculous even calling them poets) tons of work and harsh grading by TA's- its your call.

Jan 2005

I ADORE Molly Murray, or Professor Murray as she likes to be called. I had to switch out of the class for the upcoming semester because of athletic practice conflicts, and I am depressed. She made each work we read come alive, she solicited acceptable participation from everyone in the class, and she made me love Lit Hum even more than I thought I would. She was extremely approachable and helpful during office hours, and she comes off in general as a truly nice, genuine, intelligent person. GET IN A CLASS OF PROFESSOR MURRAY'S IF YOU CAN!!!! YOU WON'T REGRET IT! P.S. At times she fondly reminds you of the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding with her references to the glory of the Greek language. Sigh.

Jan 2005

As the previous reviewer stated, Molly Murray is the SHIT! No, seriously. She is. Professor Murray is not only a very nice person, she was insanely knowledgeable and always enthusiastic. She is a very organized lecturer, and the progression of each lecture was very logical. Her lectures were also very fun and interesting. She kept things light-hearted by inserting funny comments and factoids. In addition, Professor Murray was always available outside of class and eager to help. She even offered to help me with things that didn't pertain to her class. All in all, you're very lucky if you have Professor Murray.

Dec 2004

WOW! Professor Murray is a wonderful teacher, she knows her stuff and takes time outside of class to talk about your papers and tests. She is also a character and class time is never boring! She is great! I would recomend any class by her.

May 2004

Molly Murray is my favorite teacher at Columbia. Not only is she incredibly erudite and brilliant, she is also passionate about her subject matter and about her students. And she's just really friendly and fun to talk to as well. Yes, it's her first year as a full-time teacher and she can be a bit scatterbrained at times, but you will not find another professor at this school who cares as much about teaching you weird non-canonical 16th and 17th century texts as she does. Take any class she teaches, even if you don't think you'll like the subject matter; by the end you will. And be very, very thankful if you get her for Lit Hum, I'm sure she's fantastic.

Jan 2004

Molly Murray is a great teacher. She's cool, she's smart, she's nice, her class is the best. If you get her for Lit Hum, you're lucky!

Jan 2004

Molly Murray is the SHIT. Can you say shit on Culpa? Well, I just did, cause she is. When I first walked into her class, I was a little anxious considering the fact that it was her first semester teaching Lit Hum, but this woman is honestly fabulous. She somehow manages to keep the class rigorous and thoughtful in content, but also fun and easy going in affect, as all Lit Hum classes should be. Professor Murray can simulatenously offer accurate ancient Greek translations of the Iliad while muttering how her copy of Herodotus flew off a motorcycle on her way to see Ray Liota at a restaurant being fondled by a group of trashy women. She's all you could ever ask for in a college professor -- both pedagogical (her favorite word) and sensitive to suggestion -- and you are mighty lucky if you end up in one of her classes. In conclusion, she's the shit, so enjoy her!

Nov 2003

Wonderful. Her lectures are thoroughly enjoyable: beautifully worded, and delivered breathlessly (which shows that she is doing her darndest to teach us everything she knows in the alloted time). Her only flaw is her insecurity, which i suppose is natural in new professors.

Nov 2003

Prof. Murray is a new addition to the Columbia English Department. Though her lectures are a little bit rushed, they are interesting and informative. Plus, she is a really sweet person and makes class enjoyable.

Nov 2003

This is her first year teaching at Columbia (2003-2004) and Murray definitely passes the test. She is funny, intelligent, and very cute. She's very passionate about the subject matter of this class, and her lectures are well-prepared and insightful, although a little hurried at times. She's very down-to-earth and approachable, and really interested in helping students. I recommend taking a class with her, especially if you're an english major. It's a great way to satisfy one of the pre-1800 requirements.