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Writing, Editing and Mediating

Student Dissertations & Staff Expertise

English Department Research
English Department Research

Research in the Department covers all areas of English literature and linguistics. Our particular strengths lie in modernism, premodern culture, and language development, and we publish widely on such topics as critical theory, visual culture, travel literature, women's writing, medieval learning, or language acquisition and loss. Our staff members run or participate in a number of international research projects, including the Language Attrition project and the Hakluyt Editorial Project.

Dissertations in the Writing, Editing and Mediating track should reflect the nature of the WEM courses. Possible topics include:

  • the function of literary works in their social contexts;
  • an edition of a text;
  • theoretical reflection on an aspect of the history of the methods used in writing, editing, translating and mediating texts;
  • an examination of the ways in which literary texts are mediated to a particular social group or groups (e.g. reading groups, book-reviews, school syllabi, censorship);
  • any aspect of Book History;
  • institutions and practices associated with literary texts (e.g. libraries, copyright, literary prizes);
  • ways of disseminating texts involving historical or modern technologies (e.g. internet platforms, e-books).

Dissertations may be supervised by any appropriate member of staff. The following list indicates some of the areas in which dissertations can be written.

Dr Kees Dekker: textual editing; manuscript studies; Old English literature and language; Middle English literature and language.

Dr John Flood: Renaissance/Early-Modern literature; Romantic and Victorian literature; Christianity and literature; modern Irish literature; science-fiction; J.R.R. Tolkien; literature and war (especially World War I); twentieth-century British, Irish and American poetry; history of the book; textual editing; philosophy and literature.

Dr Corey Gibson: Marxist literary theory; working-class literature; political ideology and literature; the vernacular; modernism; fairy tales; ballads and folklore; prison literature; postmodern literatures; conceptions of authorship; the historical novel; nationalism and literature; Cold War literature; Scottish literature (eighteenth century to the present).

Dr Ann Hoag: women’s writing; travel literature; contemporary American fiction; modernism.

Dr Hans Jansen: translation; textual correction and editing; Shakespeare, English drama.

Prof. Richard Lansdown: Nineteenth-century English Literature, Romanticism, Lord Byron, Jane Austen, William Wordsworth, John Ruskin, Western Ideas of the Pacific, Literary Criticism and Theory, History of Ideas.

Dr Tekla Mecsnober: typography; modernist writing (especially James Joyce, modernist magazines and experiments with language); eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British fiction; Gerard Manley Hopkins; Victorian poetry.

Dr Karin Olsen: Anglo-Saxon literature and culture; comparative studies in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and early Irish literature and culture; Middle English literature. 

Prof. Sebastian Sobecki: textual and manuscript studies; digital humanities; Middle English and early Tudor literature; law, politics, and multilingualism; maritime literature.

Dr Irene Visser: postcolonial literature and theory; American literature; contemporary literature; young adult fiction; dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction; trauma theory and trauma fiction; post-9/11 literature; Maori Literature; Chicano Literature; South African literature; William Faulkner.

Dr Kees de Vries: literary theory; nineteenth-century literature; Oscar Wilde; humour and literature; music and literature.

Here are some sample topics of WEM dissertations recently supervised in the English Department.

  • Covering Arthurian Novels: Cover Design as an Integral Part of Book Marketing.
  • Tolerance as Cultural Difference: Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam.
  • Chicanas Write Back: Gender and Homosexuality in Gloria Anzaldúa, Estela Portillo Trambley, and Ana Castillo
  • Constructing and Deconstructing Paradise: Robinsonades and British Imperialism.
  • Victorian and Contemporary Criminality in Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Narratives and BBC’s Sherlock.
  • The Fall of the Romish Church: An Edition of a Reformist Pamphlet.
  • An edition of The Diary of John Lewis: Thoughts of an 18th-Century Minister.
  • A Semi-Diplomatic Edition of Jane Anger Her Protection for Women.
  • From Chest to Window: The Literary Digital Archive and its Mediations.
  • Entertaining Educational Ideals: Children’s Adaptations of Robinson Crusoe and Don Quixote in Eighteenth-Century England.
  • The Agenda of Early AIDS Theatre: As Is and The Normal Heart as Works of Authoritarian Fiction.
  • Recently Built and Remodelled Public Libraries: The Design of Today’s Public Library Buildings.

For general information about the research in the department see the Research Page and the People page of the Department of English Language and Culture.

  • Testimonial van Master Ambassador Becky Evans

    Being one of the only Masters programs that specialised in publishing, while offering such flexibility, the decision to enrol at the University of Groningen was an easy one

    I chose this programme because it provides students with the knowledge and skills required for working as editors and publishers, and combines this practicality with academia maintaining familiarity with literary texts. The interdisciplinary courses, which aid in broadening students' knowledge over a range of different fields, help to strengthen research skills in preparation for writing the thesis. Being one of the only Masters programs that specialised in publishing, while offering such flexibility, the decision to enrol at the University of Groningen was an easy one.

    After nine months of living here, I have certainly fallen for this charming city for so many reasons: a vibrant and communal student life; plenty of social-and-literary-related events; a famously vibrant nightlife with an array of lively (but cheap) cafes and bars; fun social events arranged by ESN where you can meet international students; beautiful parks to relax during the spring summer days; cheap membership at the student fitness centre; every place is accessible by bicycle; and (for the international students) fifty hours of free Dutch classes!

    – Master Ambassador Becky Evans
  • Testimonial van

    It's the combination of academic and practical perspectives that helps you prepare for a job.

    People used to ask me whether I wanted to become a teacher or a translator when I told them I studied English. “Neither,” was my response. I studied English because I wanted to become an editor, which is why the Master's track in Writing, Editing and Mediating was the logical next step.

    Right after graduation, two freelance opportunities came my way, so I decided to register my own freelance editing business, EditUp. As a freelance editor, I offer writing, editing and translation services in Dutch and English for both digital and print media. Clients include Noordhoff Uitgevers, Audi and SEAT.

    Considering the unpredictable nature of being a freelance editor, I also had a part-time job as a content editor at Oberst BV. After a year, I decided to hand in my notice to embark on a new adventure. I now work as a desk editor at SVH, developing educational books and tools for the hospitality industry. I also continue my freelance services for one day a week.

    The skills and knowledge I’ve acquired during my MA have proven incredibly useful. Even though I was taught in English, I am still able to transfer these skills to the Dutch language. I learnt how to think about language, how to think as an editor, and how to justify all my editing decisions. This practical approach is what I think makes this programme so valuable, even more so when you take the opportunity to do an internship. It’s this combination of academic and practical perspectives that helps you prepare for a job. In my view, this is the strength of the Master's track in Writing, Editing and Mediating.

  • Testimonial van Katrin Kugler

    In fact, this master track made me realise what potential I have and the University of Groningen itself is an amazing university with which I can really identify myself. I am proud and very glad to be studying here.

    My name is Katrin Kugler, I’m 22 years old and come from Munich, Germany. This is where I did my bachelor in English studies. I now chose to study the MA in Writing, Editing and Mediating at the University of Groningen, because I wanted to specialise more in the field of creative writing and the process of producing literature. The WEM master track here is the perfect opportunity to do so because it offers a good range of fascinating seminars. Although the workload is sometimes more than I had expected, I enjoy the courses a lot and all of them are taught by excellent lecturers.

    Inspiring, Challenging, Creative

    Of course, this master track requires me to do a lot of self-study but at the same time, it allows me to develop and extend my knowledge and also to interact with other students during group assignments too. In general, Groningen is a vibrant student-city. Studying the WEM master at the University of Groningen was the best decision I could have made and I can only recommend it. If I had to summarize the WEM master in three words, I would say it is inspiring, challenging and creative. In fact, this master track made me realise what potential I have and the University of Groningen itself is an amazing university with which I can really identify myself. I am proud and very glad to be studying here.

    – Katrin Kugler
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