British Writers: James Joyce
This seminar is a comprehensive introduction to the work of James Joyce. We’ll start with a quick survey of Joyce’s early prose fiction and poetry (Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist, and Chamber Music), and spend most of the quarter exploring Ulysses, the summit of literary modernism. To dispel fear of Ulysses, we’ll read the book one episode at a time, tracking the progressive weaving and unweaving of sense. Discussions will address the book’s Irish and European contexts and influences, and Joyce's exuberant transvaluations of all novelistic values (narrative devices, generic conventions, topics, perspectives, styles and humors). A portion of each meeting will be devoted to music in Ulysses, from Palestrina, Mozart, Verdi, and Wagner to Irish street ballads and turn-of-the-century music-hall favorites. We’ll end with a reading of selected passages from Finnegans Wake. Desiderata: familiarity with Homer’s Odyssey and interest in sly uses of language. Text: Ulysses: The Corrected Text, ed. by Hans Walter Gabler, (available at UW Bookstore and elsewhere). Requirements: weekly assignments, participation in one team-presentation, and a course project involving independent research and resulting in a final paper (9-10 pages). Please note: Ulysses is a delightful but very demanding book. To succeed in this class (and benefit from it) you’d need to commit an unusual amount of time and energy.