English 189-1 - Winter, 2018

Seminar in Literary Studies

Topic: James Joyce's 'Ulysses' and the Modernist Novel

Class Information

Instructor: Dobbins, Gregory
CRN: 53164
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 248 Voorhies


Around the year 2000, James Joyce's lengthy and difficult novel Ulysses finished first place in a number of polls that ranked "the most significant literary works of the Twentieth Century". Despite these accolades, many people-- including those who voted in these polls-- confessed or continue to confess their inability to read the novel due to its complexity. This course is, first of all, a beginner's introduction to perhaps the most famous "unread" book in the literary canon. After very quick considerations of Joyce's earlier works Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the majority of the quarter will be devoted to a slow and in-depth reading of Ulysses. Along the way, we will read additional brief works by figures such as W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lady Gregory, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf in order to contextualize the novel within irish cultural history and within the emergence of literary modernism. The goal at all times, however, will be to understand as much of Ulysses as we can.


One term paper (10-12 pages), various short writing assignments concerned with learning how to grapple with Joyce's prose techniques, and frequent and productive class participation


James Joyce, Richard Ellmann
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
Dubliners, James Joyce
Ulysses (1963 edition), James Joyce
Ulysses Annotated, Don Gifford