Ulysses For All 2021 – Spring/Summer ONLINE Course : Joyce in Times of Pandemic

Our 2021 Spring ULYSSES FOR ALL ONLINE course will commence on Thursday the 18th of March from 6-8pm. Thereafter our group will meet every Wednesday evening until the 9th of June!

James Joyce published the first version of the ‘Hades’ episode in September 1918 just as the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic was beginning to take hold – a fact not missed by Bloom who reminisces on widespread illness as he makes his way to Glasnevin cemetery for the burial of Paddy Dignam.  Bloom’s reflection, rather oddly, associates pandemics such as influenza and scarlet fever with publicity campaigns much like the one currently underway in relation to Covid-19. While his association might initially appear to normalize premature death and to make consumer choices (or even democracy) seem like processes of consensual ‘infection’, Bloom nonetheless recognizes that diseases such as scarlet fever and influenza resemble the external forms and structures that shape our existence.  In other words, if we feel we can choose to opt in or out (“don’t miss this chance”), that choice is framed by and contingent upon external situations – often times beyond our control.

Join us in March 2021  for the ONLINE return of our popular structured reading group, ULYSSES FOR ALL.  Led by Dubliner and Joycean, Caroline Elbay, the group will work through the episodes of Joyce’s masterpiece in a structured, accessible and relaxed environment. Beginning on the 18th March, the course runs over 12 weeks and will finish ahead of Bloomsday on the 9th June – just in time for Bloomsday when you to boast to the pretenders in costume that you’ve actually read the book!

“Scarlatina, influenza epidemics. Canvassing for death. Don’t miss this chance” (U 6:124-25).

ULYSSES FOR ALL aims to show that contrary to popular perception, Joyce’s epic was not written exclusively for the academics, but for everyman.  Ulysses is a celebration of the ordinary and mundane, of the tediums and joys of everyday life. It is a book which embraces the notion of a common culture, making it just as relevant in modern multicultural Ireland as when it was first published in 1922.  

The focus of this year’s course will be on disease and pandemics. Participants will be encouraged to explore the unique interplay between the factual and fictional that makes Ulysses so distinct. Members of the group will also be encouraged to conduct their own research on the text or offer their own insights published on the Centre’s website in a special project called ‘My Ulysses’.   

Special guest speakers will offer expert advice about how to read and re-read Joyce – and why you don’t need a PhD to take something from it or to bring something to it! 

We invite you to join in our Dublin odyssey and put YOU into Ulysses.

Departure date:  Thursday 18th March  6-8pm (thereafter the group meets each Wednsday from 6-8 p.m. online)

Arrival date: Wednesday 9th June 2021