This course is discontinued

ENG4458 – Reading Joyce's Ulysses

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The object of this course is to familiarize students with a novel that is universally recognized as a ‘classic’ of English literature, also in the sense attributed to Mark Twain: ‘a book that people praise but don’t read’. Often taken as the exclusive province of academic specialists, Ulysses is also a text to be enjoyed for literary pleasure by ‘ordinary’ readers and students of English. Its centrifugal energies demand a virtually limitless process of investigation, as Joyce constantly invites us to engage with an encyclopedic range of topics, only some of which will be already familiar to any one reader.

Moreover, since Joyce’s work is institutionalized by its canonization as a Modernist masterpiece, reading Ulysses means engaging with its academic as well as its broader cultural reception. Taking Declan Kiberd’s Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living (Faber 2009) as an inspirational introductory text (but also as a polemical reading with which to argue), this course will enable students to draw Ulysses within their broadening practical experience of scholarly inquiry and research, not least by process of writing an academic paper on a chosen topic.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • can develop well-informed responses to Joyce’s Ulysses in academic prose as well as in seminar discussion,
  • know how to ask productive research questions and construct coherent literary arguments about Ulysses,
  • can analyze Ulysses in a variety of historical and aesthetic contexts, not least as a work of literary Modernism,
  • are familiar with major aspects of Joyce’s life and the novel’s reception,
  • have learned to engage critically with Joyce scholarship.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The minimum number of attendants for the course is 5, the maximum 15.


Seminar, two hours per week for 10 weeks, 20 hours in all.

Attendance is obligatory 8 out of 10 seminars. Additional absences must be justified by documentation to the exam coordinator.

It is also obligatory to submit a first draft of your term paper within a set due date.


The form of assessment is a term paper of 10 standard pages (a standard page consists of 2,300 characters). References and bibliography comes in addition.

You are supposed to work with the assignment throughout the whole semester.

You will be offered individual term paper supervision.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






This course is offered irregularly


Teaching language