Winter 2023 Update

In early January my focus will remain on the Brazen Head. The Joyce Audio section will be fully restored and expanded, and two final compositions will close out the Luciano Berio pages. A Joyce biography is in the works, written by Alan Zelenetz, along with a few more Joyce-related reviews. In late January I will return to White Leviathan, revising and posting the remaining chapters and finally creating a single PDF of the entire campaign. This is likely to occupy my time until summer. After that, I’ll finish the Brazen Head, then return to Deadlands 1876 for my gaming pages, and hopefully begin restoring the Modern Word’s Samuel Beckett site, Apmonia.


Note: The writer Laird Barron is in the hospital, and a few writers in the weird fiction community have organized a Laird Barron GoFundMe to cover his outrageous medical expenses. It’s a potent reminder that most professional writers are not making “Stephen King” money, so any little bit helps!


2023 January 18
The Modern Word: Berio’s surreal opera Outis has been added to the Brazen Head’s Luciano Berio page. Based on the Odysseus myth, Outis unfolds over five “cycles,” each a phantasmagoria of characters and events revolving around marriage, infidelity, war, nostalgia, travel, and consumerism. The libretto borrows from Paul Celan, W.H. Auden, Herman Melville, Sylvia Plath, and James Joyce. Indeed, some of the characters and situations in the opera echo Joyce’s Ulysses.

2023 January 7
The Modern Word: Woo-hoo! The Joyce Audio pages have been completed by three new additions: Drama & Poetry, Biography & Criticism, and Joycean Miscellany. Taking—I dunno—two months longer than I expected, I’m now having a tumbler of whiskey and going to play Destiny 2. See you next week for more Berio!

2023 January 1
The Modern Word: What better way to celebrate the New Year than listening to Finnegans Wake? There are three unabridged versions available, and several fascinating shorter versions and “selected passages.” Load ‘em onto your phone and impress your friends!


2022 December 24
The Modern Word: A page detailing Ulysses has been added to Joyce Audio, including recommendations. Happy holidays!

2022 December 21
The Modern Word: A page detailing A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has been added to Joyce Audio.

2022 December 20
The Modern Word: Berio’s A-Ronne has been added to the Brazen Head’s Luciano Berio page. Berio’s most Wakean work, this “radiophonic documentary” uses the text of an Edoardo Sanguineti poem to form meaning from a dizzying variety of vocal expressions. The text includes quotations from Dante, Goethe, Roland Barthes, T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, and James Joyce.

2022 December 9
The Modern Word: Composer Fred Lerdahl was kind enough to speak to The Modern Word about his 1968 composition Wake, inspired by the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” section of Finnegans Wake. The interview has even added to the Wake feature page.

2022 December 6
The Modern Word: Berio’s Traces has been added to the Brazen Head’s Luciano Berio page. Performed only once and withdrawn, Traces had its origins in the “Circe” episode of Ulysses. By the time it was ready to be performed, it had transformed into an opera about America’s racial tensions. Called a “disaster” and a “bummer” by the performers, it involved incomprehensible notations and required 24 Iowan singers to wear blackface.


2022 November 30
The Modern Word: A page detailing James Joyce Collections has been added to  Joyce Audio. This includes the famous Caedmon recordings of 1959-1960, all of which are linked to the page for streaming or downloading as MP3s.

2022 November 28
The Modern Word: Berio’s Epifanie has been added to the Brazen Head’s Luciano Berio page. An “open work” consorting of variable orchestral and vocal pieces, Epifanie contains one of the weirdest settings of Joyce ever, the song “A girl stood before him,” adapted from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

2022 November 26
The Modern Word: Berio’s Thema (Omaggio a Joyce) has been added to the Brazen Head’s Luciano Berio page. An early classic of electronic music, Thema is a tape manipulation of Cathy Berberian reading the first page of the “Sirens” episode from Ulysses.

2022 November 22
The Modern Word: A page detailing Dubliners has been added to Joyce Audio.

2022 November 17
The Modern Word: The Italian composer Luciano Berio has been added to the Brazen Head. Along with a detailed biographical sketch—the longest available on the Web!—the section opens with notes on Berio’s Chamber Music, a setting of James Joyce poems composed in 1953 for Cathy Berberian. More Berio compositions will be added over the next month.

2022 November 7
The Modern Word: The Joyce Audio section opens with “Joyce in His Own Voice,” a feature on the two 1920s recordings of James Joyce reading from Ulysses and Anna Livia Plurabelle. Both recordings are also available to hear on-site!


2022 October 31
White Leviathan: Happy Halloween! Chapter 3 concludes on a spooky note with Encounter 13, El Mar de los Sueños, where the ship is visited by the terrible invunche, a creature born from Chilean brujería. After this nightmare-at-sea, the crew has the chance to relax and trade ghost stories in Encounter 14, The Gam with the Julia, which fictionalizes Melville’s second-most famous whaling ship.

2022 October 30
The Modern Word: A page on American composer Fred Lerdahl has been added to the Brazen Head, especially profiling his 1968 tour de force for soprano, Wake.

2022 October 27
White Leviathan: The most disturbing encounter in the campaign so far is slated to occur after the Quiddity drops anchor off the jungle paradise of Encounter 11, Atacames. Here, in Encounter 12, Whipple’s Excursion, the players come face-to-face with an all-too human horror, and must reckon with their own degree of complicity in a tragic massacre.

2022 October 25
The Modern Word: A “Joyce and Film” page has been added to the Brazen Head. Scheduled for future development, this page collects films and documentaries about James Joyce, with links to the relevant features on YouTube or Vimeo.

2022 October 22
The Modern Word: Over at the Garden of Forking Paths, the “Borges and Film” pages have been updated. Broken links have been fixed, and a few new films and documentaries have been added, including a long-awaited link to the Iranian film, Ghazal.

2022 October 21
The Modern Word: Three new additions to the Brazen Head’s “Papers & Essays” section: Donald Theall’s “The Hieroglyphs of Engined Egypsians: Machines, Media and Modes of Communication in Finnegans Wake,” Thornton Wilder’s “Giordano Bruno’s Last Meal in Finnegans Wake,” and Lindsey Warren’s “An Analysis of the Use of Musical Allusions in James Joyce’s Dubliners.”

2022 October 20
The Modern Word: A page on Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has been added to the Brazen Head, especially profiling his Ulysses-inspired parody mass, Missa super “L’homme armé”.

2022 October 18
The Modern Word: Two essays have been added to the Brazen Head: Timothy Clark’s “The Dedalus Factor: Einstein’s Science and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist,” and Michael Godfrey’s “With an Ancient Greek Gloss on It.”

2022 October 17
The Modern Word: Two papers have been added to the Brazen Head: Francesca Valente’s “Joyce’s Dubliners as Epiphanies,” and Faith Steinberg’s essay on Dubliners and priestly misconduct, “‘The Sisters’ and the Case of the Broken Chalice.”

2022 October 16
The Modern Word: Two papers have been restored to the Brazen Head: Scott Klein’s Borgesian re-evaluation of Joyce, “Pierre Menard, Author to Ulysses,” and D.B. Weiss’ “Understanding the (Net) Work,” which uses Douglas Hofstadter, Umberto Eco and Marshall McLuhan to focus on Finnegans Wake. (Yes, the same D.B. Weiss of Game of Thrones fame.)

2022 October 14
White Leviathan: Spooky Season is upon us! The Quiddity encounters a ghost ship in Encounter 8, Walpurgis Nacht; Encounter 9, The Ghost Ship; and Encounter 10, The Fruitless Search.

2022 October 13
The Modern Word: Sylvie Hill’s “His Cheeks Were Aflame: Masturbation, Sexual Frustration and Artistic Failure in Joyce’s Portrait of Stephen Dedalus” and Mimi Colligan’s “Bloomusic” have been added to the Brazen Head’s “Papers & Essays.”

2022 October 12
The Modern Word: Philip Harvey’s Bloomsday speech “Musical Joyce” has been added to the newly-restored “James Joyce Papers & Essays.”

2022 October 11
The Modern Word: Tim Conley’s paper “Joyce’s Bad Words” has been added to the newly-restored “James Joyce Papers & Essays.”

2022 October 10
White Leviathan: You ever wonder how whalers treated man-eating sharks? They gave ‘em a drink of boiling oil! While cruising Encounter 6, The Chilean Grounds, the Quiddity has two brutal contacts with the natural world in Encounter 7, Chango Tom & John Shark.

2022 October 9
The Modern Word: “James Joyce Papers & Essays” re-opens with two restored pieces: Jennifer Birkett’s “French Feminists and Anglo-Irish Modernists: Cixous, Kristeva, Beckett and Joyce,” and Melanie Arndt’s “Joyce’s Hero Mythicized: Charles Stewart Parnell.”


2022 August 18
White Leviathan: The plot thickens at Encounter 5, O Corvo Branco, where players obtain the Egyptian Fragment.

2022 August 17
White Leviathan: The Quiddity drops anchor in Chile in Encounter 4: Valparaíso.

2022 August 12
White Leviathan: The Quiddity repels invaders in Encounter 2: The Strange Case of the Manuxet and its denouement, Encounter 3: Up the Flaming Coast.

2022 August 9
White Leviathan: Chapter 3 kicks off with some mid-nineteenth century Background on the Pacific Ocean, a table of contents for Chapter 3 Encounters, and Chapter 3, Encounter 1: St. Mary’s Island.

2022 August 4
Modern Word: Allen Ruch and Christian Hänggi interview the Canadian-Egyptian composer Sam Shalabi. The creative genius behind the 30-person jazz-rock-psychedelic orchestra Land of Kush, Shalabi discusses his 2009 album Against the Day, inspired by Oum Khalsoum and Thomas Pynchon. This is a wonderful, freewheeling interview that covers everything from Kafka’s spooky face to the influence of Finnegans Wake to the intricacies of Maqam music!

2022 August 3
Modern Word: A page on historical and contemporary Joyce Reviews has been added to the Brazen Head.

2022 August 2
Modern Word: A page on Joycean Communities has been added to the Brazen Head.


2022 July 31
Modern Word: Phase 1 of the Brazen Head restoration is now complete! A section on Joycean Biography has been added, including Tim Miller’s “A Short Life of James Joyce” and Bob Williams’ comprehensive James Joyce Chronology. Also, the Brazen Head reviews Daniel Mulhall’s Ulysses: A Reader’s Odyssey.

2022 July 20
Modern Word: The American composer Samuel Barber has been added to “Joyce and Music.” This is a major addition, including pages on Barber’s six Chamber Music settings, his song “Solitary Hotel” from Ulysses, Nuvoletta from Finnegans Wake, and his Wake-inspired orchestral piece, Fadograph of a Western Scene. Also new, a review of Samuel Barber: The Complete Songs, a wonderful new collection of Barber’s songs from Resonus.

2022 July 17
Modern Word: The Joyce Works section of the Brazen Head is now complete with the addition of Joyce’s Other Works, including Before Sunrise, On Ibsen, Stephen Hero, Giacomo Joyce, The Cat and and the Devil, and various collections.

2022 July 7
Modern Word: Joyce’s Ibsen-inspired play Exiles has been added to the “Joyce Works” section. Also, six new books added to Ulysses Criticism.

2022 July 2
Modern Word: The General Joyce Criticism pages are now fully online, with sections on criticism written from 1980-1999 and 2000-Present. More books will certainly be added over the next few months, along with some fresh commentary and review.


2022 June 28
Modern Word: The General Joyce Criticism pages open with General Criticism 1924-1979, profiling the first two generations of Joyce criticism. Also, the Little Review “Ulysses” is added to the Ulysses Page, and the Ulysses Criticism pages has been divided into three sections: Annotated Versions of Ulysses, Ulysses Criticism 1927-1999, and Ulysses Criticism 2000-Present.

2022 June 26
Modern Word: A page on the Bulgarian composer Gheorghi Arnaoudov has been added to the Brazen Head. His wonderful FOOTNOTE is an “imaginary interlude” to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, based on the poem “A Prayer” by James Joyce. Also, lyrics for Stephen Albert’s Sun’s Heat have been added to the Flower of the Mountain page, and a few new books were included in the Ulysses criticism section.

2022 June 21
Modern Word: It’s the summer solstice! Don that crown of flowers, warm up the Wicker Man, and listen to the magnificent Symphony RiverRun, the latest addition to the Brazen Head’s Stephen Albert page.

2022 June 8
Modern Word: The Finnegans Wake Criticism section has been opened, profiling fifty-odd books about Joyce’s final masterpiece.

2022 June 7
Modern Word: A 16-minute aria for soprano and orchestra based on Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in Ulysses,  Flower of the Mountain has been added to the Brazen Head’s Stephen Albert page.

2022 June 6
Modern Word: A page on the great American composer Stephen Albert has been added to the Brazen Head. Having composed six works based on the writing of James Joyce, Albert began in 1978 with the wonderful song cycle, To Wake the Dead: Six Sentimental Songs and an Interlude after Finnegans Wake. The remainder of Albert’s Joyce-inspired works will be added over the course of June.

2022 June 1
Modern Word: The Brazen Head is open for business! Frankly, I was hoping to have more ready by now, but all of Joyce’s main works are fully detailed, including a new page on Finnegans Wake. There’s still much more to be done, and the site will grow considerably during the summer.


2022 May 24
Modern Word: A page detailing James Joyce’s poetry and satire has been added to the Brazen Head.

2022 May 15
Modern Word: A page on the great avant-garde composer Pierre Boulez has been added to the Brazen Head. He has two pieces inspired by the works of James Joyce: the Third Piano Sonata and Répons. The entire “James Joyce and Music” page is still under construction, and will open soon.

2022 May 13
Modern Word: One hundred years old this year, James Joyce’s Ulysses has been added to the Brazen Head. This page includes a synopsis of the novel, notes on structure and narrative, and advice for the first-time reader. It also contains a brief history of Ulysses’ legal battles with obscenity laws, and some explanation about the many different versions available. And of course, “The Joyce Wars!”

2022 May 6
Modern Word: Newly restored and revised to “Joyce Works,” a page on Joyce’s first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Also, “Joyce Criticism” pages detailing annotations, guides, and criticism for Dubliners and Portrait.

2022 May 3
Modern Word: I know it’s a peculiar addition so early in the restoration of the Brazen Head, but I just saw an amazing performance of it, so I thought I’d throw it online: Pierre Boulez’s Third Piano Sonata, a wonderful piece of music partly inspired by James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.

2022 May 1
Modern Word: It’s Beltane, so let’s get some Joyce rolling! The soon-to-be-mammoth sections of “Joyce Works” and “Joyce Criticism” re-open with modest entries on Joyce’s 1914 collection of short stories, Dubliners.


2022 April 29
Modern Word: I’ve begun restoring The Brazen Head! Established on Bloomsday 1995, this James Joyce site will officially re-open its doors in time for the Bloomsday centennial this June. But for now, a page on Joycean Quotations has been added, with much more to come over the next several weeks!

2022 April 17
White Leviathan: Chapter 2 concludes with five encounters at sea: The First Whale, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Approaching Cape Horn, and Rounding the Horn. Chapter 3 will be added in early summer, as my next goal is to restore the Brazen Head.

2022 April 4
White Leviathan: The Quiddity crosses the Line only to reach Encounter 12, The Doldrums.


2022 March 26
White Leviathan: Two new encounters complete the Quiddity’s journey to the equator—Atlantic Ocean: Encounter 10, Tropical Sailing, and Encounter 11, Crossing the Line. Father Neptune awaits, pollywogs!

2022 March 20
White Leviathan: In celebration of the vernal equinox, Atlantic Ocean: Encounter 9, “Star and Squall,” offers a Call of Cthulhu mini-game for surviving a squall at sea!

2022 March 15
White Leviathan: Five new additions to Chapter 2, all or which reflect a peaceful first few months of sailing the Atlantic. See the Chapter 2 Encounter ToC for details on Encounters 4–8.


2022 February 25
White Leviathan: Two additions to Chapter 2: Encounter 2, Selecting Boat Crews and Encounter 3, Joab’s Binding Oath.

2022 February 20
White Leviathan: Chapter 2 kicks off with three new additions: Chapter 2, Atlantic Ocean—Background, Chapter 2, Atlantic Ocean—Encounters/TOC, and Encounter 1, The First Day. This “learning the ropes” encounter features rules for “going aloft” and a system to resolve seasickness. There’s also a guest appearance by a beloved—and drunken—Lovecraftian character!

2022 February 18
White Leviathan: The final “Setting Sail” encounter has been added to Chapter 1, Kingsport 1844. Maps and family trees for Chapter 1 are coming in April.

2022 February 15
Modern Word: Interview with Steven Ricks. In 2005, American composer Steven Ricks created two remarkable pieces inspired by Gravity’s Rainbow. I this interview, Ricks discusses the influence of literature on his work and his development as an electroacoustic composer.

2022 February 1
Modern Word: The City Streets have been added to Pynchon on Record. Check out their song, “Slothrop’s Ghost!”


2022 January 31
Modern Word: High Mountain Tempel has been added to “Borges & Music.” Their 2007 space-rock album, Pacific Sky Burial (Axaxaxas mlö) is subtitled with a phrase from Borges’ story, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.”

2022 January 30
Modern Word: A section devoted to Online Video has been added to the Thomas Pynchon site.

2022 January 19
Modern Word: High Mountain Tempel has been added to Pynchon on Record. Their 2007 space-rock album, A Screaming Comes Across the Sky, takes its name from Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.

2022 January 3
Modern Word: Sam Shalabi’s Land of Kush has been added to Pynchon on Record. A blend of mid-century Egyptian big-band, avant-garde jazz, and Western psychedelia, their 2009 album Against the Day was inspired by Thomas Pynchon’s novel.

2022 January 2
Modern Word: American composer Steven Ricks has been added to Pynchon on Record. He’s written two electroacoustic pieces based on Gravity’s RainbowAmerican Dreamscape and Beyond the Zero.


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