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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some Things a Thesis Isn't

A thesis is not a list of themes. (A thesis is the statement of a claim, not a list.)

A thesis is not a statement of intention. ("In this paper I will explore the relation between Lorca and Andalusia.")

A thesis is not a list of five or six minor claims.

A thesis should not be an obvious or self-evident statement. It must be arguable in two senses. Someone, potentially, might disagree with it: "That's an arguable proposition, sir." And you can make an argument for it.

It must be novel and distinctive: not present already in the critical literature. It can't be the same thesis as that of any other scholar.

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