Dr Jessica Syers

Teaching Fellow in German Studies

  • German Section
  • Department of European Languages and Cultures
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Culture

Contact details



Room 2.08
50 George Square

Post code


  • Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm


Jessica graduated with a first class MA (Hons) degree in Modern European Languages: German and Spanish from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. She taught English and German in Tianjin, China before returning to Edinburgh to gain her MSc in Comparative and General Literature in 2013. She was awarded her PhD in Comparative Literature by the University of Edinburgh in 2022 with a thesis entitled: "Satire in the Neopicaresque Novel: The Committed Poetic in European and American Picaresque Fiction 1942-1962."

Jessica began teaching at the University of Edinburgh as a Spanish tutor in 2014. She has since taught literature and language across the Spanish and German undergraduate degree programmes. She currently teaches German literature and language.


PhD Comparative Literature, University of Edinburgh, 2022.

MSc Comparative and General Literature, University of Edinburgh, 2013.

MA Modern European Languages: German and Spanish, University of Edinburgh, 2011.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Events and Coordination Officer for the Edinburgh Cervantes Chair (Cátedra Cervantes) through Edinburgh Global.

Undergraduate teaching

Jessica currently teaches:

  • German 1A Oral Language Practical
  • German 1B Grammar
  • German 1B Text Production
  • German 1B Literature
  • German 2 Grammar
  • German 2 Oral Language Practical
  • German 2 Translation and Text Production

She is also course organiser for the Year Abroad Online Language Learning Course for German, and the departmental contact for Year Abroad Essays and Long Essays.

Past literature teaching has included (in German) Goethe, Kafka, Brecht, E.T.A Hoffman, and Christoph Hein, as well as films by Fatih Akin and Tom Tykwer, and German national anthems. She has also previously taught (in Spanish) modules on Spanish ballads (including texts by Quevedo, Góngora, and Lorca),  Golden Age poetry (Garcilaso de la Vega and San Juan de la Cruz), picaresque novels (Pío Baroja and Camilo José Cela), theatre and the Spanish Transition (José Sanchis Sinisterra), post-Franco novels (Javier Marías and Arturo Pérez Reverte), detective novels (Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Eduardo Mendoza), Community and Conflict in Latin America (Mario Vargas Llosa and Claudia Piñeiro), Latin American poetry (Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, and Rosario Castellanos), and the Latin American road movie (Fernando Solanas and Alfonso Cuarón).

Postgraduate teaching

Jessica organises and teaches a German Reading course for research students in the School of History, Classics, & Archaeology.

Areas of interest for supervision

Jessica is supervising a German 4th year long essay on Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.

Research summary

Jessica's research interests lie in picaresque and rogue literature, the history of the novel, and comparative theory. Her doctoral research explored the resurgence of picaresque narratives in European and American fiction during the mid-twentieth century, and evaluated the significance of the picaresque tradition as a transnational and transhistorical literary phenomenon. Her research involved the comparative analysis of eight novels from Britain, Germany, Spain, and the US in their original languages: Camilo José Cela's The Family of Pascual Duarte, Darío Fernández Florez's Lola A Dark Mirror, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, Thomas Mann's Confessions of Felix Krull, Günter Grass' The Tin Drum, Keith Waterhouse's Billy Liar, and Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.

Past project grants

Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities (2014-2017)
Santander Masters Scholarship (2012-2013)
Edinburgh LLC School Award (2012-2013)
Stevenson Scholarship in Spanish (2010)