MWF 9:30–10:50 a.m.
This course will focus on some of the greatest novels ever written, from the early-20th century modernist period in literature..
This course will investigate modernism through the lens of fiction only, starting with James Joyce’s experimental novel Ulysses, considered the most influential modernist text in the English language (with the possible exception of T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”). Using Homer’s Odyssey as his model, Joyce tracks Leopold Bloom (Odysseus) and Stephen Dedalus (Telemachus) as they make their rounds in Dublin on June 16, 1904—a date still commemorated in Irish pubs (yes, even in far-away Seattle).
Fair warning: Ulysses is not for the faint of heart, running to some 700 pages of stream-of-consciousness prose! Whole volumes of commentary have been written to explain Joyce’s references and allusions. More recently, Joyce lovers have taken to creating annotated hypertext editions of Ulysses. For a sample, check out Samuel Schiminovitch’s (unfinished) version:
In addition to Ulysses, we’ll read two other famous day-in-the-life novels: one by Joyce’s exact contemporary, Virginia Woolf, and the other by Ian McEwan (whose prose is a model of lucidity). Crossing the pond, we’ll read a classic American modernist novel, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Finally, we’ll read a recent stream-of-consciousness novel by the Scottish novelist A. L. Kennedy, which follows the life of a working-class English soldier during World War II. (“A. L.” stands for Alison Louise.)
James Joyce, Ulysses
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
A. L. Kennedy, Day
Ian McEwan, Saturda