Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fair enough...

To tell you exactly what I'm working on would be to blow my anonymity bigtime. But I'm writing about sex and people talking about sex in a historical setting and today I deviated from my usual research path (highly empirical) to
start thinking about what people in this place were reading and how that might have shaped how they thought
about what was shameful or dangerous or acceptable. I devised a clever strategy for figuring out what they
read, found out that they were indeed reading racy stuff (including some orientalist classics that I never dreamed
that they'd have access to) and so now I have not only the doggerel they are writing and the parties they
attended and the sham/clandestine/handfast marriages, and the slander accusations
and the legal documents, but I have a little of their imaginative world too. And now I know that at a very early point,
these sort of titillating books moved out of the tavern (where they could have been read by anyone, or read
to an audience) and moved into a subscription library (where they could only be gotten by the better sort, with
reading becoming a private and refined pleasure).

So it all went very well indeed and I am going to get up early so I can do some more. I love this phase of the project, when ideas are all whirling around, everything seems relevant and interesting, and there's a ton of new secondary material
to read by smart people.

I find it ironic -- yes, this really is irony and not in the Alanis Morrissette usage of describing inconvenience or coincidence
as irony -- that the less I get laid (due to partner's prolonged absence in Dixie), the more my professional life is wrapped up in booty.


listmaker said...

Sorry, Bridgett, if I asked too personal a question. I would never knowingly blow anyone's cover, even though I firmly believe that privacy and anonymity are an illusion. It would take someone about 2 minutes to find out who I am, but I just have to trust other bloggers to maintain the charade if they were ever so bored as to look for my identity.

Being separated from your partner must suck. Quiet Man and I lived apart when I was in graduate school; I can't imagine how difficult it must be with a kid.

bridgett said...

No, no. Never too personal a question. (Sometimes there are things too personal to answer, but never to ask...)

So true about the anonymity thing -- it's not like I'm working for the CIA or anything, either, so there's no particular need for me to be hush-hush. But I do like to keep work and home separate entities and I feel better conceiving of the blog (as a collapser of those boundaries) as "private words" even if that's a meaningless distinction in reality. I'm sure someone writes about the perceptual differences in writers between those who are seizing the opportunity to publish and perform and those of us who see this as more like the coffeehouse we never get to go to in realtime.

There is no way around it: being separated from my partner for prolonged periods of time sucks. I try not to dwell on it too much, though, since there's no changing it and a lot of work to be done in the meantime.

imfunnytoo said...

It sounds interesting...

And yes, private should stay private.

I'm enjoying my (relative) anonymity as well.

You're a tough one to be without your partner so long. I salute you both.

listmaker said...

I love the idea of the virtual coffee house. I know that is something missing in my life, the give and take of ideas and debating various points of view. It's one reason I decided to de-lurk and try my hand at this blog writing/commenting. That being said, what you can share with us of your research sounds fascinating and I'm glad you had such a satisfying, productive day.