Raillery & Revolution: Final Summary

Raillery & Revolution: Final Summary

     It is hard to believe that three whole months have passed since I embarked upon this research project, and that I have finally finished the process of transcribing, translating, analyzing, and writing on The Bibliothèque de Campagne. Last week my faculty advisor and I had our last conversation, during which we discussed the final product of my research project: a journal-length article of twenty-four pages. The discussion was extremely helpful to me, as my faculty advisor and I addressed the lingering questions I had about my essay. We spoke about my questions concerning the style and organization of my essay, specifically how I could conclude paragraphs without sounding repetitive. We also spoke about my questions concerning bibliography, and how to properly cite translated quotations from the Bibliothèque de Campagne in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. Additionally, we spoke about a concern I had with my argument, that I was making the overly simplistic claim that joke books directly caused the French Revolution. After examining the issue with my professor, I came to the conclusion that joke books couldn’t be wholly responsible for the French Revolution, but that they could reinforce the prevalent progressive ideas at the time and subsequently motivate citizens to seek change. Finally, I also discussed my claims in the section of my essay contextualizing my argument, referring to scholars Robert Darnton and Roger Chartier as opponents of my thesis. Overall, the conversation with my faculty advisor enabled me to polish my arguments and moreover, my essay, allowing me to conclude the final product of my research project.

After months of completing this project, I am pleased with the work I have done at all stages, whether it was researching or writing. It has become apparent to me through this process that my work on jokes in the Bibliothèque de Campagne is meaningful as it concerns a series of books which, to my knowledge, have never before been investigated in-depth by scholars. What is more, my research adds to the literature on the history of books, specifically the little-discussed relationship between joke books and the French Revolution. I am excited about the potential for my research on this topic to grow into another project, perhaps involving additional volumes of the Bibliothèque de Campagne.

Reflecting on this experience, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Charles Center, my faculty advisor, and the many people who have made this project possible through funding, feedback, etc. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to grow intellectually, and this experience has made me all the more excited about my academic future, especially the thought of pursuing an honors project. Thank you again, Charles Center, et al.!


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