Kelly Marsh

Kelly Marsh


  • Graduate Faculty


  • Professor



  • 2504 Lee Hall


  • Ph.D. 1997 The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.A. 1993 The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A. 1990 Dartmouth College

Teaching Interests

  • Contemporary literature
  • the British and Irish novel since 1900
  • women and literature
  • narrative theory

Kelly Marsh teaches courses on British and Irish literature since 1900, contemporary literature, women’s literature, and narrative theory.  She is a Faculty Associate with MSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and the winner of the 2016 Grisham Master Teacher Award. 

Her recent book, The Submerged Plot and the Mother’s Pleasure from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy, combines feminist and rhetorical narratological approaches to explore how the unnarratable story of the mother’s pleasure can be communicated in fiction through a submerged plot in which the motherless daughter seeks validation for her own pleasure in her mother’s story.  The submerged plot becomes accessible through the reconfiguring of the narrative progression, as illustrated in new readings of Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Bleak House, The Woman in White, The House of Mirth, The Last September, The Color Purple, A Thousand Acres, Bastard Out of Carolina, Talking to the Dead, and The God of Small Things.  Dr. Marsh has also published articles on the works of Roddy Doyle, Marina Carr, Helen Fielding, Mary McCarthy, Truman Capote, and others.



  • The Submerged Plot and the Mother’s Pleasure from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy.  Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series.  Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2016. Paperback edition, 2018.


  • “Dual Narrative Dynamics and the Critique of Privilege.”  Style 55.1 (2021): 42-47.
  • “Recovery in the Suspended Serials of Roddy Doyle.”  Narrative. 28.1 (2020): 1-20.
  • “Suspended Seriality and the Recovery of Bridget Jones.”  LIT: Literature Interpretation Theory. 30.4 (2019): 265-282.
  • Jane Eyre and the Pursuit of the Mother’s Pleasure.” Reprinted in the Fourth Norton Critical Edition of Jane Eyre, ed. Deborah Lutz (2016).  Originally published in South Atlantic Review 69.3/4 (2004): 81- 106.
  • “Empathy, Authority, and the Narrative Ethics of Truman Capote’s ‘La Côte Basque, 1965.’”  Journal of Narrative Theory.  43.2 (2013): 218-44.
  • “ ‘This posthumous life of mine’: Tragic Overliving in the Plays of Marina Carr.”  Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 30.1 (2011): 117-139.
  • “The Mother’s Unnarratable Pleasure and the Submerged Plot of Persuasion.” Narrative 17:1 (2009): 76-94.
  • “Dead Husbands and Other ‘Girls’ Stuff’: The Trifles in Legally Blonde.”  Literature/Film Quarterly 33:3 (2005): 201-205.
  • “Contextualizing Bridget Jones.”  College Literature 31.1 (2004): 52-72.
  • “Roddy Doyle’s ‘Bad Language’ and the Limits of Community.” Critique  45.2 (2004): 147-59.
  • “‘All my habits of mind’: Performance and Identity in the Novels of Mary McCarthy.” Studies in the Novel 34.3 (2002): 303-319.
  • “The Neo-Sensation Novel: A Contemporary Genre in the Victorian Tradition.” Philological Quarterly 74.1 (1995): 99-123.

The Submerged Plot and the Mother’s Pleasure from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy
The Submerged Plot and the Mother’s Pleasure from Jane Austen to Arundhati Roy


Professional Honors and Awards

  • John Grisham Master Teacher Award, 2016
  • Mississippi Humanities Council Humanities Teacher Award, 2006.
  • Outstanding Faculty Award.  Shackouls Honors College, MSU, 2005.
  • Winner of the South Atlantic Review Essay Prize, 2005.

Professional Service

  • Ad hoc referee PMLA, Modern Language Studies, American Review of Canadian Studies, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Irish Studies Review.
  • Co-organizer of the 2020 International Conference on Narrative.  March 5-8, 2020, at the Intercontinental Hotel in New Orleans.