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AHRC Doctoral Award

18 December 2013

A fully-funded three-year PhD studentship is available from 1 October 2014, as part of the project ‘Digital Critical Edition of Middle-Period Works by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931)’

University of Bristol

Department of German, School of Modern Languages, Faculty of Arts

Duration of Studentship: 3 years full-time or part-time equivalent

Stipend: The fees and maintenance rates for 2014/15 have not yet been announced by the AHRC, but for comparison, the stipend (outside London) for 2013/14 was £13,726 and the fees £3,900.

Vacancy Information

A fully-funded three-year PhD studentship is available from 1 October 2014, as part of the project ‘Digital Critical Edition of Middle-Period Works by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931)’, which has secured a grant of almost £1,000,000 from the AHRC. The core project team comprises Professor Andrew Webber (University of Cambridge, principal investigator), Dr Judith Beniston (UCL, co-investigator), Professor Robert Vilain (University of Bristol, co-investigator) and Dr Annja Neumann (Cambridge, research associate). The student’s main supervisor will be Professor Robert Vilain in the German Department at Bristol, which is part of the School of Modern Languages, and depending on the precise nature of the successful applicant’s topic, a second supervisor will be identified from within the German Department, the Drama Department or elsewhere in the Faculty of Arts.

A second fully funded PhD studentship attached to this project is being advertised simultaneously by University College London: please contact Dr Judith Beniston ( for further information.

The AHRC-funded Project

Arthur Schnitzler is one of the leading figures in European and German-language Modernism, and unique for a writer of his stature in not having a critical edition devoted to him. Schnitzler’s papers were saved from likely confiscation and destruction in Vienna in 1938 and brought to Cambridge, where the larger part of them is now held in the University Library. The archive includes early versions of many published works, and the aim is to make this rich and fascinating resource available to a wide range of users. In the course of this five-year project, scheduled to run January 2014–December 2018, the UK team will produce digital editions of a set of works from Schnitzler’s middle period, transcribing manuscript material and developing an extensive critical apparatus. The corpus comprises the novel Der Weg ins Freie, the plays Professor Bernhardi and Das weite Land and a set of less well-known puppet plays. The edition will be hosted on the website of Cambridge University Library. Alongside open access to the edited works and their apparatus, the findings of the project will be presented through international conferences and workshops, theatre productions and other events, and through publications in book and journal form.

Studentship Description

This PhD project need not be restricted to the works of Arthur Schnitzler but should address Schnitzler's use of puppets, marionettes or puppet-like acting techniques within the context of early 20th-century German and Austrian drama. Scholars such as Stefani Engelstein have reconstructed the way the 18th and 19th centuries understood the human body and shown how studies of the non-human or nearly-human in authors such as Goethe, Blake, Kleist, Hoffmann and Mary Shelley have enhanced or changed our understanding of the human; further work is needed on the 20th century. Schnitzler's puppet plays and his reflections on puppets and acting might be contextualized using works by other dramatists and cultural commentators, the creations of marionette-designers, or other critical writings on the phenomenon of non-human, pseudo-human or partially human 'actors'. The project might also contextualize Schnitzler with reference to a few key examples of the non-human or imitations of the human in literary and theatrical Modernism or encompass a wider variety of sub-human or mechanical figures and devices. Theories of acting and dance may be relevant, and consideration might be given to the ways in which 'mainstream' and traditional puppet theatrical practice begin to coalesce in this period. There may also be scope for looking at the interface between art and psychology with the developing use of drama in occupational therapy in the 1920s and 1930s.

Research Contexts

The awardholder will be integrated into the larger AHRC project in a number of ways: first, s/he will receive training from the supervisor and research associate in reading German handwriting and in using the transcription tools developed for the project; second, s/he will contribute to the development of the online ‘Schnitzler-Portal’ by preparing webpages on the some of the works to be edited within the project; third, s/he will participate in relevant project meetings and seminars, and play an active role in helping to organise a conference on ‘Puppets, Dolls and Automata in European Modernism’ to be held in Bristol in September 2016 and the workshops and performances on the puppet plays scheduled for 2017 in connection with Bristol’s Festival of Puppetry. The awardholder will be will be able to audit relevant modules of Bristol’s MA programmes if this is academically desirable. The awardholder will also be fully integrated into the lively research culture of Bristol’s German Department, School of Modern Languages and Faculty of Arts, which includes regular interdisciplinary workshops, seminars and opportunities for research students to present their work. The proposed PhD may wish to draw on unpublished material held in Munich's Puppen­theatermuseum, holdings in Cambridge and Marbach, and Exeter University’s archive of press-cuttings.

Person Specification


  • A First or an Upper Second Class degree, or equivalent, in a discipline relevant to the research project
  • Familiarity with the literature of European modernism
  • Excellent standard of written and spoken English
  • Excellent standard of written and spoken German
  • Interest in archival research
  • Willingness to contribute to the broader activities of the AHRC project


  • A Masters-level qualification in a discipline relevant to the research project
  • Familiarity with Austrian literature c. 1900 and with the work of Arthur Schnitzler            
  • Familiarity with the broader European theatre scene
  • Experience of event organization and/or public engagement work
  • Experience of constructing and maintaining websites, blogs, or other social networking platforms


Due to funding restrictions this position is only open to UK/EU citizens. Non-UK citizens should read the AHRC's Student Funding Guide carefully to assess whether they are eligible for fees and maintenance or for fees only.

Deadline for Applications

By 5pm on 31 January 2014, applicants must have:

  • Applied for a place to study at Bristol University (n.b. this studentship is NOT connected with the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership so applications should be made to the University of Bristol directly)
  • Please clearly indicate on the on-line application under the ‘Research Details’ section that you are responding to a studentship advert and state under ‘further details’ ‘AHRC Schnitzler Project funding’.
  • Submitted a research proposal as part of your online application, detailing how the you will approach the PhD project, within the parameters outlined under ‘Studentship Description’, above (maximum 2 pages A4)
  • Submit a curriculum vitae as part of your online application

Informal enquiries are welcome and may be addressed to Professor Robert Vilain (

Interview date: It is expected that interviews will be held at University College London on 12 February 2014.

Studentship Start Date: 1 October 2014

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