Helen Hunter 

PhD title: The Son as Adam and Christ: Literary Uses of Biblical Imagery in Hartmann von Aue’s Gregorius, Kafka’s Die Verwandlung and Thomas Mann’s Der Erwählte

Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Martin and Dr Nigel Harris

Having developed a keen interest in medieval and modern German literature during my undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham, I completed an MPhil in Modern European Cultures in 2010, submitting a thesis on the themes of guilt, atonement and redemption in Kafka’s Die Verwandlung and Thomas Mann’s Der Erwählte, two twentieth century texts with a common link to a Middle High German tale of extreme filial transgression and penance, Hartmann von Aue’s Gregorius (c. 1190).

My doctoral thesis expands this study to a comparative analysis of all three texts, focusing more closely on the conspicuous use of biblical motifs in each author’s presentation of his protagonist’s experience of guilt, sacrifice and/or redemption. By investigating how, in each case, imagery relating both to Adam and the Fall of man, and to the Passion and resurrection of Christ, is re-used, re-invented, combined or parodied, it aims to further illuminate intertextual relationships and contrasts of attitude between these medieval and modern narratives, and to shed light on literary uses of the biblical tradition across diverse temporal and ideological contexts.

Alongside my research, I am also a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant and a founding member of the Early Medieval- Medieval- Renaissance- Reformation- Early Modern Postgraduate Forum.