Research Interests

  • British Studies
  • Translation Studies
  • Irish Studies

British Studies

What are British Studies? What do they investigate, and how do they work? Answers to such questions and information about relevant contexts of British Studies are given here:

  • "Kulturwissenschaft", in: Barbara Korte / Klaus Peter Müller / Josef Schmied), Einführung in die Anglistik, Stuttgart / Weimar: Metzler 2004, 155-210 (second updated and enlarged edition)
  • Müller, "'Cultural Studies' in England und den USA: Lebenswelten, 'Popular Cultures', Medien", in: Andreas Gipper / Susanne Klengel (eds.), Kultur, Übersetzung,, Lebenswelten. Beiträge zu aktuellen Paradigmen der Kulturwissenschaften, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann 2008, 87-120
  • For more texts on this topic, cf. part 1 in the list of Professor Müller's publications here.

Any political unit or state, such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, often shortened to the UK or referred to as Great Britain, as well as any nation, but also any individual human being needs media in order to define and express who and what they are. That is why Media Studies are an essential part of British Studies. Professor Müller's research and teaching have focused on these problems and key questions:

  • How are media used to construct, define and express the main characteristics of the British state, of the English, Scottish, and Welsh nations, of various regions and cities in Britain, of particular classes, character types, typical situations in the past and present, etc.?
  • How do media influence people's understanding of themselves and others, of foreign cultures, and which media are best suited for obtaining an efficient knowledge of one's own as well as of unknown cultures, people, areas?
  • Do different media represent Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland differently?
  • Does media convergence change people's perception of reality (their understanding of Great Britain, e.g.) and the ways in which they communicate?

Professor Müller is part of the Research Unit Media Convergence of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (http://www.medienkonvergenz.uni-mainz.de/en/), where this important phenomenon is investigated on a grand interdisciplinary scale, and where his focus is on the cultural, epistemological, and conceptual effects of media convergence. He is also a member of the Transmedial Narration Workgroup in the same unit (http://www.medienkonvergenz.uni-mainz.de/en/research/transmedial-narration-workgroup/), where his main interest is in the relationships between Narration, Cognition and Language; Narration, History and Popular Media; and the influences of the new technological developments on the History of Narratology.

In this context, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during his sabbatical in 2011. During that time, he took part in the conference taking place at MIT from 13 – 15 May 2011 on 'Unstable Plat­forms: the Promise and Peril of Transition' which dealt with positive as well as negative results of the new media, their platforms, the on-going changes and exchanges in media and media convergence. At the invitation of the conference's organizer, David Thorburn, Professor of Literature and the Director of the MIT Communications Forum, Professor Müller, together with Joshua Benton of the Nieman Journalism Lab of Harvard University, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and Mark Leccese, a well-known Boston journalist, now also teaching in the Journalism Department of Emerson College Boston, sat on the panel with which the conference began and discussed for 2 hours the current situation in the media world, the challenges, and possibilities, and answered questions from the audience. This discussion is available as a podcast and in an audio version on the net http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/mit7/subs/agenda.html#publicforums. His talk on 'New Platforms: More Choice – Less Freedom? Mediated Narratives in Human History' is also on the net at MIT as a PDF file http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/mit7/papers/Muller Draft MIT May 2011.pdf.

Professor Müller also took part in the conferences 'Changing Media Summit 2011' and '2012' (http://www.guardian.co.uk/changingmediasummit), organized by the Guardian in London, and he is a member of the Guardian Media Network, which provides a platform for everybody interested and involved in the new media, especially people with a focus on new media businesses and media technologies. He has extensively informed the organizers of these conferences that their point of view is far too narrow and, therefore, extremely limited. A talk on 'How do you raise the value of content on the web?' should never, as it did in 2012, define 'value' only with 'turnover' or 'economic profit'. But the past conferences have unfortunately had an economic focus only. Professor Müller has urgently pleaded for the inclusion of cultural, social, political, aesthetic, and also moral aspects in future discussions on changing media.

His talk at MIT reflects the focus of Professor Müller's current research in this area which investigates how histories of Britain, England, and Scotland are narrated in connection with media convergence in current British TV programmes, documentaries, and on the web. Three articles on this will be published in 2012.

The relationships and key distinctions between fact and fiction are of great importance in this context, where a combination of cultural studies, media studies and strong links to epistemology and the cognitive sciences are essential for the enhancement of cognitive cultural studies with a comprehensive awareness of the importance of media (in discussions in German, the term 'kognitive Medienkulturwissenschaft' is used for this inclusive approach).

The conferences on 'Scotland's Cultural Standing and Identity' in 2005 (http://www.fask.uni-mainz.de/inst/iaa/scotland.html) and on 'British Film 2000 – 2010: Crossing Borders, Transferring Cultures' in 2010 (http://www.fask.uni-mainz.de/inst/iaa/tagung/) have dealt with such questions, and publications of the insights obtained are being prepared. Exemplary results of this research are already available in:

  • Müller, "Facts and Fictions in Cultural Studies. The Cohesive Paradoxical Agency of Value and Meaning", Journal for the Study of British Cultures II, 1, 1995, 43 – 59
  • Müller, "Fakt und Fiktion im historischen Kriminalroman: Die Nell-Bray-Romane von Gillian Linscott und die Fernsehserie 'Inspector Jericho'", in: Barbara Korte / Sylvia Paletschek (eds.), Geschichte im Krimi. Beiträge aus den Kulturwissenschaften, Köln: Böhlau 2009, 77-93
  • Müller, "Inszenierte Welten bei Patrick McCabe und Neil Jordan: Medien, Metaphern und mentale Schemata", in: Thomas Koebner / Fabienne Liptay (eds.), Neil Jordan, München: edition text + kritik 2009 (Film-Konzepte 16), 28-39
  • For more texts on this topic, cf. parts 4 and 5 in the list of Professor Müller's publications here.

Another key research and teaching area within both British Studies and Media Studies is one of the most complex media with a wonderful tradition and long history, Literature. This includes research on Shakespeare, post-colonial as well as Canadian and Caribbean literatures.
Exemplary results of this research are these texts:

  • Müller (ed.), Contemporary Canadian Short Stories, Stuttgart: Reclam 1990 (updated and enlarged edition 2002)
  • Müller (ed.), Englisches Theater der Gegenwart. Geschichte(n) und Strukturen, Tübingen: Narr 1993
  • Müller, "More Than 'Just Play': The Creation of 'Fabulous History' in Beckett's Plays", in: Marius Buning / Lois Oppenheim (eds.), Beckett in the 1990s. Selected papers from the Second International Beckett Symposium, held in The Hague, 8-12 April, 1992, Amsterdam / Atlanta, Georgia: Rodopi 1993, 255 – 267
  • Müller, "Dialogic and Monologic Contexts in Arnold Wesker's Monologues and Mono­dramas”, in: Reade W. Dornan (ed.), Arnold Wesker. A Casebook, New York / London: Garland 1998, 179 – 193 (Casebooks on Modern Dramatists Series)
  • Müller, "'Governors of Necessity' – 'Servants of Fortune': Bilder der Herrschaft und Tyrannei in Shakespeares Romanzen", in: Uwe Baumann (ed.), Basileus und Tyrann: Herrscherbilder und Bilder von Herrschaft in der Englischen Renaissance, Frankfurt: Lang 1999, 389 - 417 (Düsseldorfer Beiträge aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik)
  • Müller, Wertstrukturen und Wertewandel im englischen Drama der Gegenwart, Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier 2000 (Contemporary Drama in English 5)
  • Müller, "Re-Constructions of Reality in Margaret Atwood's Literature: A Constructionist Approach", in: Reingard M. Nischik (ed.), Margaret Atwood: Works and Impact, Rochester, New York: Camden House 2000, 229 – 258
  • Müller, "Canadian Literature, English Language"; "Constructionism"; "Cultural Studies"; "Modernity", in: John C. Hawley (ed.), Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies, Westport, Connecticut & London: Greenwood 2001, 76 – 81, 114 – 115, 123 – 130, 301 – 303
  • Müller, "Utopische und dystopische Elemente in der englischsprachigen Literatur der Karibik: Hybri­dität, Imagination und kreative Konstruktionen konkreter Lebenswelten", in: Ralph Pordzik / Hans Ulrich Seeber (eds.), Utopie und Dystopie in den neuen engli­schen Literaturen, Heidelberg: Winter 2002, 233 – 259
  • Müller, "'Reaching for the Ska': The Hybrid Reconstruction of Black British History in the Musical The Big Life", in: Sigrid Rieuwerts (ed.), History and Drama. Essays in Honour of Bernhard Reitz, Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag 2006, 210-228
  • Müller, "Realist Plays by the Angry Young Men and Kitchen-Sink Drama: John Osborne's Look Back in Anger and Arnold Wesker's Chips with Everything", in: Sibylle Baumbach / Birgit Neumann / Ansgar Nünning (eds.), A History of British Drama. Genres – Developments – Model Interpretations, Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier 2011, 267-284
  • For more texts on this topic, cf. parts 6 – 8 in the list of Professor Müller's publications (http://www.fb06.uni-mainz.de/anglistik/46.php).

Particular attention within British Studies is given to Scottish Studies, a research area established in our faculty by Professor Müller's predecessor Professor Drescher in 1981. When it became evident that Professor Drescher could not continue his work, Professor Müller took over the Scottish Studies Centre (http://www.fb06.uni-mainz.de/englisch/183.php) and reinvigorated the Scottish Studies Newsletter in 2011 (http://www.fb06.uni-mainz.de/englisch/Dateien/SSN_38.pdf). The Newsletter will be published bi-annually and provide readers with information on important developments in Scottish Studies. Professor Müller has added the new sections '(New) Media in / on Scotland' and 'Education Scotland', which deal with the ways in which current topics of political, economic, or cultural interest are dealt with in the media, and respectively with how plans or problems of education on all levels are discussed in Scotland and abroad. His colleague and co-editor of the Newsletter, Ron Walker, has added the sections 'New Scottish Poetry' and 'Scottish Award Winners'. The Newsletter is available in a print version and on the internet.

In 2013, Professor Müller and his team organised a conference on 'Scotland 2014: Coming of Age and Loss of Innocence?' which focused on questions and issues raised in connection with the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. Exemplary results of this conference are available in:

Translation Studies

Professor Müller took part in setting up the studies course 'Literarisches Übersetzen' at Düsseldorf University in the 1980s, in which he was active until 1994, and he has been interested in translation theories and practice ever since. He has also translated literary and scholarly texts himself and focused on the development from modern to post-modern and cognitive translation theories.
Exemplary texts of this research area are:

  • Herwig Friedl / Albert-Reiner Glaap / Klaus Peter Müller (eds.), Literaturübersetzen: Englisch. Entwürfe, Erkenntnisse, Erfahrungen, Tübingen: Narr 1992 (Transfer. Düsseldorfer Materialien zur Literaturübersetzung, Bd. 4)
  • Müller, "Transferring Culture in Translations – Modern and Postmodern Options", TTR – Traduction, Terminologie, Rédaction. Études sur le texte et ses transformations VIII, 1, 1995, 65 – 83
  • Müller, "Optional and Obligatory Alternatives in Teaching Literary Translation Within the Hermeneutic Contexts of Literary Practice”, in: Albrecht Neubert / Gregory M. Shreve / Klaus Gommlich (eds.), Basic Issues in Translation Studies. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Translation Studies, Leipzig 1991, Kent 1996, 369 - 381 (Kent Forum on Translation Studies II)
  • Müller, "Translating the Canadian Short Story into German", in: Luise von Flotow / Reingard M. Nischik (eds.), Translating Canada, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press 2007, 53-78
  • For more texts on this topic, cf. parts 2 – 3 in the list of Professor Müller's publications here.

Irish Studies

Professor Müller began his university career with a Ph.D. thesis on James Joyce (accepted for publication by Hanser, Munich, at a time when he did not intend to take up this career and, therefore, foolishly did not accept their offer). His interest in everything connected with Irish culture began long before that and has continued ever since. Story telling in a sublime way was evidently achieved by Joyce, but clearly the art of the seanchaí (or in the English spelling of the Irish word for a storyteller shanachee) did not end with him but has continued in many Irish artists, remarkably well, e.g., in the novels of Patrick McCabe and the films of Neil Jordan.
Exemplary texts of his research in this field are:

  • Müller, Epiphanie. Begriff und Gestaltungsprinzip im Frühwerk von James Joyce, Frankfurt: Lang 1984 (Literaturwissenschaft, Theorie und Geschichte, Bd. 5)
  • Müller, "David Hare", "David Hume", "Patrick McCabe", "Harold Pinter", in: Eberhard Kreutzer / Ansgar Nünning (eds.), Metzler Lexikon Englischsprachiger Autorinnen und Autoren, Stuttgart / Weimar: Metzler 2002 (paperback reprint 2006), 261 – 262, 287 – 288, 390 – 391, 457 – 459
  • Müller, "Inszenierte Welten bei Patrick McCabe und Neil Jordan: Medien, Metaphern und mentale Schemata", in: Thomas Koebner / Fabienne Liptay (eds.), Neil Jordan, München: edition text + kritik 2009 (Film-Konzepte 16), 28-39.