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Writing War, Writing Internment - Interrogating the Creative Outputs of People Experiencing Life in Closed Settings - SACI0001

School of Arts and Creative Industries

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Prof A Schwan , Dr A Frayn Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the systematisation of wartime internment in an unprecedented manner. In the case of the First World War, for example, civilian internment became long-term – a matter of years, rather than days or weeks. Internees consequently worked to create communities for themselves, and communicated with the outside world as far as possible. Wartime journals were often produced by idiosyncratic and unlikely groups thrown together by geographical circumstances; these frequently circulated widely, even globally.

This project seeks to interrogate the creative outputs produced by those experiencing life in closed settings, from civilian internment to prisoner of war camps and war hospitals. The project focusses specifically on wartime periodical production, although the precise shape and angle of the topic will be agreed depending on the candidate’s interests and expertise (including language competency).

There is particular local expertise in the journal of the Stobs Camp (Stobsiade) in the Scottish Borders near Hawick, as a result of a recent Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project; Edinburgh Napier University also owns the Craiglockhart buildings, famous for the meeting of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, and their publication in the Hydra. This project might think about:

- The composition, authorship and production of wartime journals
- The relationship between wartime journals produced in different but comparable sets of circumstances such as Stobsiade (civilian and prisoner of war internment), the Hydra (hospital) and the Wipers Times (military service, trenches)
- The content of such journals in literary, historical and/or sociological terms
- Transhistorical commonalities between wartime journals
- Transcultural commonalities and questions of national identity in such texts (there is scope for comparative analyses, depending on the candidate’s linguistic competencies)

The successful applicant will benefit from expertise in the School of Arts and Creative Industries and work with the two supervisors linked to this project who both have research interests and expertise in related areas: Dr Anne Schwan has published on the literature of imprisonment, including the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. She is the author of Convict Voices: Women, Class, and Writing about Prison in Nineteenth-Century England (2014) and other publications, including a forthcoming article on gender, irony and humour in the German prisoner of war camp newspaper Stobsiade. Dr Andrew Frayn has published on First World War prose and modernism. He is the author of Writing Disenchantment: British First World War Prose, 1914-30 (2014) and a number of related articles.

Applications from students wishing to study part-time are welcomed.

Academic qualifications:

A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in English Studies or a cognate discipline with a good fundamental knowledge of literature and history at the turn of the twentieth century (c 1870-1920).

English language requirement:

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:

• Experience of fundamental studies in literature and culture
• Competent in textual analysis
• Knowledge of the literary, cultural and historical contexts of the period in question
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
• Good time management

Desirable attributes:

Additional knowledge of German or French would be beneficial but is not a requirement.

When applying for this position please quote project code SACI0001

Funding Notes

Self-funded students only.


Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker (eds), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines, 3 vols (Oxford University Press, 2009-13)
Gilly Carr and Harold Mytum (eds), Cultural Heritage and Prisoners of War: Creativity Behind Barbed Wire (Routledge, 2012)
Mary Dudziak, War-Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Kate McLoughlin, Authoring War: The Literary Representation of War from the Iliad to Iraq (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
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