Not literally of course, but I have my moments. About a month before the orals and I am cramming. I have four topics: Early Modern Europe—Germany, Early Modern Europe—France, World History, and a customized blend of Discovery, Commerce, and Science (early modern, of course). Under each topic I’ve listed 6 to 10 questions and under each of these questions I’ve listed 6 to 10 books and articles (remember the nursery rhyme about how many were going to St. Ives?) and every day I pick a topic , read everything, and summarize it vigorously.  My spreadsheet shows that today I have reached 48%.

Is it enough? Is it too much? On May 24, five professors will determine how successful this strategy is.

In the meantime, I am happy to report that my grant application strategy was successful beyond my wildest dreams. I now have heard good news from the German Historical Institute, the Fulbright Fellowship, and the Thyssen Foundation. Thanks to these awards, I will be spending most of the next year in Germany, beginning June 26.  This is a rare and exciting opportunity to dwell in the archives and I plan to make the most of it. But in order to do that, I need to get back to those books.

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