James Joyce's Ulysses: Reading and Commentary (Part 3 of 4) (55+)

Reading Ulysses is a very special experience. The novel, by James Joyce (1882–1941), is one of the greatest works of English literature, but it’s also known as a book that people start and soon put down in frustration. Through this in-class reading, with commentary, you’ll have an opportunity not just to make it to the last page but to understand and appreciate Ulysses, grasping Joyce’s virtuosity and the poignancy of the humanity he expresses. You will come away from the course being able to say, “I have read Ulysses.”

This extraordinary course is unfolding over two terms, in four parts. This term you can take both of the remaining parts or choose just one. Even in a single part you’ll become intimately familiar with a large portion of the novel, which will lead to a better understanding of Ulysses in its entirety.

Note: Back by popular demand, from summer 2017.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Outline what Ulysses as a whole ‘is all about’
  • Give examples of writing styles used in episodes of Ulysses
  • Discuss and describe in depth several consecutive episodes of Ulysses
  • More confidently undertake your own reading of Ulysses
  • (On taking all four parts) say “I have read Ulysses

Learning methods

You will learn through in-class reading with commentary. For Liberal Arts Certificate for 55+ students: you will write a reflective essay.

Books, materials and resources

The following book is required reading for this course. You may purchase any version from the SFU Bookstore, online or from your favourite bookstore.

  • James Joyce, Ulysses

The following is recommended reading for this course. You may purchase the recommended reading online or from your favourite bookstore. 

  • Before the course begins, it is recommended, but not required, that you read Joyce’s Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. While some of the Dubliners stories are a little enigmatic, they offer relatively short and easy reading. It would also help if you could read (or re-read) Homer’s Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. And, if you’re really keen, you might want to read Richard Ellmann’s biography, James Joyce.

Academic integrity and student conduct

You are expected to comply with Simon Fraser University’s Academic Integrity and Student Conduct Policies. Please click here for more details. Simon Fraser University is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety, and freedom from harassment and discrimination.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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