Comp Lit 496/570 // English 498/543
James Joyce’s Ulysses
This course will be a quarter-long, intensive introduction to the reading of one of the most influential of 20th-century novels, James Joyce’s Ulysses. Ulysses rightly has the reputation as one of the most difficult literary texts in all of English or world literature, an experiment in style, language and narrative representation unlike any other book ever written. Despite (or because of) this, it has had remarkably broad appeal both within and beyond academic settings as one of the most beloved of books as well. It is, as those who persist in reading it tend to agree, genuinely fun to read.
We’ll take things slowly and patiently. Our primary goal in the class with be gaining an initial degree of familiarity and comfort with the text; to that end, we’ll be working through a few chapters each week and relying on a couple essential secondary guides to help make our way. Ulysses, however, has also spawned a veritable industry of scholarship, and we’ll be doing an initial broad survey of recent criticism as well; part of the appeal of Ulysses is that it lends itself so well to almost any theoretical approach.
Required work: weekly quizzes, group project on secondary criticism, final paper (10-12 pp. for undergraduates; 15 pp. for graduate)
Required texts: Ulysses: The Corrected Text (Gabler edition); Harry Blamires, The Bloomsday Book; Hugh Kenner, Joyce’s Voices; Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated