Summer Summary

I can basically sum up my summer of research like this: reading, reading, and more reading! Not that that’s a bad thing. I genuinely enjoyed so many of the articles and sources that I read this summer, and I’m so glad I got a chance to get ahead on this research for my honors thesis this coming year. My main accomplishment was really just making a huge dent in my reading list to learn as much as I possibly can about Helen of Troy from her canonical positions in Homeric sources to Shakespearean sources and the counter-perspective presented in Ovid’s and, much later, Isabella Whitney’s works. I think I was pretty successful in that endeavor, although I’ve written a bit before about how that reading list seems to be constantly blossoming as one article refers to another which refers to three more that seem like they might be relevant.

One practical thing I’ve learned in the research domain is that I need to be more discerning about which sources I need to read, read sections of, or not read at all. Although I enjoy reading about Shakespeare and about the play Troilus and Cressida in general, not all of my readings were always super relevant to my project exactly. It can be hard to tell what sources will have a paragraph about Helen, or a sentence, or a whole chapter. It’s difficult sometimes to know from just the title of abstract of an article. So, I’m working on choosing my readings more carefully in order to make my reading process more efficient.

I did a bit of this over the summer, but as we go into the school year I want to focus more on the theoretical aspect of my research – the part concerning femininity and agency. I have to finish up some more Shakespeare and general Helen of Troy readings going forward in the first few weeks too, but once I finish up those, I am excited to dive into the other portion again. I’m taking a class called “Language and Gender” in the Linguistics department that I also hope will point me towards some good sources for the agency part of my thesis research. I’m planning to treat my thesis work like a class and just block out a couple hours of time for it in the library on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at least so that I hold myself accountable for this work. Although it is work I enjoy, it’s not always easy to motivate myself. I’m hoping being back at school in a more structured daily pattern of life will help me be more productive too.

All in all, I think this summer of research was extremely beneficial to my project, and I’m looking forward to putting my many pages of notes to use as I *hopefully* start writing towards the end of the semester! Thanks for reading, you guys!

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