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Late Spring To-Do List

  • Read scholarly book #1
  • Read scholarly book #2
  • Catch up on professional journals
  • Administer evaluations
  • Grade seminar research papers
  • Write two final exams
  • Grade final exams
  • Compute final grades
  • Order books for fall
  • Find apartment in New City
  • Attend INRU Commencement!

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Slog, slog

I think I've finally achieved breakthrough with those first two pages--they aren't perfect, but at least they're mostly doing what I need them to do.

Now I just need one tough, Big Argument paragraph to connect those first two pages with the following three pages, and then an elegant final paragraph, and I'll have an introduction. It's not yet time to start celebrating, but I should be able to do that this afternoon. Then I have to start revising the section on Less Important Text--about 10 pages, though I hope to expand it a bit.

I really didn't want to go to Schmancy yesterday, and in fact as I was hastily trying to dry my hair and put on lipstick in time to run out the door to catch the train I thought, "you know, I could just not go--and it's 8 a.m., and I'm already up and pulled together--and I could get SO MUCH DONE TODAY if I weren't spending four hours commuting." But the guilt got to me and so I went, planning to just make an appearance and sign in and leave early.

But in fact I had a very productive four hours or so--I looked up some citations and downloaded some articles; I revised most of my first page pretty successfully; and I continued looking at a really interesting work by my Ch. 3 author (otherwise known on this blog as Neglected Author). It's actually the work for which he was most famous in his lifetime, going through many revised editions in his lifetime and remaining popular long after his death, but it's virtually unread today. (If you go on ABE or Bookfinder you will NOT find any copies of the scholarly edition from the 1980s--which is of course what I was looking for--but you WILL find at least a dozen copies published during the author's lifetime. I found two first editions for under $1000--and bear in mind that this is a large, 2-volume work published hundreds and hundreds of years ago. When I start drawing a salary I may have to splurge; there's no other work of this magnitude available in a contemporary edition that I could ever come close to affording.)

And then I came home, hied myself out to the laundromat, washed a stack of dishes, took out the trash, and got a little more writing done.

As I was heading to the laundromat I looked around for a magazine to bring with me and realized . . . I didn't have any unread ones. And that's really been my only true leisure reading this summer--I haven't had enough down time to read any books for fun (on the train I take the NYT and a book or two relevant to my dissertation). And that made me so depressed, since summer is usually the time I catch up on my reading. I looked around my apartment--did I want to start Blood Meridian? Uh, too much of a commitment. That book on the social history of depression? Not really laundromat reading.

So I settled on Maria DiBattista's Fast-Talking Dames, which I've been wanting to read for years, and which I'd finally picked up a copy of about six months ago. I'm only some 30 pages in, so I can't comment more largely on the book's premises and argument, but it's on such a fantastic subject (the women in the movies of the 1930s and 1940s, especially screwball comedies), that I'd probably forgive quite a few sins. Here's the crucial jacket blurb:
The thesis of Maria DiBattista's Fast-Talking Dames is that the special invention of the '30s comedy is the verbal sass of its female characters. In other words, it's the wit, the speed, the freedom peculiar to the way these women talk that set them apart from the vamps and victims and hoydens of the silent period, that reflect the new economic and social realities of the era, and that--most important of all--lead to generous and happy unions within marriage. Good talk, in other words, leads to good sex--in fact, is a requisite for it.
--Robert Gottlieb, New York Times Book Review

Now tell me you don't want to run out and read it!

link | posted by La Lecturess at 11:20 AM |


Blogger Margo, darling commented at 12:19 PM~  

I totally want to read it. What's sexier than a fast talking dame? Hello, Rosalind Russell! Hiya, Ginger Rogers! Meeeooow.

Blogger BrightStar commented at 12:58 PM~  

good for you for going in!

Blogger Stewgad commented at 4:31 PM~  

Holy crap, you're productive! Cut it out! You're making the rest of us look bad! :)

No, really, congrats on the progress! Most impressive!

Blogger lucyrain commented at 4:32 PM~  

Blood Meridian by McCarthy? Ack. That novel traumatized me. TRAUMATIZED me. Realism, history, and extraorindary violence combined to give my subconscious fresh fodder for nightmares.

I can't believe I finished the godless tome.

(And I'm the gal who loves autopsy shows, horror films, and Stephen King novels.)

If you ever do read that horror of all horrors, turn bravely those pages, my friend. Turn them bravely.

Anonymous Anonymous commented at 10:57 PM~  

What do you mean you didn't start Blood Meridian?


Blogger La Lecturess commented at 1:26 AM~  

Yo, some men would consider themselves LUCKY to have a fast-talking dame...

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