The main goal of this course is to introduce you to the work and life of James Joyce, one of the twentieth century’s most complex, influential, paradoxical, irreverent, domineering, problematic, and rewarding writers. We’ll move at a brisk pace through Joyce’s first two major prose fictions, Dubliners (1914) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), in order to devote the majority of the term to the third, Ulysses (1922). Classroom discussion and mini-lectures, primary and secondary readings, and student glosses will form the basis of the course. The written assignments will enable you to develop your own thoughts about the texts in dialogue with extant scholarly work. Throughout the semester we’ll try to sustain the high level of serious play—or “jocoseriousness,” as Joyce put it—the texts encourage us to adopt in engaging them.