PhD studentship (2020-24)

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Bringing the Bard Back Home? The English Translation of Foreign Shakespeare Criticism in the Long 19th Century

Department of Literary Studies, KU Leuven.

Deadline for applications: 15 July 2020.

You will join KU Leuven’s English Literature Research Group, part of the Literary Studies Department, a vibrant, multilingual, and international community of scholars with a strong tradition of research in comparative literature and translation studies. The department provides many opportunities for collaborative work and for developing a broad range of professional skills. KU Leuven is the oldest university in the Low Countries. It features among the world’s top 100 universities in most rankings, with high scores for Arts and Humanities research. It is located in a historic town in the heart of Belgium, 20 minutes from Brussels, and within easy reach of Paris, London, Amsterdam and Cologne.


We offer a fully-funded PhD position for research on English translations of German Shakespeare criticism in the long nineteenth century.
Unlike translations of Shakespeare’s texts, translations of Shakespeare criticism have attracted no scholarly attention. Shakespeare critics in different countries often used to read each other in the original, but their writings also reached wider foreign audiences through translations. By analysing English translations of French and German writings on Shakespeare in the long 19th century (an age of popular Bardolatry or ‘Shakespeare-mania’), this project will question the view that British publications about Shakespeare were part of an insular, patriotic literary culture that had enshrined the English ‘Bard’ at its centre. It will examine the different textual and paratextual strategies used by various translators to convey the significance of foreign perspectives on Shakespeare, and the reception of their translations. The project will highlight an important, yet neglected international dimension of Romantic and Victorian literary cultures. While the lead investigator (Raphaël Ingelbien) will work on translations of French texts, the PhD student will focus on translations of German texts.


• You hold academic qualifications in English and German: a BA and MA in modern languages and literatures and/or in translation studies, obtained with high marks in relevant subjects. 
• You have prior knowledge of and a deep interest in English and German cultural history. A fascination with all things Shakespearean is obviously a plus.
• You are interested in the study of translation and cultural transfer.
• You have strong academic writing skills in English, and can read historical texts in English and German with some ease. 
• You are a keen reader, a good team worker, and can meet deadlines.
• You are willing to make some research trips to European destinations, and to communicate on your research at conferences, through publications, and via different media.


• A PhD studentship that, pending a positive assessment after one year, will be renewed for three more years (1+3).
• A net monthly salary of about 2,000 euros, supplemented by a budget for research-related travel and equipment.
• An exciting international research context where you can develop your professional and research skills, including a doctoral training programme, and opportunities for teaching.
• Regular contacts with various leading experts in Shakespeare studies, translation studies (including KU Leuven’s CETRA centre) and cultural transfer analysis.


For questions about the position and the nature of the project, please get in touch with Prof. Raphaël Ingelbien ( ). The starting date for the position is 1 October 2020 or as soon as possible after that. Please apply through the online application tool with a CV, including detailed transcripts of courses and marks obtained for relevant BA and MA degrees; a letter of motivation stating your qualifications and the reasons for your interest in the position; one academic writing sample in English (MA thesis, coursework, published or submitted article, …); and the contact details of two referees (including information on the relationship with the applicant). Selected candidates will be interviewed by the end of August at the latest.