On Plasticity: Book History Series Update

One of the most important traits I’ve worked to develop in graduate school is plasticity. Schedules change every term; life throws random things at you at the most inopportune times; working with students, faculty, and colleagues is invigorating and challenging in all the best ways, but also creates unanticipated challenges and dilemmas; administrators inform you that there are a handful of degree progress requirements nobody told you about; scholarship, conference, and professionalization opportunities present themselves and you have to drop everything to get your applications in on time.

Plasticity. Critical to making it through this crazy obstacle course.

Now that I’ve entered the dissertation stage of my program, plasticity means learning to recognize when I’ve overcommitted myself in extracurricular activities, service work, and even side-projects. My book history blog series has borne witness to my reluctance to recognize such overcommitment. In the past two months, I’ve fallen behind schedule and even failed to post.

Plasticity also means recognizing when I can reorient a particular project to do double-duty. Say, dissertation research and blog content.

So, with all of this in mind, I’ve decided to suspend the book history blog series for now and, in its stead, present a print culture blog series in which I look at and discuss elements of the 19C newspaper I’m working with for this dissertation chapter.  Two birds, one stone and all that.

Shifting my focus to Print Culture more broadly and to the study of one newspaper in particular will let me talk about things like illustration techniques, type face (if I’m brave enough), and periodical form and content.

So, starting next Friday, you can look forward to regular posts from me again. They’ll just be about 19C newspapers instead of books. But as many scholars recognize, it’s more accurate to call the Victorian period the age of the periodical than the age of the book, anyway.

 

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