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Best English thesis of the year goes to Malin Brus

News: Apr 16, 2019

We congratulate this year's 2019 SWESSE Award for BA Thesis of the Year in English Literature winner Malin Brus. Her essay ""I Don’t Think We’ve Been Formally Introduced?" Re-contextualising a Literary Model for First Meetings through Adaptation Theory and Fan Fiction" is based on Cassandra Clare’s Young Adult novel City of Bones (2007), and the spin-off film and TV-series. She has today received the award at a ceremony held in Malmö.

What does this award mean to you?

–I'm incredibly flattered and happy to have been given this award. This thesis was a long time coming and very much a labour of love, so to have it recognised in this way is amazing.

What do you take with you from your time writing your thesis?

–To me, it's such a treat to be able to take time and really dig into a subject that I find fascinating. This thesis was especially fun because it combined a lot of things that I love (literary analysis, some linguistics, some statistics, a lot of literary theory, and – of course – fan works and fandom in general), and I also had the luxury of taking my time with it, which made the whole process a lot more satisfying. Also, my supervisor was really great--a perfect combination of guiding and encouraging.

What advice would you give to other students writing their theses?

  1. –Time. If you have the option of not rushing it, don't. Start early and let your project take shape so that you know your angle and scope before you start working on it. I find planning your project with clear milestones helps a lot (e.g. outline with reading references done by X date, theory section done by Y date, data collection done by Z date...), both to keep steady progress, and to be able to get useful feedback as you work.
     
  2. –Start with your theory section. Find a masters or doctorate thesis written in the same field to get a crash course in what the relevant theory for the subject might be. By skimming the abstracts, background sections and reference lists of some 2-3 articles and theses only, you'll get a very good idea of what research has been done before and what parts of this research have been especially tone-giving (this gives you a good first list of works to read that you can build from). Identifying relevant theory early also makes it easier to narrow down your scope and find a research question you are excited to work with.
     
  3. –Work with an outline. This helps so much with focus and progression of your argument. I personally use colour high-lights and follow each thread of arguments from top to bottom (and then bottom to top, starting from each conclusion) to make sure they progress in a manner that's easy to follow, and that there aren't any threads left hanging, or any breaks in the chain. Also, read theses from higher cycles (MA and PhD) to get a good grasp of general thesis structure.
     
  4. –Find a beta reader. A beta reader is someone who reads through your writing as you progress with your thesis and gives you feedback on how to improve it. Ideally, this is someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses as a writer well, and can point out to you when you're falling into bad habits. Beta readers point out flaws in your argument, ask questions about how your findings relates to the theory you are presenting, challenges your choices of examples, of method, of sources, and basically force you to always look at your text again from another angle. They don't need to know anything about your topic, they just need to help you question your own work, so that your work gets clearer and better with every iteration.
     
  5. –Write iteratively (write section A, then section B, then rewrite A to make sure A and B fit together). For every re-write, your argument will get a little clearer to yourself, which will make it easier to present it clearly to the reader.
     

Abstract: (Re-)contextualising narratology in today’s world of rapid technological development and widespread access to the internet serves as the basis of this essay, which explores what happens when narratology, adaptation theory and fan fiction theory intersect and interact. It combines a surface level quantitative study with qualitative text analysis, using Rousset’s literary model from 1981 on first meetings between lovers-to-be as the narratological reference, and the first meeting between the characters Alec Lightwood and Magnus Bane as the text subject (using a corpus consisting of a novel, its official film and TV-show adaptations, and thirty fan fictions). The study found expected patterns of simplification and short-cuts, in the material studied, as well as partial convergence of fan fictions with Rousset’s model, dependent on the level of compliance of the source adapted. It also found that fan fictions and adaptations generally follow Rousset’s postulated structure of first meetings, with a few notable exceptions regarding the focal points of these scenes.

The judges remarks are as follows:

  1. The paper is well-structured. The purpose of each section is clearly articulated and concludes with a summary of the main points. As a result, the argument unfolds in a well-paced manner.
  2. The material – fan fiction – is highly topical. The decision to examine ten pieces of fan fiction for the novel, the film and the TV series (30 in total) was ambitious. Each key point is illustrated with suitable citations from the material, and connected to the thesis of the paper.
  3. The double analytical approach is original. An existing model was developed in order to examine material for which it was not originally designed. This was combined with more well-established forms of analyses developed within adaptation studies.
     

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Page Manager: Annika Andersson|Last update: 3/23/2009
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