Ulysses depicts a world that is as fully conceived and vibrant as anything in Homer or Shakespeare. It has been delighting and puzzling readers since it was first published on Joyce's 40th birthday in 1922. And here, Professor Heffernan maps the brilliance, passion, humanity, and humor of Joyce's modern Odyssey in these 24 lectures that finally make a beguiling literary masterpiece accessible for any reader willing to give it a chance. Although they discuss selected points from the enormous body of critical scholarship on Ulysses, these lectures presuppose no special knowledge of literature or of James Joyce. Whether or not you've read Ulysses, you'll find they make an excellent guide to the many-layered pleasures of this modern epic. Illuminating the dramatic and artistic integrity behind the novel's most notoriously challenging passages, they explain why this frank, path-breaking novel was praised as a landmark and damned as obscene - even banned - as soon as it first appeared. You'll come to see Ulysses as many books at once: an inspired modern reweaving of the fabric of Homer's mighty Odyssey; a supreme synthesis of realism and symbolism; a grandly comic and at times bawdy work - a seriocomic parable about art and experience; a symphonic, kaleidoscopic portrayal of the sights, sounds, and voices of Dublin and every city; and a dazzling work of masterfully handled prose styles and narrative devices.
Above all, you'll learn to read Ulysses as an unsentimental but deeply felt story that uses concrete facts of mundane life in a particular time and place to say something truly extraordinary and universal that speaks to all that is human in us.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
This is a superb series of lectures walking you through Joyce's very difficult novel. I read Ulysses in college and although I remembered a great deal about it, there were many aspects of it that passed me by at the time. Prof. Heffernan is skillful and entertaining as he takes you chapter-by-chapter through the thorny book. He's particularly good at explicating the Homeric parallel.
The Great Courses format is frankly absurd, with its 30-minute chunks, applause and the same damned bit of Brandenburg concerto at the head of every lecture.
Professor Heffernan's analysis is cogent and concise. He obviously understands the work, but has very little that is positive to say about Molly Bloom; beyond saying that she is one of the most remarkable characters in literature, he seems to buy into the same whore or angel dichotomy that Stephen Dedalus espouses when it comes to all women.
There are also a dozen other themes of Ulysses, and for a lecture series that purports to analyze the whole work, he devotes nearly all of his time to the parallels with the Odyssey. That leaves out Joyce's commentary on Irish history; on colonialism, imperialism, and the Victorian age's scientific and technological breakthroughs; on Catholicism; on the life of the mind; on Irish literature....Joyce had so many things to say, and to talk about a handful only is to do a great disservice to anyone who listens to this course.
I would listen to anyone who did not sing-song his way through, anyone who didn't think he was a skilled impressionist who could do justice to any character (if you are not a trained Joycean reader, please leave the stereotypical accents at home), any accent, and anyone who didn't have the bizarre habit of leaving out one digit when saying a year (Professor Heffernan says 1904 "19-4" and it is crazy-making to me).
To pick up on things I may have missed first time through
To get a better understand the book you really need to read the Odyssey along side. I was not willing to do that much work, so this course was the perfect solution. The professor does all the heavy lifting and points out the parallels for you. Thanks!
"As intriguing as it is erudite"
Accessible, thorough, thoughtful,
How intertwined the modern epic is with the ancient myth.
His insight into the mind of Bloom
A very good primer for those who have yet to read the book yet also a fascinating addendum to anyone who is familiar with the text. Professor Heffernan's enthusiasm and wit are infectious and his genuine admiration for Joyce's work shines through.
I would thoroughly recommend this course.
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