Portrait of Thomas Cromwell. New York, Frick C...

Portrait of Thomas Cromwell. New York, Frick Collection. Oak panel, 76 x 61 cm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have spent a lot of time this week re-writing the chapter I blitzed in January on the Thomas Cromwell ballad flyting. I was never very happy with it, mainly because all I did was throw all my thoughts about each ballad down on paper before trying to chop it into themes, which was rather unsuccessful. I handed it over to my supervisors at the beginning of February under duress, without even having time to read through it after the scissors and sellotape exercise. So I decided it was about time I tried to make it into a proper first draft.

I found it a rather difficult task, because it is so incredibly dense. As a case study, it presents a detailed examination of the ballads in the flyting and their authors, looking at how the ballads reacted to the sudden downfall of Henry VIII’s chief minister and reflected the attitudes of members of the court to his execution.  The big problem was remembering which ballad was which, so I gave them all a code number and that helped a bit.  Eventually I got so fed up with it my friend Rosy offered to read it (all 13,000 words!)  so, gratefully, I sent it off to her.  The following day it came back to me with a pile of really useful comments and advice.  I think I’ve used most of it, including moving some of the work from the end of the chapter to the beginning.  I’m not sure if it might now be a bit top heavy, but it’s certainly much improved.  It’s now gone off to my supervisor to be checked over.

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I’ve spent a considerable proportion of the week splurging my second chapter.  Second only in the sense of the second one that I’ve written, not that it will necessarily be the second one in the thesis.  It feels good to have a bit more of it on paper, even if it isn’t really even a first draft.  It needs a lot of work, but as my supervisor wanted to see what I was up to I sent it  to him and he’s made some very helpful comments about the style and raised some interesting points about the ideas.  I’m really looking forward to talking it over at greater length when I see him.  It will need a lot of tidying up before it’s ready for my next panel meeting, but I’m very pleased that there is some potential in it at least.  Considering that there are more than 13000 words, that’s rather a relief.

My plan for this week is to revise my chapter plan and then finish off my ballad spreadsheet so that when I go in to the university campus I can ask print services to do a couple of copies for me.  It’s going to be rather large!  Then later in the week I will go back to the chapter and try to sort it out a bit.

Thomas Cromwell, chancellor of Henry VIII

Thomas Cromwell, chancellor of Henry VIII (Photo credit: lisby1)