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Reading Groups

James Joyce’s Ulysses with William Mottolese (In Person and Online) — Sold Out

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16 Sessions Thursdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT September 9, 2021 to June 30, 2022

Online via Zoom & at
The Center for Fiction*

This reading group has reached its capacity. To join the waitlist, please email Allison Escoto at

Although James Joyce produced fewer than two thousand pages of fiction and published only four major fictional works, a body of poetry, and one extant play, he is regarded as one of the most significant writers of the twentieth-century. His most famous work, Ulysses, published in 1922, continues to confound readers today. Scrupulously depicting one day in the life of Leopold Bloom and the city of Dublin, Ulysses remains a hard-to-define masterpiece: at once microscopically realistic, linguistically experimental, stylistically diverse, and dizzyingly surrealistic. Close attention to this dense and difficult novel is crucial to the study of literary modernism. In our year-long course on Ulysses, we will engage in a careful reading of the novel, episode by episode, focusing on the distinct quality of each episode as well as the novel as a whole. This course will meet sixteen times, every third week between September and June, with an extra session on Bloomsday.

Students should use the Gabler “corrected” edition of Ulysses (1986), though any version of the Random House 1961 edition will also do. Students should obtain Ulysses Annotated by Don Gifford with Richard J Seidman. For the first meeting in September, please read the first episode/chapter of the novel, known as “Telemachus.”

  • 9/9: Intro and Telemachus
  • 9/30: Nestor and Proteus
  • 10/21: Calypso and Lotus Eaters
  • 11/11: Hades
  • 12/2: Aeolus
  • 12/23: Lestrygonians
  • 1/13: Scylla and Charybdis
  • 2/3: Wandering Rocks
  • 2/24: Sirens
  • 3/17: Cyclops
  • 4/7: Nausicaa
  • 4/28: Oxen of the Sun
  • 5/19: Circe
  • 6/9: Eumaeus
  • 6/16: Ithaca*
  • 6/30: Penelope

*Special Bloomsday session

*To attend this reading group in person, please email your proof of vaccination to prior to visiting the Center. Mask wearing will be required throughout the building. Accepted vaccination proofs include:

  • an image of your CDC vaccination card
  • a screenshot or scanned printout of your Excelsior pass
  • a record of vaccination from the healthcare provider who gave you your vaccine

In compliance with developing guidelines issued by federal, state, and our local government, we ask that all visitors to The Center for Fiction’s member spaces provide proof of vaccination for COVID-19. If you remain unvaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, please also contact us at for assistance or to request a reasonable accommodation. 


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    William Mottolese

    William Mottolese

    William Mottolese has taught at Fordham University and Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana and is presently Chair of the English Department at Sacred Heart Greenwich. He has published on such subjects as Olaudah Equiano, Laurence Sterne, and James Joyce and is presently at work on projects on Joyce, teaching critical thinking, and the relation of literary modernism to twentieth-century popular music. He has taught for a decade on the faculty of the Center for Fiction where he has led classes on James Joyce, David Foster Wallace, Salman Rushdie, Irish literature, and postcolonial literature. William is an award-winning teacher, published poet, and proud father of three children.