Student Dissertations & Staff Expertise
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.