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Current Research Students

Rhoslyn Beckwith (MA by Research, 2018- )
A “Stern in Wetterwolken for our Times? How Literary Interest in Queen Luise of Prussia since 1970 reflects Trends of Prussian nostalgia in Germany

This thesis examines how Queen Luise of Prussia (1776-1810) has been presented in biographical literature since 1970. During her lifetime Queen Luise was considered a “female celebrity” (Clark, 2007) and was renowned for pleading with Emperor Napoleon on behalf of Prussia, albeit unsuccessfully. The biographies published after her death idealised and mythologised the Queen’s life to such an extent that she became a role model for German women, the symbol of Prussia’s oppression under Napoleon and the justification for revenge against the French. While there has been some research into the way in which the Queen’s legend developed during the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, historians have claimed that after 1960 she fell from favour due to her association with the Nazi regime (she had been used as a form of propaganda) and her lack of relevance to modern women. I will challenge this claim and instead offer an analysis of the many Queen Luise books published from the 1970s onwards. I will argue that Queen Luise is enjoying a renaissance of interest and this can be seen as directly linked to the latest wave of nostalgia for Prussia currently occurring in Germany. In this way we can see that Queen Luise is still being used as a symbol and the justification for a more sympathetic approach to Germany’s controversial Prussian past.

Jeremy Points, MA by Research, part-time (2018-)
Günter Grass and Narrative 

I am interested in the way Günter Grass develops his fictional narratives.  All aspects of Grass’ narratives are distinctive - their narration, their structure as well as the narratives themselves.  His narratives are dominated by unabashed, direct and declamatory first-person narrators and narrative voices and, increasingly from Aus dem Tagebuch einer Schnecke onwards, they blend authorial, if not autobiographical, elements with fictionalised first-person narrators.  There is, in other words, a conscious avoidance of third-person narration with its implications of omniscience, realism and objectivity.  The perspectives both informing and conveyed by the narratives are thus relativised.