Mary Joe Hughes - author of "The Move Beyond Form"Bio

Mary Joe Hughes

Retired Adjunct Professor of the Humanities at Boston College
A.B. Radcliffe College
Ph.D. Harvard University

Academic Profile

Mary Joe Hughes taught for thirty-five years at Boston College, where she was Assistant Director of the A & S Honors Program. Her teaching included various interdisciplinary courses in the humanities from 1500 to the present, incorporating literature, philosophy, theology, social thought and the visual arts.  She was an architect and subsequent director of the twentieth century courses in the humanities, titled Twentieth Century and the Tradition I and II.   Her research interests include contemporary art and literature, aesthetic philosophy, modern philosophy, and Virginia Woolf.  She won the first annual Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award in 1990 and more recently was asked to give a “Last Lecture” (see below) at Boston College, on any topic she would want to discuss as if it were a last lecture. She was also featured in an article on Master Teachers in the Boston College Magazine in 2011 and was honored to receive Boston College Student Newspaper’s Momentum Award in 2013.



The Move Beyond Form: Creative Undoing in Literature and the Arts Since 1960 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)


‘Buffer Zone’, Boston College Magazine, Vol 70 No. 1 (Winter, 2010).

‘Imagining the Postmodern Imagination’ in Paroles, texts et images: Formes et pouvoirs del’imaginaire, Collection Figura 19, (Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2008).

‘Voices of the Soul in Tan Dun’s The Map, The New Arcadia Review.org, Vol 3, 2005.

‘Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and Postmodern Artistic Re-Presentation’ Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 45:4 (June 2004).

The Plunge in Mrs. Dalloway and the Book to Come‘, New Arcadia Review.org, 1 (2003).

Revelations in the White Hotel‘, Critique: Studies in Modern Fiction, XXVII, No. 1 (Fall, 1985).

‘Child-rearing, and Social Expectations in Eighteenth-Century England: The Case of the Colliers of Hastings’, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, XIII, ed. O.


Boston College’s Last Lecture Series

In her Last Lecture, Mary Joe Hughes discusses thoughts prompted by the recent death of her husband. “Grief is a universal experience, and yet, it is intensely private,” she says. “What bridges that gap between the soul’s profound solitude on one hand and the human community on the other? That’s the question I want to explore.”