Insurgent Summer (and Ulysses)

Those who have been following (or playing) along since this blog started up as a splinter of Infinite Summer will no doubt remember another splinter blog, Infinite Tasks. Its author (Jeff) was at times eerily on the mark when writing about his first read of Infinite Jest, and I’ve looked forward to his return to lit blogging since the end of that inaugural summer project. At last he’s back, this time leading a summer read of his own. See his announcement below.

What is this summer’s most radical online project? Insurgent Summer is an online book reading and cooperative blog discussion of Fredy Perlman’s 1976 book Letters of Insurgents. This is a 800+ page book of fictional letters between two Eastern European workers, Yarostan Vochek and Sophia Nachalo, separated by twenty-five years and two continents. As they reconnect through an exchange of letters, we learn about the battles they have fought – physical, political, emotional, and moral – and eventually the ones they have left to fight.

Your reading of Letters will begin on June 11, 2010, with the first of the ten exchanges between Yarostan and Sophia. Each week, three “Guides” (DeAnna, Artnoose, and Andrej) will post discussion pieces, reflections and analysis, preparing the terrain for an engaging discussion to which everyone is invited! We will conclude on August 20, in honor of Fredy Perlman’s birthday!

Though copies of the book are limited, we are happy announce that we have both audio and full-text downloads of Letters of Insurgents available. Insurgent Summer is an opportunity to read one of the most important books of anarchist fiction and morality of all time. Please visit for more information, and let us know that you’re going to participate!

It’s sure to be an enlightening and fulfilling group read. In fact, I have only two reservations about suggesting that you sign right up. Of course, there’s some overlap with the last half of Moby-Dick, so by advertising this, I’m inviting defection. But I think (hope) people are finding Melville’s book not to be the slog they expected it to be. And if you’re not more or less committed to Moby-Dick by the midpoint, you’re a defection candidate anyway, and I can think of no better endpoint for your defection than Jeff’s reading project. The second reservation pertains to the next Infinite Zombies read, which I’ve been planning but had not announced officially. That read will be Ulysses, starting around July 12, right in the middle (not by design) of Insurgent Summer. I don’t think I have the wherewithal to read both at once, but Jeff says he plans to. Maybe you can too! At any rate, one way or the other, you can go ahead make firm plans to dig into something heavier than Cosmo as we wrap up Moby-Dick.

6 thoughts on “Insurgent Summer (and Ulysses)

  1. MT June 6, 2010 / 3:09 am

    You people are leading me on a quest in which I shall ascend to oracle-hood. My brain eagerly wrinkles at the prospect, but my soul wonders if I can still dance as an all-knowing (or almost-all) being. In other words, have you no (literary) MERCY?!

  2. Sorrento June 12, 2010 / 12:22 am

    Can you recommend an edition of Ulysses for a first time reader? I’d like to order one next week so that I can get a little bit of a head start.

    • Daryl L. L. Houston June 12, 2010 / 9:59 am

      Sorrento, I don’t know what the best edition for a first-timer is. I doubt the edition I have is. I’m actually turning coordination of this read over to another person, and he’ll post in a week (or maybe two) about suggested editions, etc. I’ll be doing a brief intro post on Wednesday. Maybe I’ll ask the guy if he can make an edition recommendation for inclusion there, for the early birds.

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