Monday, December 21, 2009


I got my first two chapters back from my advisor with annotations today. I'm now grumpy. I knew handing it in that there were some considerable problems. I knew the form was bad, and that the points were not reached with clarity or even always purpose; and I'm trying hard to bear these things in mind while I mull over his recommendations. I cannot help but think I've significantly diminished myself in his eyes. Ultimately that doesn't matter, since the final product will redeem me (or I won't get a degree, I reckon).

But as seems always to be the case lately, I went home and the first thing I read applied directly to my worries. Here is Adorno from the second section of Minima Moralia:

[epigraph:] "Where everything is bad it must be good to know the worst." --F.H.Bradley

Memento -- A first precaution for writers: in every text, every piece, every paragraph to check whether the central motif stands out clearly enough. Anyone wishing to express something is so carried away by it that he ceases to reflect on it. Too close to his intention, 'in his thoughts', he forgets to say what he wants to say.

No improvement is too small or trivial to be worthwhile. Of a hundred alterations each may seem trifling or pedantic by itself; together they can raise the text to a new level.

He goes on to make several more good points, and I'm a little happier knowing much of my poor writing is my fault, rather than a result of my faults; that is, I don't think this is a problem of inadequacy but a sort of inattention.

And I didn't say anything nasty in that whole post! :)

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Way to remain calm! Yes, do avoid being nasty about anyone work-related on the internet. You never know when it will come back to get you. :-)

Sorry you are so frustrated. I hope things are looking up by now!