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Task of the day

I spent yesterday in the campus libraries rounding up books. Today, my goal is to go through some of those books and see if it helps clarify my new-found dissertation focus. Additionally, at some point I should start going through journal indices to see what I can find there. I spent the last hour or so dappling in one of my previous subjects, back when I was working on what people thought about the weather in the Middle Ages. It was enjoyable, but I really need to do real work now.

I've been being vague again lately, an easy habit to fall into. But as I realized the other week, it's more satisfying and productive if I write about actual aspects of the content of my project here. I knew my project was too large, the hard part was finding an interesting and productive aspect of it to focus on. I finally realized last Thursday that I've had an easier time with the keywords looking for images which include things like eyeglasses and hourglasses than I have with the surfeit of material out there featuring mills. So I shall be concentrating on Medieval innovations in glassworking, which focuses me nicely and gives me at least the theoretical potential to more easily take advantage of the fact I have a place to stay in Venice. I've already had a few nice moments of realizing that there are very useful things which can be said about this subject. I've run across a very relevant book which I need to track down, but am tempted to just buy since it's not in my own university's library system and looks as if it could be quite useful. (Dora Thornton. The Scholar in his Study.)

Most of the books on glasswork in the Middle Ages is about stained glass. Now, much as stained glass is very pretty, I shall probably leave it out of the project since it was an invention of late antiquity and I am trying to focus on things which were actually invented during the Middle Ages, whenever those might have been. I know, I know, Late Antiquity has fuzzy boundaries. This delimitation makes my task easier and more focused. I'm happy with my choice and if, for some improbably reason, I end up with copious amounts of extra time, I can always expand the project.

So today I shall read up on histories of glassmaking and particularly what there is about it in the Middle Ages, at least, from what I scavenged from the libraries yesterday.