David Thorburn


David Thorburn
MacVicar Faculty Fellow;
Director, MIT Communications Forum


David Thorburn received his A.B. degree from Princeton, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford and taught in the English Department at Yale for ten years before joining the MIT Literature faculty in 1976. He is the author of Conrad’s Romanticism and many essays and reviews on literary, cultural and media topics. He has edited collections of essays on romanticism and on John Updike as well as a widely used anthology of fiction, Initiation.

His course on American television was one of the first in the country to examine the medium in a humanistic context. Prof. Thorburn was the founder and for twelve years the Director of the Film and Media Studies Program and is a former Director of the Cultural Studies Project.

He is currently the director of the MIT Communications Forum which sponsors along with the Program in Comparative Media Studies a series of lectures, forums and Web-based activities comparing our current experience of changing media with earlier periods of cultural and technological transformation. In 2002, Prof. Thorburn was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow in recognition of his contributions to undergraduate education.

Read the Community Profile of David Thorburn on the website of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (SHASS).

Subjects taught the current academic year:

21L.702 Studies in Fiction: Joyce, Woolf and the Legacy of Modernism (Fall 2016)


Subjects taught in recent years:

21L.011 The Film Experience (Spring 2016)

21L.310 Bestsellers: Detective Stories -- cancelled (Fall 2015)

21L.325 Small Wonders: Masters of the Short Story (Begins Oct. 26) (Fall 2015)

21L.702 Studies in Fiction: Joyce, Woolf and the Legacy of Modernism (Fall 2016)

21L.706 Studies in Film: Hollywood Renaissance - American Film in the 1970s (Spring 2016)

David Thorburn
Buster Keaton: comedy and art.