Upper-Division Seminar: Ulysses

Course Number: ENGL 197
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
Advisory Enrollment Information: This course cannot be repeated and is limited to upper-division English majors only.
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 197
Quarter: Summer B 2014
Instructor: Duffy, Enda
Day(s): MTWR
Time: 8:00 AM - 9:05 AM
Location: SH 2617

In this seminar we will read James Joyce’s great novel Ulysses, written in the years1914-21, and probably the most famous and notorious novel in the English language. Since we have approximately twenty class meetings, and the novel, at 644 pages, is divided into eighteen very different ‘Episodes,’ we will read approximately one episode per class. You will make extensive use of web-based and written guides as you read-navigate the tissue of styles, allusions, jokes, ruminations, snippets of gossip, fragments of Irish, Jewish and world history, lines of songs and opera arias, quotes in Yiddish, Gaelic, French, German, Italian, Greek, Latin (and English), portmanteau phrases, discussions of bodily functions, daydreams of sex past present and future, streams of consciousness, unconsciousness and pre- and post-consciousness, as well as beautiful phrases and hyper-accurate descriptions of everyday things and activities that make up the book. By the end you will know the hero, Leopold Bloom, who spends his day walking around Dublin, and his wife Molly, who spends the day in bed, at least as well as you know yourself. We will make sense of the lavish and wildly excessive pleasures of this text by concentrating on a number of topics: the accounts of all the human senses that punctuate the writing, the ways in which the characters encounter and elude history, and the ways in which the book challenges you to feel your way into modes of being and living in the world that are more expressive, tolerant and pleasurable than the various versions of modern life for which most of us settle. Here is one book that incites you to live a life less ordinary, and you owe it to yourself and your education to read it before you graduate.