Not that there’s anything of a theme going on, you understand. But I was just kind of looking at job sites and thinking about what I might want to do if I didn’t think I could hack it in publishing for a single second longer. There is also the fact that the retirement age is going up to 68, which means 28 more years
in the clink being a productive member of society. Depressing, much? Oh yeah.
So then I stumbled across a site advertising academic jobs and then I accidentally browsed the funded PhDs available, and I found this one: ‘The End of Letter Writing? Correspondence from 1900 to the Present Day’.
The idea is to study the epistolary archives of 20th century writers, to see how their literary networks were facilitated or broken by letter writing; and then what effect changes in methods of communication may have had. The British Library has archives from people like Virginia Woolf, Ted Hughes and Harold Pinter, and although I have read little by any of them, I think studying them as people via their letters would be more interesting than their writing per se. The BL is funding the research to the tune of, oh, let’s call it roughly 75% less than what I currently earn. Tax free, though, and fees paid, and an additional annual bursary of, well, slightly less than one car payment + council tax.
Right, so I know that a few weeks ago I was all ‘Squeeee, classical studies and pop culture, squeeee!’ But I’m a flibbertigibbet, and I have varied interests and I Just. Want. To. Learn. Something. Besides which, I could totally take that project forward into C21st and wrap in Twitter too, and the whole thing would be fun.
Oh, and did I mention Sheffield? It’s at the University of Sheffield, hence almost no money = less scary because I checked out rent prices today and was actually shocked at how little a one-bed flat costs up there. Fair enough, the last 15 years haven’t done much to make Sheffield more attractive; but then, hello glorious nearby Peak District!
So, I’m plotting. I have barraged the supervisory tutor with requests such as ‘Please define full time study’, ‘cos clearly I cannot live on the stipend alone and would need a part-time job as well. I’m not giving up my car and I won’t share a house again (even the thought of it almost brings me out in hives), so those are significant constraints. If I apply, and that is not a thing of certainty, it will be a 3-year commitment. I’ll have to be damn sure it’s the right thing to do.
And if it isn’t, and this idea gets abandoned? What the hell, something else will come along. It always does!