Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Facing the Reality of a Two Month Deadline

I had a long conversation (like, 4 hours) yesterday with a prof here at Berkeley who has been very supportive of my project. He pointed out that with 2 months to go, the most important chapter to write is the Catherine Walsh chapter, not the Seamus Heaney chapter (since Walsh's work is directly part of my argument, and the Heaney chapter was insisted on by a committee member who is concerned about me getting jobs). I've been loath to listen to this prof's advice to leave out the Heaney and Boland chapter entirely, because I had done a lot of work on it 2 summers ago, and I feel like I need to throw together as many things that I already have as possible. That, and without that chapter, my dissertation starts to feel slight and narrow.

So, I just need to check in with my other committee members about this, and then just commit to Walsh. And maybe Mills, a poet whom I really love but the other committee members who know the field are less interested in.

This dissertation, because I cannot afford to continue after March 28th, will not be what I wanted it to be. I simply do not have time to make it the comprehensive, in depth work I wanted it to be. I just have to accept this. The part I hate about this is that the only people who will read this dissertation and judge it in its current form are my committee members and any job search committees. In other words, the people who determine my academic future. If I have one.

Got stuck doing publishing work today (on a dissertation day). Spent the day using Amazon, Goodreads, Books In Print (Bowker), and Bookscan (Nielsen) to look up books people who like our books might like and their sales figures. Amazing how long it takes.

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