All entries for March 2006

March 27, 2006

Monday, 27 March

So no surprise: work has really started to falter since the weekend. Bah.

Back to basics.

Pasted a whole chunk of text from my Christmas essay today, went through, divided into new subheadings, and made some corrections. Other than that, nothing. I have almost 4,000 words written — but the bad news is that I have to find almost that much again to span it out into the required chapter length. Hrm.

Back to the drawing board on that one, then. I reckon I can probably account for 1500–2000 of what I require but could have a problem getting beyond that. The answer may lie in getting more to grips with the Eclogues, but I'm not sure.

Good news is that unless the expansion is a complete disaster, I should be able to get this finished by the end of the vacation and spend the ten weeks of summer term researching and writing Chapter IV.

22:14 update: salvaged something of the day by adding over 600 words on the revolution of Cola di Rienzo in the Sine Nomine and in the Carmen; picked up on a connection between Cola in BC V and the "golden child" of Ecl IV, which was a nice morale boost.

Could be difficulty in linking to the Avignon polemic when next I return to this but for now I can just enjoy things looking rosier than a sunset blancmange.

March 25, 2006

Saturday, 25 March

Managed a respectable 700 words on my chapter today, even if they were mostly copied in the form of hefty quotations or pasted from the essay I wrote before Christmas. Still, any progress is good progress.

As things are, the discourse is a little meandering and I'm not convinced it won't need serious revisions later on. Currently reviewing the thematic links between the Bucolicum Carmen and Petrarch's Liber Sine Nomine, which required a half-hour's catch-up reading.

For now, I suppose I'm just looking to accelerate as quickly as possible to talking about the poems themselves, which is where things should be most straightforward. All being well, I should be able to get to that point tomorrow.

In other news from the Junkyard: I have added a second gallery of photographs taken when Kate and I climbed Arthur's Seat on Wednesday. Seeing as a couple of readers seemed impressed by the picture included in yesterday's entry, I thought it was maybe worth throwing up a few others here and there. Enjoy.

March 24, 2006

Friday, 24 March

Completed, in 400 words, the Introduction to Chapter III. Total count is about 800.

Myself, standing 250 metres above the city of Edinburgh, March 2006

Should be no significant [that is, longer than a whole day] interruptions to writing till next weekend, when I'm planning on returning home [near Portsmouth] for a few days. Few midweek shifts at Learning Grid shouldn't stop me ploughing on through this little nasty.

Enjoyed muchly time spent in Edinburgh with Kate this week. I returned home nursing still the heels which carried me up and over its many miles of slanted landscape, moistening still the lips which had been dried to old wallpaper by a fierce north-wind and mastering still the heebie-jeebies which kept me from venturing on one of the city's infamous graveyard tours.

Small feature on Gavin Douglas [16th-century poet who translated the Aeneid into vernacular Scotch] in the Museum of Scotland has got me thinking about the possibility of doing some research on English translations of Virgil. Will bounce off Andrew whenever it is our paths next cross.

I hope that tomorrow will bring — for the first time in a long time — back-to-back entries in the Intellectual Junkyard.

March 19, 2006

Sunday, 19 March: five 'o' clock update

300 words! Believe that we're away!

Sunday, 19 March

Almost two weeks without a blog entry = two weeks without really working.

Though, I am back on it once again today. What time that wasn't spent at Kate's house in Stoke-on-Trent this past week was used to creep down a number of different blind alleys, reading books that — although useful in a general sense — are not strictly relevant to the chapter I am [still] preparing to write. After a mini breakthrough on Friday I have managed now to draw a scanty plan together.

My previous question, I realised, was rather missing the point — I was too hasty with it. Now, the chapter is explaining how the influence of Virgil is evident in the representation of political [nationalist] ideology in the Bucolicum Carmen. What is rather good is that I should be able to lift much of the main body of the chapter from the preliminary essay I wrote at Christmas, though it will require explaining and elaborating to fatten it from 2,500 words to more like 7,000. Still, it's a bit of a weight off and renews my failing faith in the prospect of this thing being written by two weeks into the summer term. Say, four or five weeks?

I have been struck by the fact that I probably won't be able to stretch to a whole chapter the strictly "poetic" imitation of Virgil in the Bucolicum Carmen, which was to be the third chapter that I spend the summer term writing. I think I will have to amalgamate with the one on "concepts of the pastoral genre" in the Eclogues and the BC. So I'm currently working to a scheme of five chapters of 7,000 words each, plus Introduction, Conclusion [?], Bibliography. Thankfully, I have discovered from Zahra that nothing will be lost from my failing to hand the whole thing in on 30 September, although I am advised [and obviously, of a mind] to try to have it done as soon as possible, and not budget for an extra year.

Have heard much encouraging talk from the lecturers about PhD study after this, even if my plan of taking at least a year to brush up my skillz [numchuk, computer hacking] and research a thesis is set inexorably. Once I hump the weight of this thing off my shoulders at the end of the year I shall be in no state to carry on another three.

Kate and I are going to Edinburgh tomorrow, till Wednesday. It seems likely I'll have more recent daguerrotypes to upload to my Blog gallery next weekend. After we return, I should have at least a full solid week to finally make good on my promises to work hard this vacation.

March 08, 2006

Wednesday, 08 March

For anybody who's been left wondering: yes, I did finish my chapter this weekend after six arduous weeks of writing. I say "finished" — I haven't written the last couple of sentences, because I haven't quite worked out what they should say. Right now, I close with a less-than-favorable judgement along the lines of "many modern readers would deem that the Bucolicum Carmen is written more in the spirit of commentator than of poet," and I'm yet to fathom how I'm going to spin it into something more positive.

As far as I'm concerned, anyway, that's finished.

I emailed Andrew on Monday morning to let him know, but have up to now heard nothing back. I have mentioned that I'm in no hurry to have him read it — seeing as he has looked at it as a work-in-progress more than once in the past couple of months. Still, I may drop by his office tomorrow afternoon to talk about the chapter I want to try to write over the coming vacation. Currently, I plan to build it around some question loosely resembling how does the representation of political ideology differ in Virgil's Eclogues and in the Bucolicum Carmen? My idea is to scrape a plan together tomorrow while at work. Heh.

The last two days, unfortunately, have been lost to an exultant squandering of my time. I know that I can't really afford to spend much more time than I already have just aimlessly drifting; I firmly intend [against my nature] to crack on again before — erm — Friday..?

March 01, 2006

Wednesday, 01 March

So I may have mentioned that I've been called in to work at the BioMed Grid this evening. Rather than go on to campus for Greek 12–1 and then spend the next six hours sloping around trying to get some work done, I opted to continue with the set translations of Socrates' suicide from home and use the afternoon to sit and write my Servius chapter instead.

600 words is hardly anything to be proud of in a good few hours' work, but I believe nonetheless that I have the thing almost killed off, at last. With my present word-count at 5,500 I intend to add another 500 words or so on metaphors of patronage in the Bucolicum Carmen along with a relatively brief conclusion — something I wrapped up rather nicely in my head earlier this afternoon, I feel.

The main problem I have encountered — all the way through this chapter, really — has been my inability to decide on the parameters of the topic and subsequent agonising over what to include and what to omit lest I leave myself short in those that I've still to write [on politics, on poetics]. I probably wasted an hour when I started today in just such a bind. I hope that with the chapters to come I am able to compile a more detailed plan than I was for this one…

Anyway, my target is to have the chapter all finished by this coming Monday. If I manage a few hours' work on Friday, Saturday, Sunday then this should [I stress] be achievable. If I'm not proved hopelessly naive [moreso], then I'll have missed my self-imposed 23 February deadline by only about ten days — which I wouldn't consider a despicable failure. Probably. From there, the plan would be to try to finish off a second chapter, ideally before the start of summer term.

Please, please. Don't laugh.

March 2006

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