“the splendor of truth”: James Joyce and the Tedium of Sublimity (LIT4590.01)

Jenny Boully

When asked to define “claritas,” our (shall we dare say?) hero Stephen Dedalus in Jame Joyce’s A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man responds thus: “The connotation of the word, Stephen said, is rather vague. Aquinas uses a term which seems to be inexact. It baffled me for a long time. It would lead you to believe that he had in mind symbolism or idealism, the supreme quality of beauty being a light from some other world, the idea of which the matter is but the shadow, the reality of which it is but the symbol. I thought he might mean that CLARITAS is the artistic discovery and representation of the divine purpose in anything or a force of generalization which would make the esthetic image a universal one, make it outshine its proper conditions. But that is literary talk. I understand it so.” But is it, really, mere “literary talk?” Such will be the subject of our investigations as we inhabit the worlds of Dubliners, A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses. Ancillary readings and investigations will include St. Thomas Aquinas, critical essays, portions of pre-Socratic philosophical texts, religious texts, as well as historical and cultural considerations of the verge of Modernity alongside the plight and lives of Dubliners.


Learning Outcomes:
-To interpret literature through historical, social, cultural, and literary considerations as well as independently through one’s own critical discoveries and curiosities;
-To gain an overview of James Joyce's writings as applicable to historical and cultural considerations;
-To interpret a range of contemporary and classical criticism of source texts within relevant cultural considerations;
-To eloquently discourse, both spoken and written, on literature while retaining one’s individual interpretation of a text.


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Interested students should submit a sample of their very best literary scholarship, (a paper from a previous class will do) via this form by May 9, 2024. Students will be notified of their acceptance into the course by May 14, 2024.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
Th 1:40PM - 5:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature
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