Kudos to everyone for a great first week of discussions! I can’t believe we had close to 120 people attend. I hope you’re encouraged that you’re done with Part I. Speaking for myself, I took a breather from the novel this last weekend, but I plan on tackling the next segment of readings this week. I’d encourage everyone to start reading now, so you can harness the momentum we gained from last week. September’s assignment is located in the Reading Schedule tab at the top of this page.
One of the recurring questions that came up last week dealt with how to go about reading for maximum comprehension. I expect nearly all of us face this challenge. If you have the time to devote to it, here’s what I recommend:
- Read the assignment once all the way through, without using summaries or guides. This is not the time to pick apart the text.
- Take a breather.
- Before you open Ulysses again, read the summary/analysis of your choice. You should now start to understand the framework of each episode.
- Read the assignment a second time, consulting detailed guides like Ulysses Annotated as you’re able. As you read, things should now start to make sense.
As for reading guides, soon you should see copies of Ulysses Annotated and The New Bloomsday Book in the reference collections of all three Evanston Library locations. We’ve also ordered several copies of Cliff’s Notes for Ulysses. If you have questions about passages, references, etc., please send them to me. I’ll post them to the blog, and we can explore them together. As you embark on the second phase of our journey, remember the words of Jennifer Levine in The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce:
“Sometimes the need to know what everything ‘means’ in Ulysses should be resisted.”