Barbara Mather Cobb

Professor of English
Coordinator, Liberal Arts Major


"Analyzing a good poem is like taking apart—and putting back together—a complex machine. Every part is unique, and every part is integral: the diction, the syntax, the many kinds of figurative language, the sound devices, the rhythm, the meter, the very structure. When we see how a poem is constructed, and see and hear it at work, we recognize its beauty and artistry. That's exciting, and addictive. That's what makes poetry so very fun."



Barbara Mather Cobb

Dr. Cobb's giant compass, an homage to John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning."



Ph.D., English

Rutgers University


M.A., English

Rutgers University


B.A., English

Wellesley College


Highlighted Publications

"'To old Freetown, our common judgement-place': Commoners in Romeo Juliet." Journal of the Wooden O Symposium (Spring 2011).

"'Excribe'-ing, Esteem, and Estimation: Jonson as Window to the 'Soule of the Age.'" The CEA Critic 71.1 (2008): 1-11.

"'Suppose that you have seen the well-appointed king': Imagining Succession in the Henriad." Cahiers Elisabethains70 (2006): 33-8.

"Jonson's Conversations with William Drummond: A History." Ben Jonson Journal13.2 (2006): 29-42.

"Taking the Intimidation Out of Scansion: A Practical Approach." English Journal96.1 (2006): 56-61.

Courses Taught

Areas of Specialization

17th-Century Poetry and Drama

Continental Renaissance/Early Modern

Early Modern (Renaissance) British

Poetry and Poetics





Awards and Distinctions

Regents Teaching Award, Murray State University, 2012
Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society Love of Learning Award, 2010

Omicron Kappa Delta Advisor of the Year, Murray State University, 2010

Robert A. Miller Memorial Prize (best essay in a College English Association publication),

Summer Institute Fellowship, National Humanities Center, 2003

Leadership and Service

Associate Chair, Teacher Education 
  Murray Shakespeare Festival

  Shakespeare in the Schools
  Partnership Initiative

Coordinator, Academic Advising

Coordinator, Liberal Arts Major

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

College English Association
Midwest Modern Language Association
Modern Language Association
National Academic Advising Association
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
Regents Residential College
Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association
South Atlantic Modern Language Association

In the Media

At the WKMS studios, Dr. Cobb and Dr. Rusty Jones talk about some of the more interesting elements of Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night and John Webster's gripping tragedy The Duchess of Malfi in this segment called "Werewolves, Cross-Dressing and a Singing Fool."

Dr. Cobb discusses the 2011 Murray Shakespeare Festival on Roundabout U. Watch the interview here.

What is the most troubling subplot of As You Like It? What makes Barnardine such a pivotal character in Measure for Measure? What are the swounds, slids and snails of Hamlet? Select the titles to hear Dr. Cobb discuss these questions in "A Minute with Shakespeare" segments that aired on WKMS-FM, the region's affiliate of National Public Radio.


Dr. Barbara Mather Cobb
7B-15 Faculty Hall

Murray State University

Murray KY 42071-3341