It’s just about the end of the second year of my PhD and looking back over the past two years I feel that I have accomplished a tremendous amount of work, but at the same time not nearly enough. A common enough feeling amongst PhD students at this point in their research.
The transcription and translation of manuscripts, and the drawing out of themes is a lengthy and drawn out process. There are no shortcuts when working with unpublished manuscripts.
Transcriptions of the document are needed. In the first instance these are often made from microfilmed copies of the original. I have also worked with the original manuscript and the difference in readability is amazing. The original in this case is much clearer and when looking at how the manuscript was used being able to see the colours of the ink and the amount of pen pressure are essential.
Of course not all transcripts result in lovely published critical editions. Much of the manuscript that I have transcribed will be incorporated into the text of my thesis, but a large amount of the work will be relegated to an appendix.
So the third year begins in October and I will be spending the next year reading and writing like a demon and wondering where all the time has gone. But I’m still enjoying the research and seem to be on target.
Wish me luck.