March 17th, 2007

Princess Down

Drowned in the Ocean of Romanticism

I made a huge mistake in choosing to do the Romanticism essay before the East Asian essay. I shouldn't even have chosen it, I ought to have chosen the Media instead, and ignored the various 'signs' I came across (Wagner's Ring on BBC2, Barbara talking about it on Tuesday).

It's not that I find the topic uninteresting. Far from it, indeed, it's clarified a good deal for me as to where I stand artistically. However, it is a topic unlike those I have tackled before. Most history essays are political in nature. A few are social, or economic, and I've experienced all of them before - political essays are easier to structure, and socioeconomic essays tend to be easier to write. No, this time, I chose a philosophical essay.

Cue chaos. I kept taking more and more sources, hoping that each one would clarify the whole matter, but none did. The one that came closest was, ironically, the one I came across last. I was, of course, looking for something that doesn't exist. Romanticism cannot be properly discussed in its entirity, for it has so many different aspects, with many different contexts, and, indeed, the fact that it alone forms a whole 3rd Year German Culture course should have alerted me to this fact.

I eventually realised my error, but not before I'd spent about 30 hours on it. Seriously. I've done little else other than lessons, meals and the odd event since Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, I blew my deadline, but as it's a formative essay, it's not quite such a serious matter. Nevertheless, it's taking about three times as long as I had thought, and now the essay I opted to do second, the political-economic Japan essay, is in danger of being squeezed too far.

I'm just coming to compress the notes I have taken from about 100 journal pages. The notes themselves, in their brief syntax, are seeming like a full essay in length. If I'm good at essays, I am in no means good at being brief and to-the-point. I always do too much research, and that turned Romanticism from an essay where, as I now realise, the whole point was to give a summary, to a major discourse in late-eighteenth-century, early-nineteenth-century philosophical thought on art, the nature of the arts, and other concepts such as spirituality, capitalism, the self and rationality.

I'm really tired of this. I've now spent five days working on this with no essay to show from it. I shall have one very soon, but it's still taken its toll on me, physically, mentally and in regards to my other essay. Japan, Kafka and Film will seem a good deal more simple after this one. Next time I come across an essay whose theme is a philosophical movement, I shall be sure to be as lax with research as I can be, and then I'll only end up with slightly too much as opposed to pages and pages discussing the interconnection between poetry, nature and spirituality. A key theme of Romanticism is the infinite. I feel its essay is certainly adhering to that principle.

Oh, and to those who would reply: 'If you're pushed for time, what are you doing on LJ?'. There are two reasons. Firstly, to get my thoughts in order. I've been blogging for almost five-and-a-half years now, and I've found that writing about something makes it a lot clearer in your mind, and helps relieve the stress. Secondly, if I work non-stop at it, I find soon enough that I can no longer focus, and that impacts on my productivity. Having said that, I certainly should not spend too much time here, as I'd like to see the back of this most tricksy of essays.

...and there I was thinking that I'd actually get through an essay deadline with no tradge. Major, major tradge this time. I blame the German Project last week, my terrible cold last weekend, various society obligations, and an ill housemate who required care, but the blame ultimately lies at my feet. It's not that I've been lazy. I just can't rationalise how much research an essay will require.

How Romantic.