Research in Specific Author(s) or Work(s) (Post-1800)

L760 — Spring 2022

Joshua Kates
Days and Times
7:00 - 10:00p W (4 CR)
Course Description

*AUTHORIZATION REQUIRED (Non-English Department students please contact the instructor first.)

Topic: Joyce's Metaphysics

Joyce’s work represents perhaps the attempt in English, at once sustained and varied, to turn to literature (and language) in response to the modern disengagement with all forms of the sacred. Joyce works out that disenchantment in the realism of Dubliners, in the epic everydayness of Ulysses, and in the historico- linguisticism of Finnegan’s Wake. The primary work of this course will thus be watching this undertaking unfold across James Joyce’s prose fiction, by reading some of Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, culminating in our reading of Ulysses, though we will also dip our toes into Wake. (Our passage through these texts will be accompanied by some of the classic commentary, as well as online resources annotating Ulysses in particular.) Joyce had, however, a deep relation to the history of metaphysics, which also supplied a footing for his ongoing thought and writing. Hence we will turn for added inputs to excerpts from the writings of Aristotle (On the Soul), Aquinas (On Beauty), Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra) and Giambattista Vico (The New Science), as well as, perhaps, from some of Jacques Derrida’s numerous discussions of Joyce.

Participants are expected to actively engage in class discussion; there may be class presentations, and there were certainly be a seminar length (18-22 page) final paper.