Saturday, 28 October 2006

shameless self-aggrandisement

so, my examiners' report on my doctorate came through last week. It's a couple of thousand words so I shall c & p some highlights.

my writing is 'always competent and on occasion both moving and witty' though I must 'pay more attention to inelegant word repetition' which can 'demean my prose.'

There could have been 'a more thorough reckoning with the historiography' which suffers from some 'strange omissions,' and fails to 'engage with a more balanced collection.' Indeed at times my reading is 'pretty dated.' I could have done more reading in the anthropological and migration literature. In particular I suffer 'a continuining slight uneasiness with Italian civilian history.' This notwithstanding, my 'overall theses are pursued thoroughly and effciently and [my] conclusions are sensible and well made.'

I have failed to provide decent character portraits of the individuals who feature in my story, and they suggest that 'when she transposes the thesis into a book, she would be well advised to be more adventurous in this regard.' Another 'questionable omission' is Caporetto and my failure to explain it in great detail, which they suggest requires a seperate chapter.

'But we do not want a critical response to seem our main reaction as examiners,' they say, since in at last one respect I provide an analysis which has 'a profundity and sensitivity not replicated anywhere else in the scholarship. Her last chapter is a tour de force, [woohoo! yay for me] an integration of theoretical insights with empirical research and comparative points from other armies... which takes the debate about military morale onto fresh ground.'

They liked my range which they say is 'terrific' and especially they enjoyed the sections on 'songs, on officers' morale, on equipment, on siesta, on punishment, on Catholicism, on pay cuts, on the theory and practice of rotation' which they describe as highlights. 'In sum, she has written a fine thesis.'

Am pretty happy with all this as you can imagine. I now have a strategy for the thesis. I shall spend the next couple of months fixing their criticisms: a new chapter on Caporetto, some stylistic refinements, some specific tweaking of arguments, some biographical stuff on the relevant generals and politicians. Then I shall start sending it off to publishers. Yikes but also woo.


mattcr said...

woohoo! that all sounds great to me. the good points sound pretty darn good and the problems they've identified sound like they can be rectified


De Vertalerin said...

Wow, that's pretty complimentary stuff. Be nice to have a read of it some time.

I especially like the taking 'the debate about military morale onto fresh ground.' That's very impressive. And 'a profundity and sensitivity not replicated anywhere else in the scholarship.' Can you qiote them on the book blurb, I wonder?

punk70 said...


* (asterisk) said...

Well done. You are right to be pleased with yourself.

a.c.t said...

A tour de force, whoah, that's great. I'm about to embark on a TEFL Diploma which is going to take roughly 12-18 months. I'm a bit out of practice as I haven't written an essay for about 7 years but I'm really looking forward to it - there's nothing more satisfying than successfully finishing a long essay/thesis (well, er, I am exaggerating as I can actually think of a couple of things that are more satisfying, like looking at those pics of our lads for example, all greased up wearing tight pants with Italy flags on - is it just me or is it getting hot in here...)