Fall 2019 English Graduate Courses

350:596 - Ulysses and Vernacular Fiction

Course No:  350:596
Index # - 19013
Distribution Requirement:  A5
Tuesday - 9:50 a.m.
MU 207

Ulysses and Vernacular Fiction

Rebecca Walkowitz

This first half of this course will involve an intensive analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses. We'll focus on Joyce's effort to represent “the vernacular,” in at least four senses: the vernacular of spoken idiom and dialect; the vernacular of popular culture and everyday life; the vernacular of explicit sexuality and unflinching description; and the vernacular of local experiences and small-scale collectivity. What happens to the vernacular when it is translated and circulated globally?  What strategies did Joyce develop for thinking about the relationship between the local and the global?  And how have later writers adapted those strategies?  The course will consider the translation and circulation of Ulysses as a book; approaches to Joyce's writing within the new modernist studies; and the uptake of the Joycean vernacular in later work in English and other languages. The second half of the course is likely to include adaptations and translations by the following: Bechdel, Bellow, Bolaño, Borges, Churchill, Díaz, Mitchell, Nabokov, and Smith.  We'll read selections from recent scholarship in modernist studies and major theoretical statements about modernism and modernity, including essays by Bakhtin, Baudelaire, Benjamin, de Certeau, Foucault, and Woolf.  We'll also talk about strategies for teaching Ulysses to undergraduates.  No prior exposure to Joyce's fiction is expected or required.  There will be a midterm paper (5-7 pp) and a final paper (15 pp).

Readings
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce, Ulysses, Gabler Edition
Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives, trans. Natasha Wimmer

Saul Bellow, Herzog
Caryl Churchill, Blue Heart
Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her
Ali Smith, How to Be Both

David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home