Introduction; Bloomsday 2008

June 16, 2008

Today, June 16, is Bloomsday, the annual celebration of Leopold Bloom’s odyssey through the city of Dublin as told in James Joyce’s Ulysses. The action is presumed to have taken place on June 16, 1904, though parts of the story were serialized beginning in 1918, and the completed book was published in 1922.

Ulysses is, of course, fiction. At the most, I would say it’s a fictionalization inspired by everyday events. This is what gives the story its appeal, in addition to the style of language in which it is written. It speaks to the everyman in us, convincing us that even our own thoughts can be poetic. Today, I woke up, made some toast, glanced at the morning newspaper, and caught a glimpse of a city skyline on my way to work. Each of these can be said to have some parallel to the types of events penned in Ulysses.

To coincide with this literary holiday, I am launching The Modern Dash, an online account of my exploration of Modernism, the movement which was defined by (and defines) James Joyce, among many other writers, painters, architects, musicians, and artists. I have seen fit to publish this blog in part due to my desire to enter into a discussion of the topic of Modernism as a movement and aesthetic (and literature in general), and to keep me accountable in learning about this topic.

I am not an expert on Modernism; however, I am convinced that studying it holds insight for anyone who is disciplined and thoughtful, and I believe that one can do literature by examining it in the context of our own lives, provided that we exact restraint in the conclusions at which we arrive (some meanings and interpretations, while sounding insightful or intuitive, may simply not be warranted).

This is also my experiment in offering a new type of blog as regards the blog-as-interface aspect of presenting information. I am fascinated by the concept of the hyperlink, and the ease of information proliferation that it affords. Data and commentary which can provide needed context—as well as pictures, videos, and other media—can be creator-directed to provide a user with a more fluid experience. However, it is possible for this power to be abused. Furthermore (and as stated above), it is important that one be judicious and exact in making statements.

Finally, I invite anyone who passes by to participate in the discussion. If you have a response to anything written herein, then add a comment, or respond on your own site and leave a quick note. This is a personal blog, but it is also topical, and I will not be writing posts on current events (except those related to the topic) or random thoughts that come my way. Please see the pages above for more information on the aim and rules of this site.

Happy Bloomsday!