Spring is always a time of rebirth after the long dark period of winter when at least I prefer to hurl up myself with a blanket and reading good books, eating hot soup, and from time to time taking a good Hot Yoga class to warm up again. It is for me more a time for reflection and rounding up projects than to start new projects.
This winter however was a very productive and inspiring one. First of all, I was really honoured to receive the Charles Clercqprijs 2013 of the Royal Flemish Academy for my doctoral dissertation (Ghent 2012) for an outstanding work in the field of the History of Religions of Flanders (http://www.kvab.be/fondsprijzen.aspx?prid=3).
Then Frits van Oostrom positively mentioned this work on his website as addition to his monumental literary history of 14th century Middle Dutch Literature (http://www.wereld-in-woorden.nl/aanvullingen-en-correcties). Exhaustive reviews of this book have just appeared in Queeste (http://www.queeste.verloren.nl/). To make everything even better, I was also granted a two-months research fellowship at the Berlin State Library to bring progress into my cherished edition project of the Fourth Part of the Spiegel Historiael.
So, I guess this year will be busy. I plan to finalize the reworking of my dissertation for publication, make progress with the Fourth Part (I already have another lecture about this project scheduled), and last but not least, make a good start with my new job, which will bring me to Göttingen from May onwards.
Especially the reworking the dissertation has had a bit delay, but first of all I had to finalize some articles and it really took some time until I felt able to work on it again. Those of you, who went already through this process probably know exactly the problem. You have worked on it for years, you know exactly its good points, but also its secret flaws… First time I tried to read it again objectively, I really was shocked and wanted to rewrite it completely. But of course to do the whole doctoral research again, and this time bearing in mind what you learned during the process, not the meaning of reworking the dissertation for publication. It is a finished work with its own rights already, but needs some polishing (by the way an excellent book on writing your thesis, and probably also other lengthy works is Demystifying Dissertation Writing by Peg Boyle Single, http://thesiswhisperer.com/2011/07/15/demystifying-dissertation-writing/). It will not be your master piece, its a first major work and your following projects should benefit from what you learned. Still, to bring it into the world, some smoothing is needed, and in my case also some serious cutting in lengths. I mean, who wants to read more than 500 pages on heaven, hell, purgatory and the Apocalypse? So my aim is to make the book more compact and to reduce the very many (probably very German) footnotes.
I will miss Ghent, my friends and colleagues there a lot, but thanks to all electronic communication devices, I hope that we can still stay in contact. And some already announced to visit me in Germany!
So, I am looking forward to the next months!
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
From: Nina Simone, Feeling Good (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfJRX-8SXOs)