A weekend course on the greatest writer in English since Shakespeare. Taught by a leading Joycean, covering all the works, with the promise to make Ulysses a companion for the rest of your life.


For many readers ‘The Dead’ is the best short story in the English language, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is its most compelling coming of age story. Both pale in comparison to Ulysses, however: Joyce’s paramount achievement, which uses one day in the life of Dublin to reflect on the whole of Western culture and society.


Joyce is also the most difficult of the great writers in English. The apparently simple stories of Dubliners are subtle and complex; A Portrait of the Artist refuses an ending; Ulysses requires an enormous range of knowledge to follow its references; and Finnegans Wake, his final work, is not written in any immediately recognizable language.


During this weekend course, we will read closely in all four of Joyce’s works, with the focus on Ulysses and the promise that by Sunday evening you will be equipped to continue reading Ulysses for the rest of your life. We will tackle Joyce chronologically, looking at the texts but also the contexts: the Dublin of the Gaelic revival; pre-First World War Trieste; Zurich as a haven from the butchery of the First World War; the Paris of entre deux guerres. But our central concern is with Joyce’s texts and the close reading of them. The course will be led by Colin MacCabe, one of the world’s leading Joyce experts and author of James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word.


How To Read James Joyce runs from 10am to 5pm, on Saturday and Sunday the 28th to the 29th of September. Each day will be divided into four sessions, with breaks in the morning and afternoon for tea and coffee, and a lunch-hour.


Participants are asked to have read ‘The Dead” and at least one other story from Dubliners; likewise A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the first three chapters of Ulysses.


The Telegraph/How To Academy seminars celebrate the art of reading and the craft of criticism. In this unique series, we ask authors to stand before a page rather than a podium, to share a private passion rather than give a public performance – and we ask readers to roll up their sleeves and participate. In the course of a day, or a weekend, you will be guided in small groups through the historical and biographical context of the work and shown how to unlock its meanings, release its power, and absorb the quality of its strangeness. These intimate events will take place in the congenial surroundings of a private studio in central London.



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