The Novel: Joyce’s "Ulysses"

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The title of James Joyce’s Ulysses raises a number of issues about the meaning and method of the text: by naming his novel about an Irish Everyman after the Latin version of the Greek hero Odysseus, Joyce sets up a complex web of cultural and political references that ramify throughout the work. Students in this course will learn to read Ulysses by paying close attention to the text itself and by making strategic associations to the political and cultural contexts that inform the novel. Along the way, we will ask ourselves such questions as these: What adjustments does the reader have to make to the practice of “normal” reading in order to understand and appreciate the novel? What makes Ulysses different from novels written before it? What makes it a modernist work? Or a proto-postmodernist work? What is the relationship of tradition and experimentation in the novel? And so on. Students should purchase the edition of Ulysses edited by Hans Walter Gabler and read the first chapter for the first class meeting.

3 credits

Course Code: HUM 321

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

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  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.