Hello, and welcome to the first edition of Sprial-Bound, the Modern Word's newsletter. My name is Allen Ruch -- the fellow with the nickname of "Quail" -- and I'm the editorial director of the site. (I started it as the Libyrinth back in 1995 -- some of you may remember that!) After I re-launched the Libyrinth as The Modern Word, I decided that a newsletter might be a good way to keep in contact with people interested in the sort of literature the site likes to feature -- high quality, experimental, twentieth-century literature, be it from the Modernism of Joyce to the "magic realism" of the Latin American Boom. Sprial-Bound will contain links to new additions on the site, recommended links to off-site resources, excerpts from book reviews, and general notices.
It is also my intention that this newsletter be a community effort, and after a few issues get out there, I will begin opening it up to subscribers -- you will be able to suggest links, post comments, or even send in links to your own reviews. I am also planning to start up a Mailing List devoted to modern literature, a sort of Sprial-Bound online community. I will have instructions how to join in the next issue.
B) Notes on Technology:
As many of you know, the site is a new incarnation, and we've had some problems regarding the technology. June and July had many unfortunate periods of down-time, and we are addressing that by moving the site to a more reliable host. Not only will this new host be able to provide us with more reliable service, but the Gallery will be able to accept credit cards on a secure server. All this should take place this week -- so I apologize in advance if there are any more periods of trouble, but it should be smooth sailing after this. Thanks for hanging in there!
The first round of our visitor's survey is wrapping up soon, so if you have not filled it out, I'd like to invite you to do so. Not only will it provide us with some useful information, but you will be eligible to win one of several literary prizes. For details, please go to:
D) The Daily Muse -- A Call for Submissions:
One new feature on the Modern Word is the "Daily Muse," a literary thought which changes daily, such as a quote, trivia question, or word of the day. I would like to open the Daily Muse up to subscribers of Sprial-Bound -- if anyone has a favorite quote they would like to contribute, or a literary trivia question, or a literary word of the day, please email it to me at editor@TheModernWord.com. If I select your submission, I will enter your name in a contest for a small prize -- a $20 gift certificate to Amazon.com, to be awarded bimonthly.
E) Fiction Writing Workshop
The Modern Word is currently talking to Gotham Writer's Workshop, an organization that offers excellent online writing classes in a variety of subjects. We hope to create a new online writing class for people interested in writing fiction that pushes the envelope of traditional forms. I will talk more about this in a future; but in the meantime, if you'd like to take a look at GWW or sign up for one of their existing classes, go to:
F) What's New at the Modern Word?
The following notable recent additions have been made to The Modern Word:
The "Ulysses" Suite:
Paul Joyce, great-grandnephew of James Joyce, has recently completed a series of oil paintings and etchings he calls "The Ulysses Suite." Each chapter of "Ulysses" has inspired a related etching and painting, providing a literary challenge requiring a unique artistic solution. The Modern Word is proud to host a gallery for the Ulysses Suite, where you can browse or purchase Paul's work online. (The oil paintings are unique, and the etchings are in a limited series of 100 each.)
Anthony Burgess Scriptorium Page
Written by Timothy Conley, this page is dedicated to one of the most prolific and varied authors of the twentieth century, Anthony Burgess. Though is is best known for "A Clockwork Orange," his contributions to modern literature and criticism would assure him a place on the Modern Word had he never even created young Alex and his droogies.
Donald Barthelme Scriptorium Page
Written by Gus Negative, this page explores the life and work of Donald Barthelme, a key figure in American postmodernism. Author of over a hundred short stories and several intriguing -- and quite funny -- novels, a Barthelme page is a long overdue and quite welcome addition!
"The Power of Gabriel Garcia Marquez"
From the "New Yorker," this article by Jon Lee Anderson is one of the most insightful, and current, pieces on Gabo in the last few years. (Copyright 1999 New Yorker)
Two new papers on James Joyce:
"Understanding the (Net) Wake."
Dan Weiss takes a look at Finnegans Wake under the influence of Umberto Eco, Douglas Hoftstadter, and Marshall McLuhan.
"Pierre Menard, Author of Ulysses."
Scott Klein takes a Borgesian look at "Ulysses" as a Modernist work.
G) What's in the Works?
Current submissions for Scriptorium sites include pieces on Zulfikar Ghose and Angela Carter; I hope to get them online within two weeks. The Modern Word's Literary Board of Advisors have also picked the "Next Ten" authors for full Libyrinth sites:
Of these, sites on Beckett and Woolf are under construction and should open in late 2000, and sites on Fuentes and Calvino are in the planning phases.
H) Featured Off-site Links
Levi Asher's site is dedicated to the Beat generation, and features some wonderful pages on writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, W.S. Burroughs and many more.
Internet Anagram Server
One of my personal favorite spots on the Web, this site generates an exhaustive list of anagrams for any word or phrase you type in.
A French literary site -- nicely executed, with some good information and links.
Thank you, and I'll see you in a few weeks!