Thursday, May 17, 2007


Dorothy Richardson (5/17/1873-6/17/1957) will have been gone for fifty years this June, but her writings fortunately remain. Among a number of approaches and techniques, she employed interior monologue (aka stream-of-consciousness) even as James Joyce labored with Ulysses. Other contemporaries wrote along similar lines, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust among many. But Richardson's Pilgrimage epic (multiple inter-threaded novels starting in 1915 with Pointed Roofs and ending with a posthumous publication in 1967) is less widely known. She also wrote nonfiction (including a book on the Society of Friends/Quakers) and poetry, but Pilgrimage as a whole is more akin in scope and sweep to Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu / Remembrance of Things Past / In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927), one of my favorite reads.

Pilgrimages: tinged with mystical energy, religious feeling, individual or collective searching and remembrance, a recognition and honoring of the dead -- and life.

I consider the trek to Elvis Presley's Graceland a full-fledged pilgrimage, as much as visits to Père-Lachaise Cemetery to see Jim Morrison's grave and any number of others.

I have made journeys to many cathedrals, churches, shrines, battlegrounds, massacre sites, ruins, and graves of family members, friends and ancestors throughout the United States, too.

There are plenty of places in Detroit for pilgrimages, some still visible and some left only in remnants (like Hastings Street).

Truth is, I've never done a pilgrimage, large or small, that disappointed or left me unmoved -- a good reason to keep doing them, certainly.

Today's Rune: The Self.

Birthdays: Erik Satie, Horace Dodge, Dorothy Richardson, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Mosavi Khomeini, James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell (Detroit Wolves, Detroit Senators), Do / Peep (Marshall Herff Applewhite, Heaven’s Gate), Dennis Potter, Dennis Hopper, Taj Mahal (b. Henry Saint Clair Fredericks), Bill Paxton, Sugar Ray Leonard, Enya (b. Eithne Patricia Bhraonáin), Trent Reznor.

Go Pistons!


Charles Gramlich said...

I've read some of her poetry but none of her novels. Sounds like interesting stuff.

Johnny Yen said...

I've done the Graceland pilgrimage (and blogged about it, of course!)

One thing I'd have liked to have seen in Detroit was the number of Diego Rivera works there-- Detroit had more of his murals than any other city, at one time. Most are gone now.