I am now Dr. Erik Grayson.
On April 9, I successfully defended my dissertation on J. M. Coetzee.
Although I had spent the better part of a month worrying about the defense, the actual event was anything but stressful. In fact, I would characterize the general tone of the defense as warm and celebratory. I was fortunate to have a fairly large crowd of supporters (including my parents, the ever-supportive Minxy, a couple of former colleagues and classmates, and, touchingly, several of my former students) in attendance. My best friend even travelled over a thousand miles to be there.
The biggest surprise, for me, was the overwhelmingly positive response of my committee members to the document I had spent so much time fretting over. I was stunned to learn that my dissertation had been nominated for a university-wide award and I was humbled by the assessments of my work as being of a very high quality. The general feedback was that I really ought to add a couple of chapters on Coetzee's fiction prior to Age of Iron and following Disgrace and seek out a publisher. I'm still trying to process it all.