Skip to main content


John P. McCombe

Professor; Director of the University Honors Program

Joint Appointment, Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: English; Academic Affairs and Learning Initiatives: University Honors Program


Email: John P. McCombe
Phone: 937-229-3697


  • Ph.D., English, The Ohio State University, 2000


Dr. McCombe is a Pittsburgh native and earned a B.S. degree at the University of Pittsburgh. His original undergraduate focus was chemistry, which prepared him for a brief career as an analytical chemist. While working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, he completed additional course work in literature and film, before enrolling as a graduate student in English at Pitt. Later, he completed a doctorate in British Literature at The Ohio State University. At UD, Dr. McCombe regularly teaches courses in British literature, film, and composition, as well as occasional special topics courses on Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson and The Beatles.

Faculty Perspective

"I had never visited UD prior to my on-campus interview, nor had I significant exposure to the Marianists or Catholic higher education. But now I'm unable to imagine working anywhere else: I love the campus community, and I'm particularly happy in a department in which I'm encouraged to pursue my diverse teaching and research interests."

Courses Taught

  • British Modernism
  • Survey of British Literature, 1800-Present
  • The New Hollywood: Film in the 1970s
  • Cool Britannia: Contemporary British Literature and Film
  • Film Theory
  • British Film
  • The Beatles in Literature and Film
  • Bob Dylan as Literature
  • Major British Authors: Shakespeare, Austen, Wilde, and Woolf
  • Hollywood in the Age of Anxiety, 1945-1963
  • Film Genres: Screwball Comedy and Film Noir
  • Shakespeare, Cinema, and Society
  • Berry Scholars First-Year English Seminar
  • Honors Freshman Writing Seminar
  • College Composition I (CORE Program)
  • College Composition II (CORE Program)

Research Interests

  • Modern British Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Music and Literature
  • Shakespeare

Selected Publications & Presentations


"'Getting Better All the Time’: A Multidisciplinary Exploration of Beatles Mythology." Teaching the Beatles to Undergraduates. Eds. Paul Jenkins and Hugh Jenkins. Oxford: Taylor & Francis. Forthcoming.

"Bob Dylan’s 'Westerns': Border Crossings and the Flight from 'the Domestic.'” Polyvocal Dylan. Eds. Joshua Toth and Nduka Otiono. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. Forthcoming.

“David Bowie and the Myth of the ‘Berlin Trilogy’: Tearing Down Musical Walls in the 1970s.” Journal of Popular Culture 50:5 (2017): 949-67.

“Losing the ‘Literature’ in ‘Bob Dylan as Literature.'” Professing Dylan. Ed. Frances Downing Hunter. Memphis: PhillipsMemphis, 2016.

“Authenticity, Artifice, Ideology: Heavy Metal Video and MTV’s ‘Second Launch,’ 1983-1985.” Metal Music Studies 2 (2016): 405-11.

“Hair Metal and Authenticity in the 21st-Century Heavy Metal Canon Wars.” Proceedings of the Modern Heavy Metal Conference, Aalto University, Helsinki, 2015.

“‘Common People’: Realism, Class Difference, and the Male Domestic Sphere in Nick Hornby’s Collision with Britpop.” Modern Fiction Studies 60:1 (2014): 165-84.

“‘Trying so hard to be like the big boys’: Elvis Costello Explores Male Aggression and Militarism in Armed Forces.” The Journal of Popular Culture 46:6 (2013): 1198-1216.

"The Stephen Dedalus Blues: Travel, Trains and a Blues Sensibility in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."  James Joyce Quarterly 48 (2011): 477-94.

"Minstrelsy, Masculinity, and 'Bob Dylan' as Text in I'm Not There."  POST SCRIPT: Essays in Film and the Humanities 30 (2011): 12-25.

"Not 'Only Sleeping': The Beatles and a Neo-Romantic Aesthetic of Indolence."  Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 44 (2011): 137-52.

"Henry James, Shakespeare's Biography, and the Question of National Identity in 'The Birthplace' and 'The Introduction to The Tempest.'"  The Henry James Review 31 (2010): 169-87.

"'A Complete Loser': Masculinity and its Discontents in Elvis Costello's My Aim is True and This Year's Model." Journal of Popular Music Studies 21 (2009): 192-212.

"'Oh I See...': The Birds and the Culmination of Hitchcock's Hyper-Romantic Vision." Cinema Journal 44 (2005): 64-80. Rpt. in A Hitchcock Reader. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 264-79.

"Cleopatra and Her Problems: T.S. Eliot and the Fetishization of Shakespeare's Queen of the Nile." Journal of Modern Literature 31 (2008): 23-38.

"Reinventing Bird: The Evolving Image of Charlie Parker on Screen." POST SCRIPT 25 (2005): 22-37.

"'Suiting the Action to the Word': The 1908 Clarendon Tempest and the Evolution of a Narrative Silent Shakespeare." Literature Film Quarterly 33 (2005): 142-55.

"'Eternal Jazz': Jazz Historiography and the Persistence of the Resurrection Myth." Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 36 (2004): 85-108.


"Automobility and the Album Art of Blue Note Records." American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association Conference, Indianapolis, IN, March 28-31, 2018.

“Bob Dylan’s 'Westerns,' Border Crossings, and The Flight from the Domestic.” American Literature Association, Boston, MA, May 25-28, 2017.

“Bowie the Berliner: An Immigrant Self-Fashions a New European Canon, 1976-78.” Modern Language Association International Symposium, Dusseldorf, Germany, June 23-25, 2016.

“Bob Dylan’s ‘Westerns,’ Border Crossings and Masculinity, 1972-76.” Film and History Conference, Madison, WI, Nov 4-8, 2015.

“Hair Metal and Authenticity in the Twenty-First Century Heavy Metal Canon Wars.” Modern Heavy Metal: Markets, Practices and Culture Conference. International Society for Metal Music Studies. Helsinki, Finland, June 8-12, 2015.

“From Escape to Alienation: Automobile Imagery in Bruce Springsteen Songs, 1975-1980.” American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association Conference. Chicago, IL, April 16-20, 2014.

“The Emergence of ‘Realist’ Metal Video on MTV, 1983-1985.” International Conference on Heavy Metal and Popular Culture. Bowling Green, OH, April 4-7, 2013.

"'Taking the seedcake back from his mouth': The Intertextual World of James Joyce and Kate Bush."  The Modern Language Association Convention. Boston, MA, January 3-6, 2013.

"Virginia Woolf in the Trailer Park: Isaac Brock, 'Nowhere,' WA and the Lonesome, Crowded West." The Modern Language Association Convention. Seattle, WA, January 6-9, 2012.

"Common People": Realism, Class Difference, and the Male Domestic Sphere in Nick Hornby's Collision With Britpop."  The Modern Language Association Convention. Los Angeles, CA, January 6-9, 2011.

"Keeping the Visionary Company: The Beatles and a Neo-Romantic Aesthetic of Indolence." Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900. Louisville, KY, February 18-20, 2010.

"Bob Dylan as a Literature/Film Text in I'm Not There." The 2009 Literature/Film Association Conference. Carlisle, PA, October 15-18, 2009.

"Henry James, Biographical Criticism, and the Question of National Identity in 'The Introduction to The Tempest.'" The Modern Language Association Convention. Chicago, IL, December 27-30, 2007.