I Will Do Less Research
Posted by Barbara Leavy on Feb 22 2011, 4:52 PM

Let us go back to my speculation that THE BLOOD DOCTOR joins a body of literature characterized by the Faust legend.  How do I know this is an original idea?  It is very possible that in the vast number of reviews and other discussions of this novel, somone else has made the same observation and even has some evidence I did not know existed.   

But think about it.  Since my first book appeared in 1974, I have written and published four more.  That is not a great output for thirty-seven years.  There were many personal reasons for the long gaps, particularly the one between my fourth book, which earned me the most critical acclaim, and my fifth, my study of Ruth Rendell, which I self-published.  Why did I self-publish if the previous book was so favorably reviewed?  I will eventually supply the link to the place where I explain this.  Meanwhile my interested user can "google" CreateSpace and Foreign Distribution and learn more.  Soon I will supply links on this forum to save you extra steps.

But another reason each book took so long is that they were backed up with countless hours in a library in which I read everything I could in English, at least, and in some other modern languages, to assure myself that I was on solid ground when I claimed an insight was original .  When I wrote my book on the swanmaiden story, and I discovered there was a dissertation written in Swedish on the folktale, I hired someone to read it with me.  He and I ended by collaborating on a study of this and related stories in Ibsen's last seven plays.  And I have always credited my sources and anyone who helped me and provided insights into my subjects. 

Sometimes I did research dreading that a cherished idea was not in fact original.  As one of my mentors put it, sometimes we do research the way a woman looks for a run in her stockings: hoping not to find it.  But I scrupulously labored on.  Well, five books in almost forty years. . . .  Explainable in part because research was laborious if pleasurable and never quick.

If I wait to post before I have exhausted my investigations into what others have said, my postings on this forum will be few and far between.  You, as potentially interested users, will lose your interest because of a lack of content; and I will lose interest because I will not be able to enjoy any exchanges with you.  And so, consistent with my more relaxed attitude and my more informal procedures and tone, I will take a chance and post with only a fair degree of certainty that I might be breaking new ground or offering new readings.  Yes, eventually I will trace down every review I can of THE BLOOD DOCTOR, every discussion I can locate, and report back to you my findings, even if these are negative results.  

And if you know something I don't, please tell me.  I will be grateful and I will with your permission, credit you.

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