So far in my PhD, I've mainly being reading the available secondary sources pertaining to my topic. There's still so much to go ... but I'm going to take a break from that for a few months, or at least put it on the back burner, in order to start writing a chapter of my thesis! This (along with the lit review) is something I need to have done as part of the first year PhD confirmation process. The deadline is still over 8 months away, but the sooner I can get it out of the way, the sooner I can apply for funds for travel to the UK. But aside from that, it will be exciting to finally start researching and writing of my own, rather than reading what everyone else has done.
The chapter I've decided to write will probably end up being the second or third chapter of the final thesis. It's on the "knock-out blow" - the long-feared, much-discussed but never-actually-happened massive aerial blow which many people assumed would start (and end) the next war. So I need to piece together how contemporary writers (novelists and public intellectuals, mostly) conceived of the knock-out blow, and how these ideas originated and changed over time. A sub-theme of the chapter will be about how ideas of the knock-out blow were, explicitly or implicitly, critiques of British society. Also, previously I was unsure whether I would be stopping at 3 September 1939 or continuing into the war. Well, I will now be taking the story up to August 1940, at least (when the first heavy Luftwaffe attacks on the British mainland took place - if the knock-out blow was ever going to be delivered, this was the time), but still am not sure if I should go as far as May 1941, the end of the Blitz, by which time everyone could be sure that the knock-out blow wasn't actually coming after all.
The other piece of thesis-related news is VERY good indeed: I have been awarded a scholarship, and so won't starve or freeze to death over the next three years! This is a huge relief; now all I have to worry about is the travel, and the research, and the writing ...
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