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Study information

James Joyce's Ulysses

Module titleJames Joyce's Ulysses
Module codeEAS3167
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Mark Steven (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module offers you the opportunity to acquire a detailed and intimate reading knowledge of Joyce’s Ulysses, a key text in the development of literary modernism. In reading Ulysses episode by episode, the course will provide an in-depth analysis of Joyce’s formal and stylistic innovations. Additionally, as each week will focus on a particular theoretical or historical debate surrounding Joyce’s text, you are introduced to a variety of critical readings that have emerged in Joyce studies over the years: Homeric Joyce, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, new historicism, postcolonialism, cultural studies, ecocriticism, and genetic criticism.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • To enable you to situate Joyce’s text within its historical context and to facilitate your consideration of the intersections between modernist politics and aesthetics
  • To encourage you to consider Joyce’s stylistic and formal experimentations within the wider context of modernist art forms
  • To enable you to refine your close-reading skills and develop original, independent research projects in response to your reading of Joyce’s novel
  • To motivate you to evaluate and apply different critical models have been produced by critics in response to Joyce’s text

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate and advanced critical understanding of Joyce's Ulysses
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand Ulysses in the context of Literary Modernism
  • 3. Demonstrate an advanced capacity to engage with concepts such as modernism, free indirect discourse, stream of consciousness, and other narrative techniques
  • 4. Demonstrate an advanced critical understanding of the historical and theoretical approaches that have been used in the analysis of Joyce's novel

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse a modernist literary text and to relate it to its historical and cultural context
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses specific to their own discipline with issues in the wider context of cultural and intellectual history
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced ability to understand and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, and to apply these ideas to literary texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Through discussions, demonstrate advanced communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and in groups
  • 9. Through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographic skills, an advanced capacity to construct a coherent, substantiated argument, and a capacity to write clear and correct prose
  • 10. Through research for essays demonstrate advanced proficiency in information retrieval and analysis
  • 11. Through research and writing, demonstrate an advanced capacity to make critical use of secondary material, to question assumptions, and to reflect on their own learning process

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Individual episodes from Joyce’s Ulysses will be read in each week across the duration of the term to give you the time to develop an in-depth knowledge of Joyce’s text, his aesthetic concerns and the political and social contexts that prompted the composition of his novel. 
  • Significant time will be spent in the first few weeks to examine the particulars of Joyce’s stylistic experimentation (e.g. free indirect discourse, stream of consciousness, intertextuality). Critical debates that have developed in response to Joyce’s text will be introduced each week (e.g. “Sirens” and poststructuralism; “Wandering Rocks” and eco-criticism”; “Cyclops” and postcolonialism; “Penelope” and feminist criticism).

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1111 x 1 hour lectures introducing key aspects of the material to be discussed in seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching2211 x 2 hour seminars devoted to the main readings assigned for each week
Guided independent study103Seminar preparation (independent)
Guided independent study164Reading, research and essay preparation

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical commentary251500 words1-7, 9-11Written feedback with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Essay proposal10500 words1-4, 8-11Oral feedback from tutor and peers in seminar supplemented by feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Essay654000 words1-11Written feedback with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Critical commentaryCritical commentary1-7, 9-11Referral/Deferral period
Essay proposalEssay proposal1-4, 8-11Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1-11Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:

Primary texts:

  • Joyce, James. Ulysses: The Corrected Text, ed. by Hans Walter Gabler (London and New York: Random House, 1986).

Selected secondary texts:

  • Attridge, Derek. Joyce Effects: On Language, Theory, and History (Cambridge: CUP, 2001).
  • Budgen, Frank. James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1967).
  • Gifford, Don with Robert J. Seidman. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce’s Ulysses (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).
  • Gilbert, Stuart. James Joyce’s Ulysses (New York: Vintage, 1958).
  • Kenner, Hugh. Joyce’s Voices (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978).
  • Killeen, Terence. Ulysses Unbound: A Reader’s Companion to James Joyce’s Ulysses (Dublin: Wordwell, 2004).
  • Lawrence, Karen. The Odyssey of Style in Ulysses (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

James Joyce, modernism, Homer, critical theory

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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