All work and no play makes Midgardarts a DPhil… eventually

Rather than write the usual summary of my work over the last few months, which is rather tedious and unhelpful, I thought it would be better to remind myself what I am currently working on or what I should be working on, when I am not writing little entries for this deliberately obscure blog.

Thing I am waiting on:

Referee reports on two submissions from September last year. Both were with readers by December but as of June and July, neither of the editors has anything for me other than apologies. I appreciate the apology, even if it’s just a formality.

Feedback on a chapter submission from May. This is for an edited collection planned for a spring 2014 publication but I have no idea when I will hear anything from the editors (or editor, as I suspect only one of them is involved with the submissions themselves).

Other submissions for a collection of conference proceedings I (perhaps recklessly) agreed to edit. There are 10 papers considered for the collection but I only have one submission and two tentative commitments from others. I know at least one more intends to submit, since he was talking with the other editor in the series but I have not heard from his directly. This may be a tricky project as the deadlines were way too short when I got them and the other two volumes that precede this one are not done yet. I suspect I may ask to roll this collection into the 2012 volume and have that go in when ready. We will see. This isn’t the most efficient bunch of editors and the only reason I am involved in this is because I kept pestering the other editors about submissions, style guides, deadlines and the like.

Things I should be doing [mostly before I go back to Oxford]

Plan return trip: I have not figured out when I should be back in Oxford this fall. There may be some teacher training I should, or could, attend that is outside term and that would require a certain return time. I will need to contact the faculty in the hope that someone there actually knows what is happening and will tell me. I have little confidence that this will produce results.

Revise rejected journal submission: One of the papers I submitted last year (April 2012, to be precise) and which was rejected back in May, needs to be revised and submitted elsewhere. I don’t feel like doing this as the paper holds no interest for me anymore and I worry it will require some heavy re-drafting (which takes time and isn’t fun), but it should get re-submitted. I wrote the thing, it’s based on an MSc thesis that has done very little for me over the years, and I have only submitted this thing to one journal so far. That journal was the apex journal for the field so it’s no surprise that it was rejected. I didn’t appreciate the 18 months it took to get that rejection, but that shouldn’t stop me from submitting elsewhere. The best strategy is to avoid serious re-vision (and the reader’s reports did not suggest it anyway) and submit it to a more reasonable journal.

Clean up conference paper for submission: This is my own contribution to the conference proceedings mentioned above. The thing is mostly written but needs some tidying and the notes need some filling out. I will have to get someone to read this for me as the editor can’t edit himself (at least I don’t think they should).

Revise monograph outline and start on drafting: The monograph project, based on the MA thesis, and partly vetted by the publisher, is still a going concern. My talk with the publisher at Leeds suggested a slightly different focus and a tone. That requires a revised outline and I should have that and two sample chapters for the publisher by September. This is manageable and that revised focus makes it a little easier to frame and write. I do need to start on this in earnest as it often takes more time to do these things than I expect them to.

Get through as much KB27 as possible: I have not gotten very far yet. King’s Bench stuff is tedious and my Latin is still fairly poor so it’s slow going and I worry I am missing important things. I have, at least, a decent system for recording what I have looked through and while it isn’t the best system it will reduce duplicated effort later. I am about 8 rotuli short of finishing KB27/754 (crown side) and I have, for a reward, a case involving one of the more well known ‘criminal genry’ of the 15th century near the end. I had forgotten it was there.

Sampling KB27 will form one of the three central props of the thesis and will provide the bulk of the original source content. However, it is the most time consuming so I need to start on this early and get through it early so I can work out from it into other records (indictments, recorda files etc.) to develop case studies. I would like to have most of the 15th century done before term starts again.

Revise Dudley paper and add the book-list stuff: Back in December I wrote a short paper for a writing prize which I did not win. I did have a nice little paper for my efforts and now that I have some time to return to it I should revise it, add to it, and submit it before term starts. The addition is a proper transcription of an inventory of books once in the possession of John Dudley, Lord Lisle (later, briefly, Earl of Warwick), son of the Duke of Northumberland. The list was inaccurately transcribed in an early volume of the Manuscripts Commission and it is that version that later writers have used. It’s wrongness has not been noted and since the thing is at Oxford it was easy enough to see. It’s not the most important text but I have identified several titles from the list that previous writers have not and that’s worth trying to publish. Combine that with what I already have and I get a nice little paper for submission. But I do need to finish it.

Stuff I should read

Improbably, I have not actually read Maurice Keen’s 1984 classic Chivalry. I feel like I have read it, considering how often it is quoted and referenced but actual cover-to-cover reading has just started. Well, it’s almost done. It’s an easy read and because much of it is familiar I don’t have to read very carefully.

I am also reading A. J. Pollard’s The Wars of the Roses, now in it’s 3rd ed. (Palgrave, 2013). It’s a textbook but one that almost anyone who is learning about the period will have read at some point. Considering the odds that I will be teaching the topic some time next year, it’s worth reading this.

Amongst the other books that live here in Canada and which should remain, but also should be read, are bits of Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1641 (Oxford, 1965), mostly the parts about violence. Derek G. Neal, The Masciline Self in Late Medieval England (Chicago, 2008), and essays in Jeppe Büchert Netterstrøm and Bjørn Poulsen, Feud in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Aarhus, 2007) because my externals on the transfer project felt I under-emphasized feud as an element in the study (which I intend to continue to under-emphasize, but with more support).

I will probably take a few books back with me, although at this point I have not decided on what.

That’s about it from what I can recall. Most of this is ongoing work or revisions of things I already have. Some of the monograph drafting is from scratch but it’s manageable under current conditions. All I have to do is get back into the schedule and meet daily quotas for time and productivity. That’s easier said than done.

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