The Genius of James Joyce


Part One – Exploring the Labyrinth. Perhaps the greatest literary genius to emerge out of Ireland and arguably the greatest literary intelligence since Shakespeare, James Joyce (1882-1941) can be understood as creating an ever-widening labyrinth of innovation through his four masterpieces: Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922)and Finnegans Wake (1939). Yet the first two books in this sequence which are the initial turns of this labyrinth, Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist, are plain, simple, enjoyably witty and readily understood. This course will give a foundation to anybody wishing to understand the unfolding of Joyce’s genius by reading and discussing his two most accessible works:  Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. We will read a selection of short stories from Dubliners culminating in his masterpiece, “The Dead.” Then we will read his autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

[Any edition of Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will work]. [Note: This is the first in a sequence of classes working through the four masterpieces. Part Two will appear in a later quarter.]

6 sessions. Mondays, 8:00-9:30 Feb 3 – March 9, 2020.

Class fee

  • $108 discounted rate when you pay online. Help with online payment will be available at the first class.
  • $120 by cash or check (made out to ‘Celtic Junction Arts Center’) at the first class.

If you plan to pay at the first class (either online or by cash/check) please email the instructor, Dr. Patrick O’Donnell at

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