Friday, January 20, 2006

Added drag

Just reading Small Milestones on Acade(me). She writes about her dealing with a mass of foreign language materials that she sorted through. With my renewed drive to get published, I had decided (in part at the urging of the illustrious B*) the easiest first step would be to condense my dissertation and submit it for publication in a journal.

I came to the conclusion that there really wasn't much point in my trying to get the dissertation published as a book in its own right. First, because it already is published with UMI/Proquest; Second, because a book would head off in different directions from the dissertation; Third, because I don't lack for book ideas, which would be more appealing to me, and likely more broadly interesting to a readership.

So, I did a selection from the diss, culling about 300 pages of text down to about 120. (That's not necessarily a fair comparison, since the required formatting of the diss makes the page count look inflated.) But I still need to cut another 2/3 of that. So, I started to edit. The immediate realization I came to is, well, there is some recent scholarship that I ought to include in the article, including a good deal of material that (in hindsight) I probably should have included in my dissertation.

Of course, as I wrote about a week ago (Silence is definitely NOT golden), my committee's lack of commentary was astounding. I suppose if they had done their work, these absences may have been pointed out to me before I filed. Then again, perhaps I'm just being overly critical of the work.

In any case, I feel a need to review these materials, and work through them, to incorporate as much as possible into anything I send out now for publication. Thus my hope to have something to send out this week is being delayed. The stumbling block -- or should I say the added drag on my race car -- is that just about all of these materials are in a foreign language. Granted it's the language that I needed competence in to even do my dissertation. But, my reading speed is significantly slower than in English.

I will have at it nonetheless. Perhaps this process will take me further down the road towards mastery of the langauge, which I would very much like to have anyway.

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