Jessica Syers

Thesis title: Satire in the Neopicaresque Novel


Jessica holds an MA in Modern European Languages (German and Spanish) and an MSc. in Comparative and General Literature from the University of Edinburgh. She has also undertaken exchange semesters at the University of Vienna in Austria (2009), and the University of Granada in Spain (2010).

In addition to her work in research and teaching, Jessica has been a peer reviewer for Forum (the University of Edinburgh’s postgraduate journal of arts and culture) and co-convened the LLC Work In Progress seminar series during the academic year 2015-2016.

Jessica also holds a TEFL qualification, and spent a year teaching English in Tianjin, China prior to the commencement of her postgraduate studies.


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

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

Undergraduate teaching

Jessica teaches first and second year literature in the German and Hispanic Studies departments. 

On the German 1b course she teaches tutorials covering texts by 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 is also involved in the organisation of the German 4 dissertation conference.

For Spanish 1b and Spanish 2 tutorials, Jessica teaches 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-francoist novels (Javier Marías and Arturo Pérez Reverte), detective novels (Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Eduardo Mendoza), Community and Conflict in Latinamerica (Mario Vargas Llosa and Claudia Piñeiro), latinamerican poetry (Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, and Rosario Castellanos), and the latinamerican roadmovie (Fernando Solanas and Alfonso Cuarón). These classes are all taught and assessed in Spanish.

Research summary

Jessica’s doctoral research project is a comparative study of satire in the neopicaresque novel. By analysing the use of satire in examples of neopicaresque writing from Britain, Germany, Spain, and the US, her project explores the resurgence of picaresque narratives in European and American fiction during the mid-twentieth century, and seeks to re-evaluate the significance of the picaresque novel as a transnational and transhistorical literary trend.

Current research interests

Jessica's broader research interests include the history of the novel, comic and satiric theory, and comparative theory.

Current project grants

Wolfson Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities (2014-2017)

Past project grants

Santander Masters Scholarship (2012-2013)
Edinburgh LLC School Award (2012-2013)
Stevenson Scholarship in Spanish (2010)