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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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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Andiamo, amici!

I've just returned from a quick trip to the local research library to track down a few outstanding citations for my dissertation. This mostly consisted of double-checking page numbers, but it also involved calling up a scholarly work in Italian that I had never in fact read to begin with: I'd come across its title and description in the INRU library catalogue, determined that it dealt with exactly the subject I was discussing in one small portion of my dissertation, and threw the citation into a footnote. It's not a make-or-break reference, since I have other sources, but given that the subject in question is, in fact, an obscure bit of Italian intellectual history, it seemed cool to have an actual Italian source. But of course I'd never gotten around to checking the thing out.

Now, I should say here that my Italian is better than my Latin only because Italian is a) an infinitely easier language, and b) much closer to French (which I can read well, understand passably, and speak haltingly and with a terrible accent). So I wasn't sure how well this whole project would go, but it wound up being rather fun. Every individual section I tried to read was really quite easy to understand, but skimming was hard and I found it difficult to get a quick sense of a given passage just by glancing at it--the key words don't pop out in a foreign language the way they do in English, and I'm not even certain that I would know what those key words would be, this subject is so esoteric. Nevertheless, I did succeed in finding a few large chunks of text that seemed relevant and that will do as citations for the meanwhile.

And I think again how much I wish I were fluent in some language other than English, or even just comfortable getting around in it. I feel like such a fraud for the large chunks of Latin that I cite in one chapter, and if I'm to stay in this field I REALLY need to work that language back up at some point--but where's the time? And how would I start?

link | posted by La Lecturess at 2:49 PM |


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