Medieval and Early Modern English Literature and Culture


Medieval and Early Modern English Culture and Literature Doctoral Program (AIKK)

Head of the Program: Dr. Natália Pikli


Website of the Doctoral Program


The Doctoral Program "Medieval and Early Modern English Culture and Literature" belongs to the Doctoral School of Literary Studies at the Faculty of Humanities, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. It was founded in 1993 by Prof. István Géher under the name of "Renaissance and Baroque English Literature", and was headed by István Géher (1993-2012), Géza Kállay (2012-18), Ákos I. Farkas (2018-20). The present Head of the Program is Dr. Natália Pikli, Associate Professor. The body of supervisors have included Prof. Péter Dávidházi, full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Tibor Fabiny.

Since the 1990s, the Program has vastly contributed to the education of early modern scholars, many of the former PhD students are now leading academics of Shakespeare and early modern studies at Hungarian and foreign universities, with prestigious publicatons and participation in national and international research projects and academic organizations (András Kiséry, Gábor Ittzés, Zsolt Almási, Natália Pikli, Kinga Földváry, Gabriella Reuss, Júlia Paraizs, Veronika Schandl, Zsuzsanna Kiss, Kinga Földváry, Erzsébet Stróbl, Noémi Najbauer, Katalin Tabi), and some former students also became renowned authors and translators (Anna T. Szabó, Andrea Nagy).

After 2000, the scope of the Program became wider, thanks to Dr. Katalin Halácsy, who started supervising students in medieval culture and literature (Tamás Karáth Tamás, Zsuzsanna Péri-Nagy, Andrea Nagy). In the 2010s the reserach interests of students and academics in the Program entailed more interdisciplinary topics, combining literary studies with cultural history, iconography and studies of literary cults and adaptations, which resulted in changing the name of the Program to the present one.

The academic portfolio of the Program now includes studies in Shakespearean theatre and drama, the ouevre of early modern playwrights (Marlowe), the relationship between early modern literature (poetry, drama, prose) and popular/elite cultures, Shakespeare and the Bible, Shakespeare and philosophy, cultural history, iconography, translations and adaptation, theatre history and theatre studies with a focus on Shakespearean performances, the reception of Shakespeare and early modern authors in Hungary, medieval culture and literature.

The Program is part of an interdisciplinary academic network, with links to the Hungarian University of Theatre and Film Studies, where several instructors were also teaching future actors, directors and dramaturgs (István Géher, Natália Pikli), and good contacts have been established with theatre practitioners, translators and the Hungarian Shakespeare Committee. Within Eötvös Loránd University, the Program cooperates with other doctoral schools and programs in History (Dr. Veronika Novák), Aesthetics and Hungarian Literature and Theatre Studies (Prof. Iván Horváth, Dr. Zoltán Imre), with students attending courses and tutorials led by professors belonging to different schools, and both students and instructors participate in joint conferences and publications. International academic links are also important: in the 1990s and 2000s joint conferences and scholarships were organized with the Shakespeare Institute (Birmingham University) at Stratford-upon-Avon, with the help of Profs. Stanley Wells and Martin Wiggins. In the 2010s Erasmus and ESSE scholarships ensured that doctoral students could spend a semester at English universities (eg. Exeter University) or go on a research trip during their studies. At present, Péter Dávidházi and Natália Pikli are permanent invitees of the International Shakespeare Conference at the Shakespeare Institute, calling together the leading 100-150 Shakespeare scholars every second year.

The Program have participated in significant state-funded academic research projects ("Cultural Memory", led by Prof. Ágnes Péter; "Translating Shakespearean Criticism" and "The Hungarian histories of English literature", led by Profs. Géza Kállay and Tamás Bényei). Research groups have been founded within the framework of the Program, first as EMERG: Early Modern Research Group, led by Géza Kállay till 2018 (with a Hungarian conference on Macbeth/Philosophy in 2016), and from 2021 under a new name: ELTE-CEMS: Centre for Early Modern Studies, led by Natália Pikli. Cross-program research groups were also established by the students and instructors of the Program (EASPop: English and American Popular Culture Research Group, led by Vera Benczik and Natália Pikli, "Bible and Literature", led by Prof. Győző Ferencz).

State-funded scholarships are available for Hungarian students, foreign students are supported by Stipendium Hungaricum, though these are few in number, with usually one or two students subsidized per year. Though small in size, the Program offers an opportunity for focused research with an interdisciplinary outlook, fostering academic research of the highest quality in the field of medieval and early modern English culture and literature.