Karolina Watroba (Poland)

Life after Ertegun House

I stayed in Oxford to study for a DPhil in Modern Languages as a resident Ertegun alumna, with funding from the Clarendon-Merton Modern Languages Scholarship. Following on from my master’s dissertation, my DPhil thesis explores the cultural impact that Der Zauberberg has made beyond academic circles. I analyse the novel’s many and varied literary and cinematic afterlives, look at its place in the public imagination, and compare how readers with different degrees of academic training approach it and what they make of it. My main goal is to challenge established academic ways of studying canonical works of art and their cultural reception. This comparative project spans ten decades, ten languages and fifteen countries on five continents.

My heartfelt thanks go to Mica Ertegun for her generosity and vision, and to everyone who has helped her set up this wonderful programme, including the past and current Ertegun directors and administrators, for their unwavering support. I hope to be an active Ertegun alumna in the years to come!

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