Beginners Course 2018

 An Introduction to James Joyce’s Ulysses

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Monk O’Neill, an assiduous reader of James Joyce. Monk impersonated by Wayne Pearn. Photograph by Bernard Peasley.

When: 10:00am-5:00pm Saturday 3rd February 2018

Where: Celtic Club, 420 William St

Cost: $80 (concessional rate, $60, for students and healthcard holders) – EARLY BIRD TICKET $60

Booking: Online, or by phoning Bob Glass on 03 9898 2900.



—Don’t you know he’s dead? says Joe.

—Paddy Dignam dead! says Alf. He’s no more dead than you are.

—Maybe so, says Joe. They took the liberty of burying him this morning anyhow.

When presented with the reviews of his novel in 1922, James Joyce said, rather sadly, ‘Did no-one think it was funny?’ We do. We think Ulysses is the funniest, the wisest and the most human book, and on this day together we want to give you the keys to unlock it, share with you the best bits and invite your own responses to the text.

This interactive course, a mix of presentation and discussion of text, assumes no prior knowledge of Ulysses, although anything you do know will certainly come in handy.

Here’s what we’ll be covering in this intensive course:-


Session One: What’s It All About? (90 mins)

An introduction to the world of Ulysses – the who, what, where, when and why. Why is it called Ulysses, for starters? What were the difficulties that stood in the way of publication and why? Why does everyone talk about it? Is its reputation deserved, and why? Using four key user-friendly chapters (4, 6, 13 and 18) as orientation points (and we’ll share how to find them with you in advance so you can read them for yourself), we help you plot your way through Dublin on Thursday 16th June 1904. We’ll introduce you to Stephen Dedalus, Leopold and Molly Bloom and other key characters. We’ll discuss Joyce’s revolutionary ‘stream of consciousness’ and other bold techniques that have had such an enormous influence on literature ever since. And a myriad of other matters: Why does Joyce use dashes instead of quotation marks? Why does he feed you narrative in such a piecemeal way? How does he build character and complexity?


Session Two: Four Key Themes in Ulysses (90 mins)

We explore Joyce’s approach of ‘the universal in the particular, the heroic in the everyday’; race and cultural identity; loss and grief; and infidelity. How does Joyce weave these themes through the book?


Session Three: Joyce’s Revolutionary Techniques for conveying Inner Speech (90 mins)

Taking two passages from Ulysses, we look more closely at Joyce the writer and at the multiple levels of meaning he achieves.


Session Four: Now It’s Your Turn! (90 Mins)

Take your pick from a selection of passages of the book and explore in a small group. Share what you find!


Then, we’ll debrief in the Royal Exchange Hotel.