Prospectus Draft Reflections

First of all, I want to clarify that after completing my prospectus draft, I may have actually changed my mind. There are two main ideas circulating in my head right now and I’m not sure which one I’ll pursue.

 

Topic 1:

I would like to focus on the way novelists portray the effects of what I will term “political gossip” on society. Using Max Gluckman’s discussion of gossip’s role in sustaining and identifying a community, I plan to explore the negative effects political gossip has on the individual and the community. When gossip is given a “higher purpose” in the form of informants and spies, suspicion, betrayal, and alienation are never far behind. Among texts that I plan to use in exploring this idea are Barry Unsworth’s Pascali’s Island, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, Reza Kahlili’s A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, and perhaps the young adult series by Ally Carter that revolves around a girls spy school including the novel I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You.

 

Topic 2:

I would like to explore the way in which spy and informant novels, as discussing “political gossip,” highlight the narrative drive. The human drive to create a narrative or story arc to otherwise random events and people finds its peak in gossip narratives, especially those of political gossip. I plan to discuss the narrative drive in the terms of Deleuze and Guttari’s essay on the rhizome. The narrative drive represents arborial attempts to create order from otherwise rhizomatic happenings. I hope to show, as well, how the authors play with these ideas in their various styles- for example, presenting information to the reader in a way that will force the reader to come to premature conclusions, highlighting the falsity of arborial assumptions of a story arc. Among texts that I plan to use in exploring this idea are Barry Unsworth’s Pascali’s Island, Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, Reza Kahlili’s A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, and perhaps the young adult series by Ally Carter that revolves around a girls spy school including the novel I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You.

 

 

1. I found the topic description followed by the research questions to be a good way to organize my ideas.

 

2. The most frustrating aspect of the assignment was coming up with actual questions. I have ideas, but coming up with specific questions with which to explore them is more challenging.

 

3. The main question I have right now is- “Which idea actually interesting/innovative and which is more original?”

 

4. When do I have to actually narrow my focus? If I have two ideas that I’m considering pursuing- can I just continue reading more books and articles for a bit and see which one I have more

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Published in: on November 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm Comments (0)


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