James Joyce’s Dubliners: A Reading Group
Few people can boast of really having read and understood James Joyce’s writings. Joyce published his famous collection of fifteen short stories, Dubliners, in 1914, but not before years of struggle with publishers who feared the book was too daring and brutally honest about Ireland and Joyce’s native city, Dublin. The stories are now regarded as masterpieces of storytelling, filled with details of Irish life around 1900 and studded with mysterious meanings, symbols, and allusions. This seminar will combine lively but relaxed group discussion with the instructor’s guidance on Joyce’s life, Irish history, music, and culture, and strategies for unlocking the stories’ meanings. The seminar will conclude with Joyce’s magnificent tale, The Dead, the subject of a musically rich film directed by John Huston, which we will also view.
Required Reading: Dubliners by James Joyce, any complete edition
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 PhD in English at Princeton University, and his JD 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 2016 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to complete his forthcoming book, Modernism and the Law.