School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Emily Anderson

PhD Student in English Literature



Humour and Representation in British Writing of the First World War (1914-18): A Literary Analysis

My thesis establishes the representational work performed by humour in texts contemporary to the conflict. I work across a range of genres: poetry, trench newspapers, short stories, and theatre.


Dr Anne Whitehead, Dr Martin Dubois, Professor Fran Brearton (Queen’s University Belfast)

Research Interests

Humour (history, theory, relation to emotion) and humour's role in representation; the depiction of war; literary nonsense; light literature; absurdity; whimsy.  

Awards & Funding

My PhD research is funded by the AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.



‘The 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary in Scotland: Concepts of Nation-Ness and Cultural Prestige in Anniversary Tributes to the Playwright’, Shakespeare, 12 (2016), 185–210

In Preparation:

‘”There was a young girl of the Somme, | Who sat on a number five bomb”: The Representation of Violence in First World War Trench-Journal Rhymes’

Blog Posts and Student Journals (selected):

‘Here Is the Secret. He Is – The Growler: A Northumberland Fusiliers Trench Newspaper’, World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings, 2016

‘Re-Enchanting Nature’, Rev. of Landmarks, by Robert Macfarlane, The Oxonian Review, 29 (2015)

Selected Conference Papers

‘Absurdity and Comic Absurdity in British First World War Literature’, Northeast Modern Language Association Annual Convention (NeMLA 2017), Baltimore (March 2017)

‘No Time But the Present: representations of tragi-comic time in First World War Poetry’, 9th Conference of the International Society for First World War Studies: War Time, the University of Oxford (November 2016)

‘“A great joke”? The Role of Humour in Robert Graves’ Representation of the First World War’, 13th International Robert Graves Society Conference, St John’s College, the University of Oxford (September 2016)

(Poster) ‘Humour and the Home Front: A Laughing Matter?’ Dissenting Voices and the Everyday in the First World War, the National Archives, London (September 2016)

‘Soldiers as Comic Heroes in British First World War Texts’, Globalising and Localising the Great War Graduate Conference, the University of Oxford (March 2016)

Service to the School

Chair of the School of English Postgraduate Student-Staff Committee

Student representative/co-organizer of the North East Forum for First World War Studies (NERFFS)

Student Representative on the School of English Postgraduate Tutors Committee

Academic Background

MSc in Comparative Literature at the University of Edinburgh (2013-14). My dissertation was entitled ‘The 1916 Shakespeare Tercentenary in England and Scotland: Concepts of “Nation-ness” in Anniversary Tributes to the Playwright.’

BA (Hons) at the University of Cambridge (2009-12)











I teach Newcastle University’s ‘Introduction to Literary Studies 1’ module. This is a course for first year undergraduates that offers an overview of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and its contexts.