Arthur Schnitzler AHRC Project

Two AHRC-funded PhD studentships are available (2014-17) as part of the project ‘Digital Critical Edition of Middle-Period Works by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931)’

Vacancy Information

Two three-year PhD studentships are available from 1 October 2014, as part of the AHRC-funded project ‘Digital Critical Edition of Middle-Period Works by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931)’, which runs for five years from January 2014. 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 (University of Cambridge, research associate). Studentship A will be held at University College London and supervised by Dr Beniston; Studentship B will be held at the University of Bristol and supervised by Professor Vilain.

Duration of Studentship

3 years full-time or part-time equivalent


The fees and maintenance rates for 2014/15 have not yet been announced by the AHRC, but for reference, the stipend for 2013/14 was £13,726 (outside London) and £15,726 (including London allowance).

The 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 A: Schnitzler in Britain

Following the success of Liebelei in 1895, Schnitzler began to establish an international reputation. By the time of his death in 1931 a significant fraction of his oeuvre had been translated into the major European languages and, in the case of the plays, performed on stages across Europe and North America.This process of dissemination and cultural transfer continues today,with adaptations such as David Hare’s The Blue Room (1998) and Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999), to name but the most obvious. The thesis will explore the evolving reception of Schnitzler’s work in the English-speaking world, with particular emphasis on Great Britain. Areas for investigation might include:

  • Schnitzler’s work on the Edwardian and interwar stages. This will involve researching his interaction with the circle of dramatists, critics, translators and theatre practitioners gathered around George Bernard Shaw and Harley Granville Barker, and with a London-based aunt and uncle.
  • Processes of cultural mobility: the role of translators, editors, agents and directors; legal and institutional frameworks.
  • Analysis of selected translations and adaptations, with the possibility of seeking interviews with translators and directors.
  • Schnitzler’s fortunes in the Anglo-Saxon world as a case-study in the globalization of culture; possible implications for the history of translation theory and practice.

As well as allowing the award holder to acquire in-depth knowledge of the literature and cultural history of twentieth-century Austria and Britain, this project will offer the opportunity to develop archival and palaeographical skills and to work with a wide range of published and unpublished material, including Schnitzler’s business and family correspondence (held mainly at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach a.N.), the collection of Schnitzler’s press cuttings preserved at Exeter University Library, the Lord Chamberlain’s archive, the V&A Theatre and Performance Archive, and the records of the BBC and of individual theatres.

Studentship B: Schnitzler and Modernist Drama: Puppets, Dolls, Automata

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. The award holder 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.

Research Contexts

The PhD students 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 some of the works to be edited within the project; third,s/he will participate in relevant project meetings and seminars. Student A will play an active role in organising a workshop on ‘Schnitzler in Britain’,to be held at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London; Student B 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 of the puppet plays scheduled for 2017 in connection with Bristol’s Festival of Puppetry. The award holders will also be fully integrated into the respective research cultures of Bristol University and UCL.

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
  • Substantial interest in archival research
  • Willingness to contribute to the broader activities of the AHRC-funded 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 British theatre scene and translation industry (Student A)/ with the broader European theatre scene (Student B)
  • 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.

The Application deadline for both Studentships is 4pm on 14 April 2014.

By 4pm on 14 April 2014, applicants for Studentship A must have:

  • Applied for a place to study at UCL
    1. A covering letter outlining the applicant’s suitability for the studentship
    2. A research proposal detailing how you will approach the PhD project, within the parameters outlined above (maximum 2 pages A4)
    3. A curriculum vitae

By 4pm on 14 April 2014, applicants for Studentship B 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)
  • Indicated 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 above (maximum 2 pages A4)
  • Submited a curriculum vitae as part of your online application

Informal enquiries are welcome and may be addressed to Dr Judith Beniston ( or Professor Robert Vilain (

Interview date

It is expected that interviews for both studentships will be held in UCL on 25 April 2014.