E 379S • Senior Seminar--James Joyce
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Only one of the following may be counted: E 376L (Topic: James Joyce), E 679HA (Topic: James Joyce), E 379S (Senior Seminar--James Joyce).
James Joyce was perhaps the greatest writer of English prose during the past century. His novel Ulysses represented a literary watershed when it was published in 1922 and has become the central text of English modernism. Joyce's dazzling experiments with language and form will perplex, amaze and delight us as we work our way through Ulysses. Other aspects of Ulysses may annoy us--such as the erudition that Joyce presumes of his readers, and the elitist assumptions that underlay his work (as well as that of such contemporaries as Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot). Although we will keep our focus on Joyce's texts, we will also engage such matters as the presumptions and implications of literary modernism in general.
Joyce's works challenged the literary conventions of his time and the expectations of his readers. Accordingly, we will address a number of theoretical issues during our discussions, such as the relationship between art and life, the status of an author's "intention" as the determinant of meaning, the artifices of realism, the nature of narrative, the effect of narrative perspective and voice, and pervasively, the viability of language itself as a medium for the "representation" of "reality."
Joyce is a notably evolutionary author, so we will read his works in sequence, as he wrote them. We begin with Dubliners (his early collection of short stories), proceed to his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and conclude with Ulysses. We will also consider some of Joyce's poems, letters, and critical writings, as they illuminate major works.
Your grade will be mostly based on your written work, although 10% may reflect your class participation in some cases. (Such participation is presumed.) There will be three papers in the course: 4-5 pages each on Dubliners and A Portrait, a somewhat longer (10-12 pages) paper on Ulysses. No late papers accepted; and regular attendance will be presumed (no one absent more than five times will be given a passing grade in the class).