Dissertation Books

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These are natural responses to authority, to one’s teachers, to those who will pass judgment on your work.

All this looking over the shoulder may be good for self-protection, but it gets between you and the book you would like to be writing.

Having the wrong committee can make writing slower and more difficult than it need be.

Sometimes that structure may be a burden, or even an obstacle, for the writer.

Most won’t make it even that far, but linger at the ready in electronic format waiting for some brave soul to call for a download or a photocopy.

It’s hard to pick up a dissertation and hear its author’s voice. Like the kid in the choir who’s afraid she cannot carry a tune and doesn’t want to be found out, the dissertation makes as small a sound as possible.But what is it about the dissertation that makes it so unlikely that it can be made to speak?One senior scholar, veteran of many dissertation committees, cheerfully told me that the doctoral thesis was, at heart, a paranoid genre. We don’t publish unrevised dissertations.” The new Ph. That framework is both a harness and a help, and it determines the shape of an argument, the nature of the prose, the pace of writing, even the place where the writing will be done. But the operating instructions of scholarly publishing rarely form a part of graduate training, which means that young scholars are usually thinking about the academic book business for the first time when the dissertation is already complete. In today’s market, even a first-rate dissertation may fail to find a publisher, at least on the author’s first try. A dissertation committee out of touch with scholarly publishing today? “If scholarly publishers don’t want what I’ve just written, why was I advised to write this, and to write it this way? Your university’s requirements, down to the language of your dissertation proposal and the number of chapters your committee insists you produce, constitute a set of rules—a grammar, if you like—within which you produce the dissertation. whose unrevised dissertation has just been rejected by a publisher, isn’t doing anything Pat hasn’t been led to believe is right. A cautious editor determined to minimize financial risk for the publishing house?Often that sound is heard by a committee of from three to five scholars, and no one else.Revising a dissertation is partly a matter of making the writer’s text speak up.You might, of course, arrange an informal committee to spur you on, but it will be a committee of your own making, probably friends and colleagues corralled into reading drafts and chapters.As they read your work, they will be weighing both their words and the strength of your friendship.Many factors militate against a dissertation becoming a book.Yet some dissertations do, and many of these have the potential to become quite good books, a potential they often do not fulfill. Each is by the same author, each contains many of the same words and ideas, each is unpublished. In the evenings, and on weekends, you’re working on the book based on your dissertation.

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