But one of the key bits of advice I received at my prospectus defense was to make sure that this project was clearly rooted in Milton. In fact one of the more pointed notes was that my title for the dissertation is "'Pondering his voyage': The Folkloric Origins of the Miltonic Satan" and that I didn't get to Milton until chapter five so I either needed to work Milton in earlier, add another Milton chapter, or drop Milton from the title. The first one is really the only option I saw as viable.
So that meant today was spent revisiting Paradise Lost. I ordered a clean copy of it a few weeks ago, wanting a fresh start from my other annotations, not wanting to be tied to old ideas. So this morning I sat down with my clean copy and lots and lots of Post-It flags.
- Blue = physical descriptions (chapter 1)
- Pink = personality and actions (chapter 2)
- Orange = drama (chapter 3)
- Yellow = English national identity (chapter 5)
I will then systematically go through each color/chapter and follow the same process. This will allow me to make sure all my work is grounded in Paradise Lost and make sure that these throughlines are clear in the work. It also allows me to reexamine the work I have done in the last year and focus on global revisions and not surface edits. I think this ultimately will get me where I need to be faster. It's a little more time consuming than just revising the survey chapters but I do think ultimately it will serve me better. Chapter three and four are in conference form, so these pulls should be less time consuming.
I'm feeling good about this perspective shift and hopefully it will prove fruitful.