ENGL406: James Joyce

Course Syllabus for "ENGL406: James Joyce"

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Many consider James Joyce the most influential author of the 20th century.  His innovations in narrative strategy in particular continue to shape and inspire literature today.  In this course, we will examine Joyce’s aesthetic and artistic sensibilities through close readings of the major works in his oeuvre, placing special emphasis on Ulysses, whose expansive length and nearly infinite depths has sustained scholarship for decades. Before we embark upon our journey through Joyce’s canon, we will take a look at the life and times of James Joyce, situating the literary giant within a number of contexts: the fight for Irish home rule, Modernism, the World Wars, and the Irish Literary Revival.  We will then progress through his works chronologically, by date of publication: from the sober, artful short fiction of the Dubliners to the avant-garde wordplay of Finnegans Wake.  By the end of this course, you will not only have read and thought critically about a number of the most celebrated works of the last century, but will have evaluated for yourself the reasons for Joyce’s commanding and revered position within the English canon.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Place the works of James Joyce in the context of historical events and literary developments (in Ireland as well as the broader literary community) contemporaneous to their creation;
  • Discuss the theme of place in Joyce’s works, especially in The Dubliners; more specifically, students will be able to describe the notion of place in Joyce’s works as it relates to identity;
  • Identify the literary strategies and techniques Joyce uses in his works and cite examples of them from the texts read in class;
  • Trace the evolution of Joyce’s writing style across his different books and compare the development of shared themes in his various novels;
  • Identify and discuss the main recurring themes in James’s work, including immobility, religion, and maturation, and cite examples of these from his specific texts;
  • Summarize the use of language in Joyce’s works, specifically Finnegans Wake, and point to this as an example of Joyce’s unique aesthetic

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:
√    Have access to a computer.
√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.
√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
√    Be competent in the English language.
Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.