My Top 5 PhD Playlist (or, Five Minutes of Procrastination)

What music do you listen to as you work?

For me, anything goes for emails or repetitive tasks. But for work which needs sustained thought, I need to avoid music which might intrude – either with lyrics which distract from what I’m reading/writing, or simply because it’s so wonderful I can’t let it fade into the background.

This means I can’t listen to music I really love while I write or read. And if it has lyrics, they need to be very subtle.

Hence: my PhD playlist. The top 5 songs/albums which are getting me through a very work-heavy period.

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Conference Report: New Work in Modernist Studies

Last Saturday was a major milestone of my first term as a DPhil: the New Work in Modernist Studies conference, run by the British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS). It was my first ever conference, and I was fairly (read extremely) nervous, but I’d heard good things. A relaxed atmosphere, helpful feedback, great people.

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Biography, ‘Women Writers’ and Fetishization

A couple of nights ago, I was talking to a JRF over college dinner, and my research came up. I tend to present this differently depending on my mood and audience, and that day – for whatever reason – I chose to focus on my ethical approach.

Stevie Smith doesn’t get a lot of critical attention, I said. And when she does, the focus often seems to be on her biography and persona. I am sick of reading about her aunt, her little-girl clothes, her job as a typist. It’s as though writing is such an odd thing for a woman to do that it necessarily means she’s insane: critiquing her work becomes a kind of therapy, to locate the originary trauma in her background. The same’s often true of H.D. I want to write about their use of poetic form – to extend the same courtesy to them as we give to male writers.

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