Murial Brittain Williams

Murial Brittain Williams was born May 19, 1923 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Alonzo Chesley and Miranda (Spencer) Brittain. Dr. Williams taught for nearly thirty years at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia, retiring in 1992. There, she was honored posthumously by a scholarship that was set up in her name: the Murial B. Williams Award for Excellence in Literary Studies. Dr. Williams had an enviable wit and a great sense of irony. She made literature come alive for her students: every poem, every brilliant passage in a story seemed more brilliant, more poignant, more ironic or humorous when read by Dr. Williams. Her courses were a challenge. Her classes were difficult, but rewarding.

Dr. Williams' specialty was 18th-century English literature. She was the author of Marriage: Fielding's Mirror of Morality, a critical work on 18th-century author, Henry Fielding, published by the University of Alabama Press in 1973.1, 2 Besides her book, she published at least two essays. "The Unmasking of Meaning: A Study of the Twins in Pudd'nhead Wilson" appeared in the Mississippi Quarterly in 1979. "Question of Censorship" appeared in the Atlanta Journal and, subsequently, in The Tuscaloosa News in 1967.3, 4

Williams attended the University of Alabama, where she received the Agnes Ellen Harris Graduate Scholarship for Women in 1958 and 1959. The scholarship is awarded based on academic achievement and merit. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional honorary Society of women educators. Dr. Williams attained her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. She received a grant for special studies from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). For post-doctoral work, she attended Duke University in North Carolina; Yale; Brown University; and the University of London.

Dr. Williams was a Christian of the deepest faith. She attended the Advent Lutheran Church in LaGrange, serving as president of the Church Council for a time. She died on Tuesday, June 1, 1999, at Saint Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia. The funeral was held on Thursday, June 3rd at the Advent Lutheran Church in LaGrange, Georgia. She was buried the following day at Tuscaloosa Memorial Park, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.