Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prospectus, Part the second

Reading, revising, reading, revising, reading, revising. Time well spent, I hope.

It’s exciting, actually to be on the brink of beginning to become intimately familiar with a writer’s entire work. I also think it will become necessary if I’m to make any kind of serious statement about the poet’s relationship to the phenomenon of space/nature/landscape. I need to begin (in the summer, probably) undertaking a survey of Rilke's works, particularly the prose ones. I feel like I'm skootching closer to a project that I'll be happy spending my next few years thinking about, which is thrilling and dizzying.

Anxieties still abound, though. A brief list:
  • I really bristle at the idea of getting caught thinking too much about author intentionality.
  • I bristle even more at the idea of finding myself arguing along Freudian/psychological lines.
  • I also sometimes wonder whether I'm cut out for this work. I'm reminded of an old adviser's words: "If I had it to do over, I would definitely have chosen career over family." Do you have to have that unwavering devotion (obsession?) with work to succeed in this field? I've always thought that academia was a field that was specifically well suited to balancing work and life. Hopefully I'm not wrong? Can you be a 40 hour a week (and occasional weekend) academic?
  • I feel like I've actually gotten less smart since I came to grad school. That would be counterproductive, wouldn't it?