Monday, March 13, 2006

Wanted: Historian

This morning I finally finished my woefully overdue special topics reading list.

It's long. It's really long. It's freakishly long.

I ended up doubling the number of novels I'm reading and I'm actually reading poetry too. Honestly, the best part of constructing the list was looking at the fiction -- I found some kick-ass novels and shorter works that I can't wait to read. I posted a query on the Victoria list and the feedback was wonderful. Expanding the non-fiction section was more of a challenge -- the "usual suspects" (Carlyle, Arnold, Burke, Paine) only go so far, so I ended up doing a lot of speed-scanning of works online to see if they were appropriate, and I'd never before realized the beauty and genuis of subject headings in library catalogues -- such a time saver.

Secondary sources were trimmed and then expanded. Much of my old research centred around sociology, but I'm more interested in historical-literary aspects so I ended up scanning a whole whack of new works and cross-checking far too many books and articles. I felt most retarded in this area: how do you compile worthy historical sources when you're not a historian? The answer: lots of scanning of book reviews, current journals, reference databases and journals. In other words, lots of work that would be much nicer if one was able to hire a historian as a researcher. Alas, such indulgences are not yet financially feasible (although I heartily welcome any volunteer historian or librarian assistance).

In the end, I'm pretty happy with it -- the scope has widened considerably, but I think it's the dissertation list. From this point onward, anything I add will be complimentary rather than constituent. That's a good feeling, especially when the damned list took so long to put together.

In other news, the hubster's recent automobile collision situation has been resolved. Our car was a total write-off, so we received a lovely cheque from the insurance company (for more than I predicted we would get) and today we found a new car after just one phone call. It was also very sunny and lovely today, so things are generally looking up.
doctor T 6:55 p.m. | 4 comments |