Turns out, like a fool, that I’m going out tonight – so I’ll be late watching the Great British Bake Off final. I will, however, be recapping it! But maybe not very promptly.
One of the other things I’ve promised you is a bit more insight into my DPhil, now that it’s over. I started it in the autumn of 2009, a couple of years into Stuck-in-a-Book, so since then it has been a constant companion to my blogging, and many of the books I’ve read for my DPhil have appeared here. You might be surprised at how many haven’t been related; when I decided to go back and do some graduate study, one of my main self-stipulations was that I’d still have time for recreational reading. Books and reading mean too much to me to have them exist only as part of an academic apparatus. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons it took four years rather than three, but better four contented years of enjoying reading than three miserable years of hating it, I think you’ll agree!
It felt astonishingly good to finish. I enjoyed most of my time doing my DPhil, and I’m definitely glad I did it, but I was also very much ready to finish. It’s mentally exhausting, and quite isolating, and I’m looking forward to having colleagues and shorter deadlines!
It’s difficult to know where to start in explaining the 92,957 words I handed in (and the 70,000 or so words which got cut along the way), so I’ve decided the easiest way is to give you a one-sentence summary and the contents page, so do ask about any bit which interests you!
In one sentence… my thesis was about middlebrow novels between the world wars which used the fantastic (i.e. set in the real world, but something supernatural happens) and sought to explore connections between manifestations of the fantastic and social anxieties affecting the middlebrow reader.
And now the contents page (I’ve cut out page numbers). If you see typos, don’t tell me!
may be not one marvel to speak of in a century, and then […] comes a plentiful
crop of them’
the Middlebrow and the Middlebrow Place
into kinds’: between the brows
role of the Book Society
‘Adventures of the everyday are much the most interesting’: Finding Room for
the Domestic Fantastic
inheriting the Gothic
motive a commonplace of tea-time chat’: the middlebrow Freud and the fantastic
language of psychoanalysis
Vixen’: Marriage and Metamorphosis
“Creative Thought Creates”: Childlessness and Creation Narratives
can touch nothing without delicately transforming it’ :
stereotypes of the witch
herself’: Laura’s independent space
really a part of the house, or are we dreaming?”: Fantastic Novels as
–After the Second World War