A PhD thesis. This is the entry ticket to the academic guild, the last survival of the medieval masterpiece. The old-style thesis has largely disappeared in the United States, being replaced by a combination of coursework and a “three essays” dissertation. I think it would be a good thing if Australia went the same way. But, in the meantime, examining theses is part of the job, and often a painful one. The one I read this weekend was one of the easy ones, without any need for radical revisions or the ultimate catastrophe, a failing grade. I can write my report today and send it off with a light heart.
fn1. Not, as in today’s usage, an artist’s greatest work, but the piece done by an apprentice to qualify as a master, without any expectation that it should involve notable difficulty or efforts of a truly exceptional kind. premarin vaginal cream applicator