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Ms Petra Burianová BA, MA

Postgraduate Researcher in Scottish Literature

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Petra Burianová is a postgraudate research student within English at the University of Southampton.

I am a Wolfson Foundation-funded PhD Researcher in Scottish literature. My interests lie within the intersections of literature, architecture and the individual. My aim is to explore the means by which twentieth and twenty-first century Scottish authors use the built environment to address the question of building of the nation, both figuratively in terms of its political and social structure, and also literally, concerning the physical structures that house the powers of the state.  

I completed my MA studies in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures, with honours, in 2016 at Charles University in Prague. Prior to that I obtained a BA in English Literature & Linguistics from the same department. Following my move to the UK in 2016, I spent 2 years working in digital marketing in Southampton. During my formal studies, I attended several courses focused on Scottish literature, film and culture, this sparking my original interest in the area. My Master’s thesis focused on historiography and gender in the works of Ali Smith and Jeanette Winterson, and after having finished it, I felt there was still much to be explored. I realised there was great potential in combining my favourite subjects – Scottish literature and architecture, and I decided to expand on my research into the works of Ali Smith alongside those of Alasdair Gray and Iain Banks.


BA in English Literature and Linguistics from Charles University in Prague

MA (First class honours) in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures from Charles University in Prague

Research interests

I am interested in the ways in which architecture, power and the individual intersect in the works of contemporary Scottish authors, in relation to the condition of Scotland from the 1980s to present.  Mainly, I focus on Alasdair Gray’s Lanark, Iain Banks’ The Bridge and Ali Smith’s Hotel World, as well as her current tetralogy: Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer; however, I have discovered many relevant points in their other works as well. These novels feature structures that are not only there in the physical sense but they also embody the power structures that affect the characters, and these buildings are such a key aspect of the narrative that they can actually be understood as characters rather than a setting. From the Institute in Gray’s Lanark to the detention centre for illegal immigrants in Ali Smith’s latest book Spring, we can trace how the ideas with which one of the most prominent Scottish authors concerned themselves developed over the last 40 years of significant political and social changes, through use of the illustration of the individual’s relationship with architecture and the institutions which it houses.

PhD Research

Experiencing Architecture and the Shaping of Identity in Contemporary Scottish Fiction

Dr Kevin Brazil and Professor Nicky Marsh

Funded by The Wolfson Foundation

Ms Petra Burianová
Student Office, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Southampton, Avenue Campus, Southampton. SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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