English 189-2 - Winter, 2022

Seminar in Literary Studies

Topic: James Joyce: One Hundred Years of Ulysses

Class Information

Instructor: Dobbins, Gregory
CRN: 45428
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
Location: 248 Voorhies


Roughly halfway through Winter Quarter 2022-- in February-- James Joyce's legendary novel 'Ulysses' will turn 100 years old. The importance and influence of the book is difficult to understate-- but it is almost as famous for its notorious difficulty. Around the year 2000, 'Ulysses' finished first place in numerous polls that ranked "the most significant literary works of the Twentieth Century". Despite these accolades, many people-- including even some of those same people who voted in these polls-- confessed or continue to confess their inability to read the novel due to its length and complexity.

This course is, first of all, a beginner's introduction to perhaps the most famous "unread" book in the literary canon.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 that have some connection to the novel and will be helpful towards our progress. (Some familiarity with Homer's 'Odyssey' or other works by James Joyce-- namely 'Dubliners' and 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'-- will be helpful, but not necessarily mandatory) The goal at all times, however, will be to understand as much of Ulysses as we can and simply try and complete our reading of the novel by the end of the quarter.


One term paper (10-12 pages), various short writing assignments concerned with learning how to grapple with Joyce's prose techniques, weekly discussion submissions to help guide our course discussion, and frequent and productive class participation.


Ulysses, James Joyce
Ulysses Annotated, Don Gifford