In a regular feature, we’ll bring you updates from Reading Post-Graduates, showcasing the work that the Masters and PhD candidates in the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies are pursuing.
To inaugurate the series, we’ve invited Stefano Bragato, a PhD candidate in Italian Studies, to reflect on the year of research that he’s just completed.
Here’s what he has to say:
They sometimes say that the third year of a PhD is the toughest. All those deadlines, all that writing up, all those files mixing up on your desktop. And yes, that ‘chapter three, draft eight’ thing. Quite demanding indeed.
The great thing about doing a PhD in Italian Literature though, at least for me, is that ‘demanding’ goes hand in hand with concepts such as ‘excitement’ and ‘gratification’. During your third year, that magic moment suddenly comes when you realise that your idea is good, that it works – and that you incredibly enjoy researching into it. A pretty cool feeling.
So cool that you immediately ponder presenting your findings at a conference. Thus in March 2014, at the beautiful and prestigious Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island, in the USA, I gave a presentation on F. T. Marinetti, the founder of the Futurist avant-garde, focusing on his different strategies of writing during WWI. My presentation received lots of compliments and inspired lots of exciting discussions. I also met lots of new friends, and definitely had a lot of fun. Two months later, I organised a panel on notebook writing at the American Association of Italian Studies conference in Zurich, featuring experts from all over the world: a very successful and gratifying experience too.
And of course, talking about excitement and gratification, there’s ReadingItaly, the Italian-Studies blog that I edit. Having your own journal or blog is rather demanding, but it is really a lot of fun. And then all the rest: organising the 2013 Society for Italian Studies Post-Graduate Colloquium, writing articles and book reviews, representing the PhDs within the School, teaching classes, chatting with friends at the Graduate School in Old Whiteknights House.
They sometimes say that doing a PhD in Literature is dull and boring. That’s complete nonsense. It is one of the toughest, but most exciting things around.
To learn more about pursuing a Masters Degree or a PhD in Modern Languages at the University of Reading, visit the Graduate School website as well as the Homepage of the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies. We offer both Post-Graduate Taught and Post-Graduate Research degree courses.