Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Odysseus Does Dublin: Joyce’s Ulysses and Modernist Myth


The Irish writer James Joyce published Ulysses nearly a century ago, and many readers reacted with bewilderment and disgust. The story of a modern Odysseus and Telemachus and their meanderings around Dublin’s districts, both posh and seamy, was banned as pornographic for more than a decade in both the United States and United Kingdom. Nevertheless, the book rapidly gained recognition as a masterpiece and is now considered one of the most important works of world literature. This seminar will be devoted to a careful reading of the entire text within a number of frames, including classical Greek epic models and ideas about myth, as well as more immediate social, political, and artistic contexts. No previous familiarity with Joyce’s work is assumed.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Richard Martin

"Poetry and story-telling are my major interests. They have led me to do scholarly work on the epics of Homer (which beautifully combine both), as well as on medieval and modern Greek and Irish literatures. A Classicist and Celticist by training, I have further interests in the history of the novel; literary theory; folklore; and interpretive anthropology. All these areas, and more, can be fruitfully applied to the continually amazing work of James Joyce. I am eager to voyage once more through the novel with a hard-rowing crew."