Book-project Progress

It is the last day of July; next week, I will turn away from daily work on Domestic Issue in favor of getting things ready for the new semester, which begins in three weeks.  So, mostly just for me (but also, obviously, for anyone who happens to come upon this post), I thought I’d post a little “How I Spent My Summer, Scholarship-Wise” post.

When the summer began, I had originally thought that by this time I’d have finished long ago the prologue (what I’ve been calling “the Columbus chapter”) and then moved on to the real meat of the project.  I’d assumed this because I’d thought the prologue was actually pretty much done–it just lacked the working in of some material that had recently come to my attention, but the overall shape and argument of the chapter (tl;dr version: Europe’s naming this hemisphere “New World” is sucky; our calling ourselves “New World” is way cool) would remain intact.  Well.  You know what happens when you assume.  As it turned out, that new material–in particular, Brazilian critic Silviano Santiago’s description of Latin American cultural space as o entre-lugar (“the space in-between”), Alessandra Russo’s discussion of the untranslatable in early new World art (discussed here) and the idea of the land as a character in New World literature–and, I end up arguing, the starting-point for discussing New World culture (discussed here)–ended up shaping and complicating (in a good way, I think) the chapter’s overall argument.  All of this slowed down the putting-words-on-the-screen part of writing; for much of this time, I was doing a lot of thinking, reading and rereading things, and generally trying not to sound “dumb or confused,” as I put it on a Facebook post a couple of weeks ago.

So, I’m only now getting close to wrapping up the prologue (I hope to finish it over the weekend).  I had thought it would be around 20 pages long, but with the new material it is presently at 42 full pages and will probably grow to be a few pages longer over the weekend.  But the end of drafting it is in sight; what remains will be editing and cutting redundancies, and perhaps some rearranging of material.  As I said earlier, I’d thought and hoped to have moved on from the prologue long before now, but in retrospect I’m glad I have spent the time on it that I did.  Not only is the prologue better than it would have been, this new material will also benefit the later chapters where I actually start doing some readings of texts.

Thus, it’s been a good, productive summer for this project, I’d say.  Now: To see if I can’t squeeze in some reading and writing time once the semester begins.

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