Posts from August 2015

PhD Studentship Opportunity: Penguin’s China: Reading China in Paperback

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The Department of English Literature, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Westminster invites applications for a PhD studentship. The studentship consists of a fee waiver and annual stipend of £16,000 for three years. The Studentship will commence in January 2016, and is available to applicants with a Home fee status only (usually defined as applicants from the UK and EU). The research topic, to be supervised by Dr Anne Witchard and Dr Leigh Wilson, is ‘Penguin’s China: Reading China in Paperback’.

Penguin was the revolutionary paperback imprint of Allen Lane, and has played a broad and overtly political and cultural role in our society. An innovative British brand, Penguin’s publications offer a window on the development of thought and fashion through the twentieth century and, for the purposes of this doctoral project, on the varied ways in which British readers, adult and children, have thought about China.

The proposed PhD will investigate the role Penguin has had in shaping readers’ responses to China by assessing Penguin’s early back catalogue of books about China or on Chinese themes by both Western and Chinese authors during the 1930s and 1940s. The archive held at the University of Bristol holds an array of novels, poetry, reportage and non‐fiction for adults and children, from Pearl Buck’s classic The Good Earth (1960), to Sax Rohmer’s The Mystery of Dr Fu Manchu (1938) as well as other works of forgotten writers such as Winifred Galbraith and children’s author, Tsui Chi. The diversity of titles encompasses the range of responses to and interactions with China during the early twentieth century. The PhD will not only explore the works held in the catalogue, but go beyond this to investigate the publishing decisions, the marketing strategies and the readers’ responses which were so significant in constructing the image of China in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s.

Full details on how to apply can be accessed here:

For further information, please contact Dr Anne Witchard:

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 30 September 2015.