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So this idea of this sort of reflective peek behind the curtain.And in fact, the podcast format itself, were those in the game plan from the beginning?
They were, the podcast part especially because I had, I had kind of a real one day, this one day and the summer of 2016, I was out walking and listening to this American life.
And it was an episode in which Ira Glass and Hannah Jaffe Walt, were talking about their work life balance in their 30s, which was like, exactly where I was, I had just turned 30, I was trying to figure out what to do with my professional life.
But once I arrived, the prospect of a professorship began promptly to fade from view, like the Gothic ghost that it is.
And now I’m trapped here in this Gothic castle known as grad school, with its intricate system of locked passageways, trap doors and dead ends, all lorded over by the mysterious Cult of the profession.
You totally do not have to be a literary scholar, to understand and to, in fact, enjoy this podcast. It’s as if I’ve been lowered into a mind maze, or like the heroines of the literary genre that developed contemporaneously with the Enlightenment, the Gothic novel, maybe I’ve been lowered into a crumbling ancient castle.
What led me to this place is the prospect of a life devoted to literature of professing it as a career.And like those breastfeeding readers enraptured by the illicit world of the Gothic and the 18th and 19th centuries, you’re invited along to witness my own daring Ph D adventure, because this is my Gothic dissertation. But I want to share an interview that I just did with her this morning.Like I said, this thing is hot off the presses so hot, in fact that the final episode has not yet been produced, because that’s the episode where Anna Williams defends her dissertation. And then I’m also going to share a chapter that she did on the novel Frankenstein, because I think it’s a really interesting reading that she does, and it’s a lot of fun to listen to.This guide will provide you with quick links to resources that may be helpful in completing your assignments for LMUS 3103A. Just keep in mind these are NOT the only materials available to you. Williams’ witty writing and compelling audio production allow her the double move of making a critical intervention into the study of the gothic novel, while also making an entertaining and thought-provoking series for non-experts.It’s the job of these five people to advise me over the next months, or more likely years as I write my dissertation, which is the only thing standing between me and my doctorate in English.What we’re here to discuss today, isn’t my dissertation per se, but rather my prospectus, a Microsoft Word document spanning anywhere from six to 20 pages that describes the dissertation, the one I haven’t written yet.And they were both talking about how much they love their job, they love making radio, and how difficult it was to balance that with raising children and, and having friends and that kind of thing.And I was thinking like, God, I, maybe this is an unusual response.It’s a study of the Gothic novel, something that many literary critics, like Williams have studied in the past. And she uses the Gothic novel as a venue as an avenue into a critique of graduate school itself.So it’s sort of this narrative about being a graduate student about that the actual practice of writing a dissertation, and how that experience is, in itself, a very Gothic style experience. And it’s a peek behind the curtain into what grad school is really like.