Monday, 18 June 2007


I’m trying, at the moment, to write the introduction to my thesis. As is my usual practice with introductions, I’ve left it to the end, so I know what follows it. So, I’m not struggling to say what I plan to do, but I am struggling with the beginning though: how to start; where to start. I don’t want to start with what someone else says around my topic, in case it makes my work look derivative. When I’m reading novels, which I sadly don’t have much time for at the moment (I long for the day after thesis submission day when I can read a novel for fun and without guilt – oh, and re. my last post, I was speaking to a fully fledged academic this weekend, and he assures me this guilt will never go away if I enter academia), I always prefer the ones that start in medias res. I like to be thrown in to an apparently existing story and find out what’s going on. I’ve tried starting with a primary text but my work is historically contextual, and I’m afraid that’s too much in medias res for my introduction – I find myself tied up, unable to move for things which have yet to be said. So, where to start? How to begin with something which has already been said without stealing my own thunder or assuming something yet to be said that I have already written?

I had hoped that having all that follows it worked out would make the beginning easier. Surely it must, somehow, in some way. At least I know where I’m going.


Amy Palko said...

You could try the anecdotal approach. I'm a big fan of this in introductions. As your thesis is historical in its approach, you could begin with a historical anecdote which you feel elucidates the central argument, before going on to explain why it does so. From here you can then go on to map out your chapters. Just a thought, though. Let me know how you get on!

Autumn Song said...

Thanks, Amy. That's what I was hoping to do with the primary text approach, but it fell apart. I'll try another one though. Thanks for the encouragement!