My name is Laura, and I am a first year PhD student in German. I am lucky enough to be involved in one of King’s College London's joint PhD partnership programmes, and will be spending my second year at the University of Stuttgart under the supervision of Dr Sandra Richter, whilst my first and third year will be spent in London under the supervision of Professor Robert Weninger.
My PhD thesis seeks to plot the movement known as existentialism onto literature produced in the aftermath of the Second World War and the Nazi period. It also provides a dual consideration of existentialism as both a philosophical and a theological movement. By engaging the core maxims of existentialist philosophy and twentieth-century Christian theology as the principal methodological backdrop, my dissertation provides a contrastive survey of German religious and existentialist literature that came to fruition following the collapse of the Third Reich. I am looking, in particular, at the existentialist writing of Max Frisch, Arno Schmidt and Alfred Andersch, and the religious fiction of Elisabeth Langgässer and Heinrich Böll.
King’s College London has proven to be an exceptional institution in which to undertake a PhD. Firstly, the quality of supervision is second to none. I have close contact with my first supervisor, whose vast expertise and proficient and encouraging approach are extremely helpful. Secondly, the university awards a number of scholarships and bursaries to doctoral students. Having been lucky enough to receive a full scholarship, I can verify the benefits of such generous financial support. Thirdly, in support of my research on existentialist philosophy, the Department of German gave me the opportunity to attend a French language class to assist me with my research on Jean-Paul Sartre. Finally, King’s offers an invaluable range of library facilities, which include the Maughan Library, the Franklin-Wilkins Library and the University of London Library. All of these attributes reaffirm the status of King’s College London as an outstanding university for doctoral study.