Sobriquet 39.24

The following post was originally published on 2/26/08.

Today was a bit of a struggle. After a vacation week pleasantly devoid of such workweek nuisances as alarm clocks and "reasonable bedtimes," the transition back into my ordered, pre-scheduled existence was more than a little jarring, though I'm certain it could have been much worse. There was some cursing, though, and a bit of internal whining but the day turned out quite well.

In terms of dissertation work, I did do some of the transcription I hope to finish over the next few days. I do feel that my rereading of The Master of Petersburg has brought some of the novel's more intriguing themes to my attention and I am feeling a tiny bit better about writing a section on the book now that I have plumbed its veins and located a few generous lodes. Still, though, I worry, as I imagine I will throughout the process of writing the dissertation.

In terms of reading, I am excited by the prospect of making my way through the rest of Coetzee's catalog. A friend of mine once commented on the unique feeling he had after reading an author's entire oeuvre, having spent great lengths of time in the fictional world of a particular writer. And it's true. Whether or not you really get to "know" an author, you do feel a certain familiarity with a writer with whom you have spent a good deal of time. This is also the appeal some people experience when reading blogs or a columnist's latest essay, the sense of communion. For me, quite simply, I look forward to deepening my familiarity with J. M. Coetzee in what The Master of Petersburg's Councillor Maximov calls the "intimate yet limited way" it is possible to "know a writer from his books" (147).

For tomorrow: Keep transcribing and read some of Dusklands.

Work Cited

Coetzee, J. M. The Master of Petersburg. New York: Penguin, 1994.


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