On Corrections

The Corrections “Bible”

I am convinced that noone actually likes to correct their work. In over a decade working in the field of historical research, I have yet to encounter any scholar who revels in the idea, who insists on going home early after dinner, or on a night out in a conspiratorial fashion, with a gleeful smile, that they have corrections to be about in the morning. Surely everyone knows the joy of corrections, they confide with scarcely contained emotion, I think not. 

Rather it is often a case of “God (Gods, for my polytheistic readership, don’t say I never look after you!), have to get up early and be about these b***dy things for the day now!” The pedanticism with editing is the very definition of tedium itself. To ‘add the half pence to the pence’, as William Butler Yeats put it. 

The dreaded ‘red ink’ massacre!

Yet it is this process, on mature reflection, which is often key to the historian’s trade and professional development. We are so often critical of the work of others (who hasn’t ‘tsked’ at a misplaced comma, or incorrect use of a dangling modifier), so critical, that we sometimes lose sight of the need for constructive self-criticism. It is perhaps through this medium, that we ourselves can best view our own work. 
I for one am glad (grudgingly I must admit), to be given the chance to revisit my recent work and make changes. The absence of a few weeks makes a tremendous difference! What I had thought of as being THE finished, endlessly redrafted article, was in fact merely the first draft. It was awaiting review by a peer and that is a most valuable process. Little slips in punctuation in references, spelling and pagination errors are churned up in the passing of the editor’s red ink!

The pause offered by the editing process has allowed me the chance to expand upon some niche aspects, which I felt could have been broadened out somewhat

But what is most helpful about this process, at least from my own point of view, is the chance to revisit ideas. I am at present able to return to some concepts, which I had only been able to pencil in to my work, briefly address for fear of word count and overly complicating matters. Now, armed with a peer review, I feel far greater confidence to engage in further scholarship, incorporating some fresh ideas into my extant canon. 

So really, those souls sneaking away from the bar are not to be pitied, not fully at least! Perhaps they’re just slightly ahead of the curve. 


About eamonntgardiner

I am a PhD Student at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I am conducting research into links between wartime traumatic-neurosis and evidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst British First World War veterans serving as Auxiliary Policemen in Ireland during the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921. I have previously conducted research into local Irish Volunteer/Old IRA units in Munster as well as British responses to popular insurgencies in areas they administered. I have previously published a book on the British Counterinsurgency responses to the IV/IRA conflict in Ireland, 1919-1921, entitled 'Dublin Castle and the Anglo-Irish War: Counter Insurgency and Conflict.' I have also published papers on various aspects of that war and also on other insurgencies. I write a regular blog on those and other related matters, which can be read at https://eamonntgardiner.wordpress.com/ My research interests include Feminism and De-Colonialisation/Post-Colonialism, Insurgency, Police and Military Histories, Institutional Histories. Subaltern Studies, International History of the 20th Century, Modern Irish History, Historiography, History of Conflict, Peace Keeping/Enforcement/Protectorates, Spheres of Influence, Hegemonic Theories, Old and New Terrorism.
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