The halfway mark

Well well well—so much for that commitment to writing weekly submissions. But how interesting to reread my last post here and think about what has taken place in the four months since.

It has been a busy time, and is liable to get busier, as I have had the very good fortune to be offered a supported place in a newly instituted student exchange. But busyness and/or business are no excuse for laziness, and I shall reform myself.

I am now exactly a year through my MA program, and it is very strange to have time warp around me: I have already begun to feel the squeeze of my impending thesis deadline, simply because I started thinking about it.
It is times like these when a long hard morning of planning seems in order, and planning I shall do.

But it is the 1st of August, and I am definitely one of those people who is bolstered by notional New Beginnings. It’s improbably stupid, but there it is: I have made today a symbolic occasion, and woken up thinking, What ho, the first day of a new month? A fresh start! Time to resume blogging—and all that other stuff I’ve been meaning to do! Yes, codswallop, I know. But energy enough to be kicking along until the first of next month, at least, I should think.

Since this blog is ostensibly dedicated to my research project, I shall continue as I was before, making notes on my research practices and their relationship to my progress. I feel I should add that these notes themselves are original, but much of the inspiration for them is the fine work of others. I owe a great debt to the internet, and the wonderful people who propagate their ideas on the internet, especially academic bloggers, for supporting me through some very dark times, such as the vacuum of my past four silent months.

As I have mentioned before, I operate somewhere within the triangle formed by history, literature, and translation studies. By their very nature, all three fields are complementary, and all three also have certain amorphous tendencies. I expect that most graduate students can relate when I say that I felt pressured to assume a disciplinary position. However, this has ultimately been little more than a distraction, and I urge anyone writing a text-based dissertation to assume a disciplinary position only as much as is absolutely necessary, and otherwise just focus on your text, because it is quite simply the core of your studies. You see, it has taken me half of my program to complete a full translation draft—translation draft—of my text.

This is not true of all translation projects. Most people have the good sense to work with living languages, and are therefore much more likely to have access to help and support. Those of us who tread cautiously into the realms of premodern materials, on the other hand, are often left sitting in front of a computer screen for hours, just staring, because often there is no answer, and you must just make something up for the time being, make a note that you made it up, and return to it later, hoping that the hermeneutic circle has closed and imparted some sort of sense to what came before.

It will probably take me the other half of my program to finish the damn thing, but that’s as it should be.


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