In late March, after years of its sitting on my hard drive doing nothing at all, I published Just Looking: How the Revolution in Medical Education Influenced the Lives and Works of Arthur Conan Doyle and William Carlos Williams. I’d written Just Looking as my honors thesis during college, and it’s at just the right length that it really had no possible publication market; it’s too long (I think 20,000 words or so? 40-ish pages) for an academic journal, but too short for . . . well, I’d say book-length, but how long’s an ebook?
In normal academic circumstances, one possible solution would have been to cut the book in half, so that one article focused on Doyle and the other on Williams. I never liked the idea, though; I’d written it all in one go, as one large argument, and in fact, part of the essay hinged on the fact that both Williams studied medicine just a decade or so after Doyle had. One relates very explicitly to the other.
I liked the idea. I remember the moment I found the book that mentioned that changes in medical education in England and Europe (and Edinburgh, where Doyle studies) had taken a few years to get to America, right about when Williams was entering medical school at the University of Pennsylvania; it tied the whole thing together perfectly. The discovery excited even my advisor.
So splitting it in half wasn’t something I wanted to do, but that meant there was really no place for it. Besides my hard drive. For a decade.