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    I did a module in literature and art history, of which my final assessment focused on an essay that was about the way in which authors asked us to 'see'. It was my best grade of the year - i achieved 76% - and would really like to do it for my dissertation topic.

    I am struggling to come up with idas within in this topic - any help?
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    (Original post by Becky2110)
    I did a module in literature and art history, of which my final assessment focused on an essay that was about the way in which authors asked us to 'see'. It was my best grade of the year - i achieved 76% - and would really like to do it for my dissertation topic.

    I am struggling to come up with idas within in this topic - any help?
    Well done on the essay -- that's a good mark! Do you have an assigned supervisor for the topic, and if so have you talked to them about it and asked them how they come up with ideas?

    Have you read around the topic? (For example, have you searched an electronic bibliography like ABELL or the MLA Bibliography for relevant terms like 'ekphrasis'?) I remember meeting one lecturer in English who said they never bothered coming up with ideas, they just read secondary material until they found something they disagreed with, and then wrote up their disagreement. Less cynically, there may be an/some established way(s) of thinking about representation, sight, art, mimesis, &c which you either disagree with or (perhaps more subtly) feel should be modified or nuanced; or you might find a quasi art-historical reading of a particular text or group of texts which you feel should be extended or refused. Either of those situations would give you a starting point.

    It's also worth remembering that if you're like many (most, I suspect) people, writing is itself going to be part of your thinking process. Having a goal, a plan and a likely argument in mind is good, but you're likely to clarify what your topic really is and how you want to approach it as you work on it. This is normal and healthy—I was about twenty-five months into my PhD when I really figured out what I was doing—and so to a certain extent it's worth trying not to be too stressed about not knowing precisely what you're up to. You might also find that sitting down and writing some short exploratory pieces of criticism/theory around your topic and some likely primary texts/objects will give you raw material and a better read on where you want to go.
 
 
 
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