Sunday 27 December 2015

PhD diary #3: 27/12/2015

If I've learned anything in the last month, it is this: respect your wrists. I've had problems with RSI and carpal tunnel syndrome before, but it's never gotten bad enough that I couldn't work or function. I am on the mend but dictation software is a necessity for the foreseeable future! So far, so irritating. But it works well enough to get by.

I am currently about halfway through the 700 pages of Clarence Glacken's Traces on the Rhodian Shore. It's a book that I've been meaning to read for a long time. It's regarded as something of a classic in the history of geographical ideas. And rightly so, it turns out. It's an absolute masterpiece and will, I think, form a large part of the basis of my Ph.D. thesis.

Glacken ends his narrative around the year 1800, about the time I intend to take up mine.
Two men, Herder and Humboldt, it seems to me, are representatives of ideas held toward the earth as a whole in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Herder represents […] the best in the old that was now to vanish, with hints of the new. Humboldt represents an approach to nature study which leads into nineteenth-century thought. (537)
I think that I'm quite close to being able to specify precisely what my project now involves. I'm not quite brave enough to lay this out right now, however I feel that I'm getting there.