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William Moebius

Languages, Literatures & Cultures

William Moebius

(413) 545-6716

Herter Hall

William Moebius, a native of Wisconsin, attended Lawrence University in Appleton, won a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in Classics at Columbia, and earned his Ph.D. Degree in Comparative Literature at SUNY Buffalo in 1970. He joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1967 and was the first junior faculty member appointed in Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst.

Moebius (May-be-us) has published a volume of his own poetry with Swallow Press, translations of ancient Greek poetry with Oxford/Penguin, of Greek tragedy with Bobbs-Merrill, contributed essays on word and image, children’s literature, the discipline of Comparative Literature, and on the relations of literature and music to volumes published by, among others, the Johns Hopkins Press, NYU Press, U of Texas Press, l’Harmattan in Paris as well as other publishers in England, France, Belgium, Canada and Germany, won a national award for the best essay on children’s literature, and has an essay in the Getty Archive now anthologized, translated into both Chinese and Spanish, and used by permission by the Open University in the UK. He has won two invitations to participate in week-long symposia at the International Center in Cerisy in Normandy, been an invited speaker in Leipzig, Paris, Stockholm, Louvain-la-Neuve, Winnipeg and Montréal, delivered keynote addresses for national meetings of scholars and administrators and served as a consultant for colleges, universities, and consortia in the Midwest and the South.

Moebius was for 18 years the resident musician of the Green Street Café in Northampton. He delivered his first solo piano recital at the age of 11 in the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. Earlier in his career at UMass Amherst Moebius also Chaired the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals for four years, the Dept. of Comparative Literature for 17 years, and served for four years as the Governor’s representative and Treasurer of the Amherst Redevelopment Authority.

Courses recently taught include “Myth, Folktale, and Children’s Literature” (Comp Lit 234) (offered every year for 38 years), a graduate seminar on “Word, Image, Book: Politics and Aesthetics” and a pro-seminar on “Comparative Literature: A Discipline and its Discontents.”

Research Areas

  • Word and image relations
  • Word and musical relations


  • “La paix bucolique et les calamités des nations: enquête sur l'usage de la pastorale classique à l'heure du sacrifice (1914-1918)," La Violence: Cahiers Électroniques de l'imaginaire, 2006.
  • “Aller ailleurs: vers un sujet civilisé dans quelques albums de jeunesse d’entre les deux guerres.” Structures et Pouvoirs des Imaginaires, Paris: l’Harmattan, 2007.

Courses Recently Taught

  • COMPLIT 234 Myth, Folktale, and Children’s Literature
  • COMPLIT Graduate Seminar Word, Image, Book: Politics & Aesthetics
  • COMPLIT Professional Seminar The Discipline and its Discontents