The research project, led by Dr Brigid Haines of Swansea University’s Centre for Contemporary German Culture, centres on the work of the 2009 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Herta Müller, who was Writer-in-Residence in Swansea in 1996. An ethnic German from Romania who migrated to Germany in 1987 as a result of political persecution, Müller is a major European writer whose unique vision of the world and distinctive style have brought forth comparisons with W. G. Sebald and Franz Kafka. Her novels, such as Traveling on one Leg (1989), The Land of Green Plums (1994) and The Hunger Angel (2009), written in German and thematising, often from an autobiographical base, the terrifying experience of dictatorship in Ceausescu’s Romania, are currently being translated into many languages worldwide and finding new readerships, particularly in the far East. Müller’s works, it seems, exceed national boundaries and defy classification. They speak to a global audience attuned to political oppression and its lasting effects. They treat the key contemporary themes of trauma, migration, exile, and memory. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring and in the light of ongoing abuses of human rights in such places as North Korea and China, in defense of whose dissidents Müller is vocal, her works have never been more relevant or this project more timely.
The PhD candidate will investigate one of the following areas:
- the global translation of Müller’s works;
- Müller’s representation of twentieth and twenty first century Romanian, German and European history;
- the linguistic and literary origins of her style;
- gender politics in Müller’s works;
- Müller’s worldwide reputation in comparison to other Nobel Prize-winning authors.
For further details see:
Closing date for applications is 30 April 2012. Informal enquries to Brigid Haines at b.haines at swan.ac.uk