The reading of Victorians’ autobiographies so far has been a very male-centred activity. There’s no mystery as to why - men got to do more interesting things than women, and were probably more likely to think their experiences were worth writing about, too. This week, I got to read the autobiographies of two only-child actresses - Julia Neilson (1868-1957) and Nancy Price (1880-1970). Despite the twelve-year age gap (and the almost identical gap between the publication of their autobiographies), it’s pretty likely that they crossed paths as they moved in the same circles, though I can’t find any conclusive evidence to back that up. They had in common that rare thing - being allowed to continue working on the stage after marriage - and that’s probably how they amassed enough experiences to write autobiographies.
This week, I went on the GRADSchool course - three intensive days of team activities and discovering what I’m suited to, what I’m good at, and how I work in a team. This post reflects on my experiences and emphasises the importance (in my view) of grad students going on courses such as this.
I say ‘Autobiographies of Victorians’ because while the events the authors describe happened in Victorian times, they actually wrote them down in the 1920s/30s. This is a hazard of concentrating on people BORN between 1850 and 1945ish, and whether I’ll need to amend that so I can include autobiographies actually written in Victorian times I don’t know yet. I’ve certainly seen some features that were common in the nineteenth century; the authors talk about their ancestors and pick out things in their early lives that they think were important in determining what they would do and how they would be as adults. I’ve also noticed, curiously, that the married autobiographers have said very little about their wives (everyone I’ve read has been male so far) - they’re just not important to their life stories for whatever reason. But today I’m going to reproduce a few bits of autobiographies I found funny.
Had my second supervisory board yesterday. Not as plain-sailing as the first one, but there weren’t any shocks either.
I couldn’t think what to write about this week, as I haven’t really done much of note lately. I’ve been recovering from all the writing, practicing my talk, going to the BL and discovering Ann Oakley (the feminist sociologist, not the shooter), who is my new favourite person - not only interesting and entertaining in her writing, but useful for my thesis too! So I decided to try to do a Q&A. I got two responses, which was two more than I expected, and one of them contained multiple questions. So yay!
This week’s post is about writing (again), editing, and wasting time.
It’s been another week of writing, this time about early twentieth-century psychologists’ ideas about only children. I’ve managed to draft the main bit, but now I have fiddly bits to add in - psychologists who were less vocal on the subject but said similar things, information about the psychologists, some sort of introduction - and I am starting to get a little fed up now. Not ‘argh I’ve hit the wall and can’t do any more’ fed up but ‘meh, suppose I’d better get this done, not like I have anything else to do anyway’ fed up.
This week I’ve been writing. A lot. I’ve produced nearly 2,000 words more than I expected to in the amount of time I’ve had, and a topic (the Mass Observation Family Survey) I thought would take up 4,000 words maximum has just hit exactly 8,000 (pre-editing, of course, and with a couple of bits I know I need to add). It’s been like Lisa Simpson and the tap shoes, but with academic writing. I’m doing it because my next board paper is due on 9th June, the actual board being on the 19th.