2021: Exam Year, Reading Year

Hello, friends!

I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging a bit about my PhD exams reading. As you know if you’ve followed me at all, I’m not great at sticking to a schedule, but I think that writing about the books I’m reading for my exams would be a helpful way to study, and doing it blog-style could be fun! If you’d like a ~weekly glance into my exams prep and reading, would you drop me a comment and say so? Knowing that even a few people are interested would help my motivation greatly!

What even are PhD exams? Well, they vary between subject and field, but basically this is when you do all the reading that makes you an Expert™ in your field. My field is 18th century British and American literature, so this year I’ll be reading all the major canonical works by British and American writers from roughly 1700-1830 (with a few outside exceptions at either end). I thought blogging about this would be particularly interesting as 18th century literature is under-read compared to the Victorians.

I haven’t yet officially begun my reading, as the first draft of my list is currently under review by the chair of my exam committee,* so for now I’m tackling Tom Jones and will continue to contemplate what this series might look like. I’m imagining a combination of book reviews, close looks at particular literary trends, discussions of the process, etc.

(And maybe in the mix I’ll finally finish those back-reviews I promised last summer).