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What Our English Literature Postgraduate Research Students Say
I hold a BA in English Literature from Lancaster University and have now returned to the department to study part time for an MA in literary research. The range of research interests in the department and its reputation at post-graduate level are what drew me back to Lancaster. My thesis topic focuses on the ‘portal narrative’ form of young adult fantasy, considering why it is such a popular contemporary narrative form. I am interested in the liminal properties of the portal between worlds, making use of Lacanian and Freudian theories to understand the appeal of the borderland between fantasy and reality. My other research interests include picture books for very young readers and the influence of the gothic in literature for teens and children. My paper entitled ‘Neil Gaiman’s New Mother: How Coraline translates conservative Victorian Fantasy’ will be presented at the ‘Lost in Translation’ conference hosted by Leicester University’s School of English.
I completed my undergraduate degree at Bangor University back in 2000 and then took some time away from the academic world whilst my wife was studying. Her studies lead us to Lancaster and in 2003/2004 I carried out the MA in Shakespeare and Cultural Theory. My MA thesis was an investigation into Shakespeare’s representation of ghosts, particularly in connection to contemporary ideas of Purgatory and demonology. I began my Phd research in 2005 and have been working part-time since then. I have always found the department to be an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating place in which to carry out research, with helpful and friendly academic and administrative staff. I look after my toddler daughter alongside my research and the department has always been supportive in the pastoral issues that inevitably arise from juggling family and academic commitments.
I am originally from Pakistan and I obtained my MA in English Literature from International Islamic University, Islamabad. Pakistan. I am currently in the first year of my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Lindsey Moore. I chose Lancaster for my PhD because my supervisor is well respected in my chosen field. Moreover, the researchers particularly in the Department of English and Creative Writing are allowed to follow a much more flexible approach to their research than was previously thought possible.
Having completed my BA further afield, I returned to Lancaster, my hometown, in 2006 to study for my Research MA. From the off I found the Department of English and Creative Writing to be an incredibly friendly place in which to work, so much so that once I had finished my MA I applied to stay on and study for a Ph.D . One of the best things about the Department is that the administrative and academic staff are always happy to help out or just have a chat, however busy they are, which makes for a very open and welcoming environment. I have been given a great deal of support and advice throughout my time at Lancaster from many members of staff, but have also, importantly, had the freedom to shape and direct my own research...The archival focus of my research has taken me to various libraries in America during the past two years - including those of Princeton, Yale and Chicago - and I will be travelling to the University of Pennsylvania next year to conclude the archival research of my Ph.D. All in all I’m having a fabulous time as a Ph.D student at Lancaster and, having been made to feel like a member of the Departmental team, I am sure that any one joining the Department would experience the same sense of amiability and encouragement.
Lancaster is quickly becoming the place to be for anyone with a serious interest in the field of Gothic literature, cinema and culture. It is also one of the few places in the country where Contemporary Gothic is taught and researched, and with such renowned scholars in the field as Catherine Spooner or Fred Botting and at least another five knowledgeable PhD students working on similar projects, it is not hard to see why Lancaster University feels like home to me....The first thing that drew me to Lancaster was the sincere warmth and understanding with which such a ‘transgressive’ PhD proposal was received, and my supervisor has been an immense source of support for me. Since my first prospective e-mail I have discovered other things that have reassured me that this is indeed the right place to undertake my PhD. Some examples are the extensive library collection, or the very interesting postgraduate societies that I have joined and that keep me intellectually stimulated outside of my research. What I find extremely engaging about working in and for the English Department is that the barrier between ‘time to work’ and ‘time for leisure’ is extremely thin and that I am learning in more ways than one.'
I chose to take my M Phil/PhD at Lancaster on dual grounds, firstly because of the outstanding reputation of the English and Creative Writing Department and secondly because of wheelchair accessibility and a strong Student Support team. I commenced my M Phil/PhD the 07 under the supervision of Dr Tess Cosslett in April 2007. I enjoy the work ethic which predominates at Lancaster but also the way in which I am made to feel a part of a lively and welcoming department. As a mature student, 70 next birthday, I enjoy Lancaster because when there I feel the same age as other students mainly because I am behind my face and therefore only see myself reflected in their young faces, thus I become a 24-6 year old with visual and mobility problems. My main issue is what to do next – all ideas (constructive ideas) would be welcome!
My research explores American short fiction, during the 1960s and 70s, focused around conceptions of experimentation, metafiction, and modernism. My aim is to reformulate current understanding of the works of this period; to historicise and politicise the textual practice of authors such as Donald Barthelme, William H. Gass, Walter Abish, Stanley Elkin, Thomas Pynchon and Robert Coover. I am currently writing two short pieces: the first explores reoccurring sexual metaphors in Gass’ In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife. The second piece considers Donald Barthelme’s textual engagement with critical and artistic theories of la vie quotidienne, and I hope to deliver this as a conference paper in early 2010.
Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»
Share research and make connections with other researchers. Go to the Luminary»
The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»
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