Published in 1922, James Joyce’s Ulysses invited legal suppression and moralistic attack for its uncensored picture of Dublin and Dubliners. The book is now regarded as a masterpiece of modernist narrative and comic storytelling, filled with symbols, allusions, and wildly funny depictions of life during a single day in 1904 Dublin. This seminar will combine lively discussion with the instructor’s guidance on Joyce’s life, Irish history, music, and culture. We will read selected chapters and passages that will serve as a “starter kit” with which participants can master the rest of Ulysses on their own. Joyce purportedly remarked of Ulysses, “I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant.” It’s been nearly a century, and we’re still arguing—and having fun doing it!
Required Reading: Ulysses by James Joyce. Penguin Random House/Vintage. ISBN: 978-0394743127
Robert Spoo ’79 holds an endowed chair in law at the University of Tulsa and is a former English professor and editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. He earned his Ph.D. in English at Princeton University, and his J.D. at Yale Law School. He has published numerous books and articles on Joyce and other modern authors, including James Joyce and the Language of History: Dedalus’s Nightmare and Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain, both with Oxford University Press. He has lectured on Joyce throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and serves as General Counsel for the International James Joyce Foundation. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete his latest book, Modernism and the Law (2018).