Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chapter Four: “Hell is empty And all the devils are here”: The Absence of Devils in Shakespeare Revisions Complete

Yesterday I was planning on just completing copy edits and last looks on CH 4, but ended up doing more notes than that. Throughlines, and clarifications. It was more work than I planned, but good work.
This morning I typed up these final notes and finished my CH 4 revisions (this round at least) and sent off to my director.
At first, this revision was difficult for me because I really thought the initial chapter was good. As I sent off the second half of #DevilDiss in general I was feeling good about these chapters. I thought I'd really learned a lot from the first half and thought I had tracked those changes through.

So I was disappointed when initial notes said I had to reorganize the entire chapter. But here's the thing- being disappointed is not the same as thinking those notes aren't good.

In a lot of ways the revisions on this chapter was about chucking my preconceived notions ABOUT this chapter.
Initially, I didn't even think I'd have a "canon" chapter in the dissertation but I realized this past winter that the absence of devils in Shakespeare had to be addressed.
At first I didn't think I needed to address Macbeth because there were no actual devils in the play, but then I realized that Macbeth is ultimately revealed as the devil.
Because I spent a lot of time on talking about the other supernatural figures in Shakespeare's plays, which was important, because there's a lot of overlap, it was also page 15 before I got to my argument.
I ended up reorganizing the whole chapter around the subtopics of monsters, sorcery and witches, and ghosts. This enabled me to use scholarship on these other supernatural figures as a foundation and way in for discussing the subsumed devil figures in Shakespeare's plays.
I even ended up folding the fairies/demons bits into spirits under sorcery/witches.
I also ended up cutting madness as a separate subtopic, instead referencing it under ghosts/haunting.

I don't think I ever write with pre-formed arguments in mind, but I started working on this project in 2010, so I've had plenty of time to think about these things and sort the puzzle pieces. But as the above shows, I can still be surprised by things.

As my director suggested, I went back to the texts, reread the plays, remarked up the texts. I wanted to use a fresh copy, and have the new Bedford, but it was missing some plays so I returned to my Norton.

This chapter, more than others, needed much chunkier footnotes to show that I was aware of the field of Shakespeare scholarship. So there was that.

So this chapter had some pretty significant revisions. A complete overhaul in many ways. But the notes were really helpful, and I am happy with where it is.

Next Steps:
  • Today I will go through the four pages of notes I received for CH 5 the pamphlet chapter. I'll write on my copy the notes and some ideas to address. Then I'll start handwriting my revision notes. There are a lot of notes to fix, but not the complete overhaul CH 4 needed (or CH 1-3 needed). The biggest note is an expansion of one section to make my argument clearer. And I need to do some reframing with the intro.
  • Tomorrow the MLA joblist gets released.
    • I had told my committee members that I would send them my job market materials, the spreadsheet with all the jobs I'm applying to, and drafts of my dissertation so far.
      • Given that my feelings about drafts have not matched feedback, I confess to being nervous about sending them drafts that are not yet approved.
    • I feel good about my baseline job market documents. But I need to tailor those materials to specific ads.
    • Most of the job ads that I've looked at have deadlines of 15 October through 1 November. So the next six weeks will be busy.
      • I can't afford to stop dissertation revisions. I have notes on CH 5, and still need to revise my prospectus into an intro, and write a conclusion. I'm hoping to get the CH 5 revisions finished the next week or so then pivoting to job market full time until I get more revision notes.
      • I think what I'll do is keep working on #DevilDiss all day Monday and Wednesday and Tuesday and Thursday mornings but dedicate Fridays to job market work. If I need to change that to include TR mornings I will.
  •  I'm still waiting on CH 6 notes, and then notes on CH 1-3 my first round of revisions. The first round of CH 1-3 revisions is what determines, well everything- job market chances and defense date. Then I assume the CH 4, 5 revisions.
    • Because I don't have a timeline on these, I'm a bit adrift. I guess I'll plan on focusing on job stuff the next month and then the introduction and conclusion. Focusing on what's in front of me.
    • That means for good or ill, job market stuff (barring responding to new ads as they pop up) will be complete by 1 November.
    • That leaves November and after for focusing on whatever the next steps in revision are.
    • I'm not really sure how all of this works, but I assume at this point I just keep revising based on notes until the drafts are approved and I have a defense date.

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