The well is dry today.
It’s not that I don’t have things to write about. I had a wonderful snow day with my family. I could very easily write about the antics of my daughter, or the snow falling softly on our new lawn, or how much I admire my husband for going out again and again to keep our driveway and walkway clear.
But I put off writing this post until after I did some work on my dissertation. And after working on that, let me tell you, the well is dry. I’m surprised I can form coherent sentences!
So instead, here are some snippets of what I’ve been working on: the prospectus for my project.
Pater, Pietas, and Patria: Fathers, Faith, and National Identity in Ulysses and the Aeneid
The Homeric epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey have long been the fodder of authors seeking to retell those classic stories. From antiquity to Hollywood there is no shortage of versions of Homer’s tales. As author Jonathan W. Rosen points out, the genre of reimagined literature is “a vibrant transnational genre—a genre constituted by the conversion of minor characters from canonical works into protagonists” (Rosen 139). This dissertation will look at two such retellings: Ulysses by James Joyce and the Aeneid by Virgil. Specifically, I will be looking at three common elements: the idea of faith and pietas, the recurring motif of fathers and sons, and the intent and struggle of both authors to create a national identity out of disparate political and cultural influences.
While this dissertation will address each of these topics separately, it will also look at the confluence of faith, fathers, and the fatherland in the two texts. Both Virgil and Joyce use the question of faith (pietas for Virgil, often lack of faith for Joyce) and relationships between fathers and sons as a way to form a national identity. This dissertation will explore the complicated relationship that both authors had with their homelands and their patrons as well as the ways they used common motifs to develop larger statements about what it means to be Roman and Irish.
My mind is fried, and I still have an annotated bibliography to finish! Thank goodness for a delayed opening tomorrow!