PhD Update 5: Lockdown Edition


It’s been a little while since I had much to say for a substantive project update. I’m continually rather pressed for time, because the PhD deadline is looming and the continued stress of isolation and the pandemic hanging over everyone’s head means I’m far slower now than I normally would be. That’s okay – we’re all stressed, we’re all having a hard time. We will get through it.

So maybe just dot points this time?

  • There are now exactly 4 months left until my deadline.
  • A full draft of my PhD thesis now exists. There is much work to be done before it’s ready to be submitted – first on the line is merging what was previously chapters 1 and 2 into a megachapter covering all of Descartes’ theory of the passions. Why? Because it will make for a much clearer and more useful reference point for the rest of the project. Currently the new version is sitting at around 11k words – there’s still a fair bit of writing to be done, but the structure is coming together.
  • Since I first wrote the draft of this update, I’d spoken to my supervisor about the chapter. It’s going well, but I still can’t get out of the muck and the grind of getting the details right.
  • You might have noticed I’ve not posted much in the way of updates on the Chinese philosophy reading group. This is still going, but I’ve not been able to sit down to write out my thoughts in any length. At this point I’m hoping to come back to writing up a few posts about Confucian philosophy – especially Mengzi and Xunzi. I’ll do this as time permits.
  • I just finished reading Olga Tokarczuk’s Books of Jacob. It’s a true masterpiece, deserving of far more thought than I can afford to give it right now. An English translation by the brilliant Jennifer Croft is forthcoming next year from Fitzcarraldo Editions and I would encourage everyone to get it the day it’s out and to set aside the time. Though at times it’s hard going, it’s very much worth it.
  • The stack of books I’m working through at the moment is a bit fluid. I’ll try to give it some semblance of form and post a picture soon – or not. We’ll see.

New Writing!

My review of Huo Yan’s Dry Milk is now published at Mascara Literary Review, please have a read!

Works in Progress!

  • Thesis, always, forever, eternally.
  • Project Herzog (essay, criticism, on film)
  • Project Hardwick (essay, criticism, on literary criticism)
  • Project Rhyolite (fiction)
  • Project Crocoite (essay, academic, responding to a CFP)

Hope you’re staying safe.