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Stephen Parker


Personal profile

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Research and postgraduate supervision


My last major project was a literary biography Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life, which was published by Bloomsbury in 2014.  For a sample of reviews visit Bloomsbury's website. Brecht's German publisher Suhrkamp secured the rights for a German edition, which will appear in 2018. A Chinese edition is being prepared by Renmin University Press, a French edition by L'Arche Editeur. The project was supported by a Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, 2009-12. The project benefited from archival work in Berlin and Augsburg. A first study of Brecht's medical history appeared in the Brecht Yearbook in 2010.

At present I hold grants as PI from the University of Manchester to begin work on the papers of August Heinrich Simon deposited in the John Rylands Library (with Matthew Jefferies and Eva-Maria Broomer) and to investiage censorship in the GDR with Alison Lewis and her team from Melbourne, together with Cathy Gelbin (Manchester) and Matthew Philpotts (Liverpool).

My other recent books dealt with the following: the history of Sinn und Form (1949- ), the journal of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Arts; and the AHRC project 'The Modern Restoration: The discourses of style in German Literature 1930-1960'. For my archival work on Sinn und Form I was awarded a research fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which I held at the Free University, Berlin. This generated a succession of essays and a lengthy documentation published in Sinn und Form. The project culminated with the publication in 2009 of the book Sinn und Form: The Anatomy of a Literary Journal, which Matthew Philpotts co-authored with me. The book is both a history of Sinn und Form and a first typology for the analysis of literary journals. The project 'The Modern Restoration' was supported by an AHRC grant and concluded In 2004 with the book The Modern Restoration: Re-thinking German Literary History 1930-1960. The project explored the thesis that the years 1930-1960 represent a stylistically distinct period that cuts across political division. The thesis was tested synchronically through the examination of works and programmatic statements in selected journals and diachronically through case studies of five authors. The project was co-authored with two of my former PhD students: Peter Davies, formerly Leverhulme Special Research Fellow at Manchester, now Professor of German at the University of Edinburgh, who acted as Co-Director; and, Matthew Philpotts, who was the Research Associate for the project, was recently appointed to the Chair of German at the University of Liverpool. I welcome inquiries from anyone suitably qualified for postgraduate work in my field.



Professional Biography

* First in Modern Languages (French and German), University of Leeds
* PhD in German, University of Manchester

Teaching Areas

I teach German language and modern German literary/cultural studies at undergraduate level. After developing ccourses in German culture and dictatorship with Matthew Philpotts, I've recently taught the specialist Final Year course unit, Statire on the German Stage. This draws upon my recent research project, a literary biography of Bertolt Brecht. I welcome enquiries from people interested in MA and PhD work with me.

Current administrative tasks

I'm currently research co-ordinator in our division.

Research interests

Research areas

  • Modern satire with particular reference to Bertolt Brecht
  • The life and work of Heinrich Simon (1805-1860)
  • Censorship in the GDR
  • Poetics and biography in Germany, especially Bertolt Brecht and Peter Huchel
  • Literary journals, especially Sinn und Form
  • German literary historiography, with particular reference to 1930-1960
  • 20th-century German literature and cultural politics

Research awards

  • 1991-2, Research Fellow, John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester
  • 1993-4, Research Fellow, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, held at the Free University, Berlin
  • 2000-4, Director, AHRC Project 'The Modern Restoration: The discourses of style in German Literature 1930-1960'
  • 2009-12, Research Fellow, Leverhulme Trust
  • 2017-9, Co-PI (with Alison Lewis, Melbourne), Literary Censorship in the GDR, University of Manchester
  • 2017, Co-PI (with Matthew Jefferies), The Papers of Heinrich Simon, John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester

Current/recent research projects

  • Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)
  • With Matthew Philpotts, Sinn und Form: The Anatomy of a Literary Journal (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2009)
  • With Peter Davies and Mathew Philpotts, The Modern Restoration: Re-thinking German Literary History 1930-1960 (Berlin and New York: de Gruyter, 2004)


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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