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The University of Southampton
Humanities Graduate School

Minke Jonk English PhD Researcher

Minke Jonk's Photo

I started my BA degree in English language and culture at University of Leiden in 2008. I was selected for the Harting exchange programme during my second year and subsequently spent the third year of my undergraduate at the University of Southampton. At Southampton, the module ‘Literature of Islands and Oceans' boosted my interest in maritime literature, which since then has remained a great source of inspiration. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2011, writing my dissertation on ‘The representation of streets and the city in late-Victorian literature' (supervised by Dr Michael Newton). I also obtained my MA degree in English Language and Culture (with a specialisation in translation between Dutch and English) from the University of Leiden. In my dissertation ‘Words are all that we can translate: Untranslatability and Moby Dick' (supervised by Katinka Zeven MA and Dr Evert-Jan van Leeuwen), I explored issues of untranslatability by comparing two translations of Moby Dick with the original.

I have always been interested in nineteenth-century literature and maritime narratives have held a great interest for me since studying Moby Dick during my undergraduate degree. This fascination resulted in my masters' dissertation on untranslatability issues in Moby Dick. My thesis, ‘‘I think I see the ghost of that Flying Dutchman in every ray of moonlight': nineteenth-century maritime ghost stories', is supervised by Dr Stephanie Jones and Professor Daniel Brown and combines my interest in both nineteenth-century supernatural literature and maritime narratives. I am studying the ship as a haunted space and place this research in a wider context of haunted literature in the nineteenth century and nostalgia for the Empire.
My current research aims to unite the themes of nostalgia, perceptions of religion and imperialism in a larger structural framework to look at how these themes resonate with nineteenth-century maritime ghost narratives, with a specific focus on the legend of the Flying Dutchman and other ghost ships. I am focusing on late-nineteenth-century narratives by Frederick Marryat, William Clark Russell, William Hope Hodgson and Piet Visser. These narratives and their authors were well-known in their own time but are nowadays largely forgotten. Written in the late-nineteenth century, these narratives evoke a sense of nostalgia in a time where the world was no longer unexplored territory but instead completely mapped and demystified. The study of haunted literature has so far largely ignored the ship as a haunted space, a niche my research aims to fill.

Key facts

Minke's supervisors are Dr Stephanie Jones and Prof Daniel Brown.

You can contact Minke at


Minke is one of the leaders of the Southampton Marine and Maritime Postgraduate Group (SMMPG), which hosts regular meetings throughout the year. The group also put together a successful conference, 'Sea Lines of Communication', in the Autumn with plans to do so again in 2015. Find out more about SMMPG here.

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