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The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Miss Helen Craven 

Postgraduate research student

Miss Helen Craven's photo

Miss Helen Craven is Postgraduate research student within English at the University of Southampton.

I turned to the University of Southampton, after a first-class degree in Classics from University College London in 1994 and a follow-up MA in Classical Studies from the Open University in 2003. Deciding that I needed a bit of an update, I completed an MA in 20th and 21st Century Literature in English from Southampton in 2012 and am now studying towards a PhD.

Research interests

My research topic is ‘The figure of the detective in fiction: irony, parody and satire in popular fiction'. My research activities so far have been centred around an examination of the literary theories surrounding crime fiction and theories of humour.

This year has seen me developing my ideas; I am moving towards a focus on the parallels between Terry Pratchett and G K Chesterton. Both offer rich use of humour, a thought-provoking defence of the popular, and an important exploration of alternate worlds for satire and parody (in Linda Hutcheon's interpretation of the term). Chesterton set out an eloquent defence that funny is not the same as not serious, and I realise that I have an academic fascination with authors who can be both serious and funny: from the satyr plays of Euripides to the gleeful retellings of Ovid, the verbal dexterity of Chesterton through to the witty urbanity of the Golden Age crime novel. ‘The question of whether a man expresses himself in a grotesque or laughable phraseology, or in a stately and restrained phraseology, is not a question of motive or of moral state, it is a question of instinctive language and self-expression'; I intend to explore this statement of Chesterton alongside Pratchett's humorous approach to the serious issue of man's pursuit of justice.

Miss Helen Craven
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom
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