I finally heard back from the 4.5-month R&R journal on Monday (the second day of our lovely beach vacation). There was no mention of what the reviewers thought of my extensive revisions. HOWEVER, there is now a THIRD reviewer, who recommends R&R with a whole DIFFERENT set of concerns!
OK, that's worse than it sounds. It is an R&R. It is promised to be the final R&R. And the concerns are primarily about clarity. To which I say, fair enough--although I haven't looked at my article since I sent it off in early April, I've been really struggling with and working through the ideas that it's developing, so lack of clarity is a real possibility.
On the bright side, Reviewer 3 appreciated my mastery of the secondary literature, much of which is in a language that I'm not very comfortable with and that I spent all of the spring semester slogging through. So that's something. In fact, I'm pretty pleased about that.
Initially, though, I wasn't pleased. I had that sinking feeling of rejection all afternoon, despaired of earning tenure, etc. Why does an R&R feel so crummy?
In this case, I'm also just out of patience with this dumb article (which isn't really dumb, I don't think, and which is the exploration piece for my second book, so I need it to be acceptable--and accepted). Here's it's history:
- Spring/summer 2011: Article drafted.
- August 2011: Submitted to Big Journal 1.
- September 2011: Summarily rejected by Big Journal (BJ) 1.
- January 2012: MLA talk given on radically revised version of argument.
- January 2012-May 2013: Article completely ignored (by me).
- May 2013: Acknowledgement (by me) that article is total crap, but that MLA essay had something going for it.
- July 2013: Dramatically revised article (arguing the opposite position of its previous incarnation) sent to BJ 2.
- January 2014: Query sent to BJ 2. Editor had misplaced submission. Editor sends it to a colleague, who reports that it isn't "sharp enough." BJ 2 rejection.
- November 2014: Radically revised/rewritten article submitted to BJ 3.
- February 2015: BJ 3 rejects article--accompanied, this time, by a thoughtful, detailed reader's report. Progress! But reviewer doesn't buy the argument.
- Fall 2015: Article is now taking a totally different approach. Maybe 5% of original draft is still in there, mostly in the footnotes. Sent to writing group, who offers helpful advice.
- December 2015: Submitted to BJ 4.
- January 2016: First R&R from BJ 4.
- January-April 2016: Agony, struggles, rewriting, etc. Resubmitted.
And here we are. Problems solved: The argument is no longer alienating my readers, and I have accounted for the secondary literature. All of it (or so it seems).
Soooo, tomorrow, I will print my essay and start the new revisions. I HAVE TO FINISH THIS F^%#@*$ER.