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Reading Joyce - ENG00130H

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Matthew Campbell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

We cannot imagine twentieth-century literature without James Joyce (1882-1939). He is a central European modernist, an insistent artistic innovator of world writing and a Dubliner. He wrote in many places across Europe, from Trieste to Paris, yet his fiction was always located in Ireland. He wrote in many modes, from the naturalism of his early stories to the international multilingualism of his late work. It remains, though, that the best way to understand Joyce is to read him: slowly, closely and with attention to the texture of the literary languages he explored, and above all his preoccupation with etymology, wordplay and the linguistic motif.

This module is built around a series of seminar-workshops, and discussion will proceed primarily through close reading of selected passages and episodes from the work. These will introduce students to the plurality of interpretations of Joyce’s work. At the centre of the seminars will be his masterpiece, Ulysses, but we will look at his first writings in poetry and we will sample Finnegans Wake. The seminars will uncover: Joyce’s narrative and linguistic innovations; his classical modelling as well as Irish and modernist contexts; his satiric and comic forms; the political and historical preoccupations of the work; its representation of gender and ethnicity; its publication history and its scandal.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

Teaching and assessment aim to encourage innovation and collaboration and will encourage students to explore a variety of critical methods and readings. The primary aim of the workshops and seminars will be to encourage theoretically informed close analysis. The module will encourage students on this module to produce writing which understands and critically evaluates the work of a single writer producing his work in significant historical and cultural contexts.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with the works of James Joyce.

  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding and engagement with the contexts of Irish literature an international modernism.

  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields of Irish and world literatures.

  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

You will be given the opportunity to submit a 1000-word formative essay for the module, which can feed into the 3000-word summative essay submitted at the end of the module.

Your essay will be annotated and returned to you by your tutor within two weeks.

You will submit your summative essay via the VLE during the revision and assessment weeks at the end of the teaching semester (weeks 13-15). Feedback on your summative essay will be uploaded to e:Vision to meet the University’s marking deadlines


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours.

For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment.

Indicative reading

Works by James Joyce: Poems and Shorter Writings, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.