Sunday, December 30, 2007

Slice and Dice

The process of cutting the dissertation to a manageable size continues. It's moving along, but never as quickly as one would like. I've managed to cut about 80 pages since beginning the operation, about 60 of which have been in the past two weeks (when I was hoping to do 100 pages a week).
In some ways, the cutting is not all that hard. I put an uncut version of the manuscript in a separate directory before starting to cut, so that nothing is actually lost. I expect to use a lot of what I'm cutting in conference papers and articles, so I am not feeling too sentimental about leaving out valuable data.
On the other hand, I'm reluctant to remove anything I might still want to use in the dissertation itself, so this makes the process slower. Yesterday I had every intention of chopping out a page of chronology notes about the formation of the Prague surrealist group, but when it came right down to it I had that feeling that I still needed it sitting in the text where I could easily refer to it. Decisions like that meant that instead of chopping the desired 10 pages or so from the chapter, the result was only 2. They will, however, eventually go. And my account of the Prague surrealist group in the 1930s is considerably improved over what it was yesterday morning.
It does irk me, I confess, that our spring semester ends at the start of May rather than in June. This means I have only two months left to finish all my edits and rewrites (deadline: March 1). It can be done and I intend that it will be done, but it will be a tiring endeavor.

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Blogger peacay said...

I'm sure the job is never quite so easy, profitable, enlightening and enjoyable as it seems to be with hindsight, but the reductionist phase associated with any academic task always struck me later as being the most rewarding both in terms of what I learned as I went through things and because it was a huge help in getting large picture issues resolved one way or another in my head. (My experience doesn't extend to a diss. so maybe I'm doing a bit of projecting here)

I guess forward progress is always a good thing in any event.

Also: p'raps Ma'am is employing the wrong tool? I imagine there are some post-xmas sales going on that include chainsaws ;- )


ps. Hope the sibling like the Bib book - if they are feeling in any way blissed and philanthropic *he says, cocking head on side, smiling, with left eyebrow slighty raised*, they could always toss a small review on Amazon....just a thought.

December 31, 2007 1:06 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

You've beaten me on getting out the holiday greetings (cards mostly but not all sent, emails planned for tomorrow but I guess I'll have to send you something other than the rabbits-under-tree photo).

Agreed on the reductionism... though toilsome, it's a good thing. Still, perhaps the chainsaw can wait a bit though my mother would probably back you up on that suggestion.

We'll see about that book review (what, there aren't hundreds yet? I must take a look).

December 31, 2007 6:48 AM  

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