april 2020

06apr5:00 pm7:00 pmUlysses by James Joyce: Eight-Week IntensiveFirst Half of Ulysses in 8 weeks 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm VIRTUALType Of Study:LiteratureFrequency:WeeklyDuration:Eight weeks


Event Details

“You should approach Joyce’s Ulysses as the illiterate Baptist preacher approaches the Old Testament: with faith.”
—William Faulkner

If there was ever an ideal time to read Ulysses, this moment: future uncertain, present controlled by world leaders blinded by greed, xenophobia rising, identities re-imagined– this moment offers the space. Our work with this book will widen your perspective and deepen your experience of the power of language.

When Joyce was asked (as Tom Stoppard relates) what he did during WWI, he replied: “I wrote Ulysses.  What did you do?” Here is your chance to mark this strange halt to life as normal with a huge reading project that will make you a better reader. For this unique time, I am offering this intensive study (two meetings a week for eight weeks) to get us more than halfway through the book (up to Oxen of the Sun). I will be prepared to continue with the second half, but as the future for all of us is ever-changing dependent on the progress of the COVID-19, I want to re-assess towards the end of this study. We start slowly: about 20-25 pages per meeting– and I will support you with LOADS of resources. So you can respond when asked “What did you do during the pandemic?”

“I read Ulysses“.

There is a strong argument for studying this huge and intimidating text—book list chart-topper of 100 greatest books of all time, critics’ darling, most lauded/least read, the book that many literary academics dedicate their lives to studying—but you will only know for yourself by diving in. I believe the only way to study it is with a group of hungry, curious readers who all contribute to evoking meaning, through their questions as well as their insights.

The good news: reading Ulysses is fun. And I don’t mean in a frustrating, overly-analytical see-how-much-you-know-way. The language is amazing—even when I don’t understand it. Perhaps, especially when I don’t understand it, because meaning sneaks in through more than my critical faculty. Meaning slides in through sound, through the lushness of the language, through the filmy and substantial images, and suddenly I find myself transported from a walk on a beach to a contemplation of the origins of man—thanks, James Joyce.

Any time spent studying Joyce leaves one a better reader—a broader thinker—even if all the references, repetitions, epiphanies and allusions are not immediately understood.

The only  expectation for the first meeting is to have read the first 28 pages.

Starts Today– two spaces available– I will offer a make-up for the first meeting if you register this week! 

“Joining the Ulysses salon was one of the best things I have ever done. This was a book I had wanted to read for years but never got past the first section. I had no idea what the salon would be like and was very apprehensive about joining up. But Toby so skilfully guided us through it, her knowledge of the text seemingly inexhaustible, that with her warmth and generosity and sensitivity she got everyone involved and the satisfaction of participating in the salon and in getting an understanding of this marvellous work was immense.”

Ulysses Salon participant
See more participant feedback here


  • Study starts April 6th- May 28th
  • We will meet for 16 Sessions: Every Monday and Thursday 5-7PM BST
  • We will be meeting on ZOOM– this is free for participants and simply requires registration
  • Please purchase these editions in preparation for our study:
    • Ulysses, by James Joyce, Annotated Students’ Edition; (Penguin Modern Classics), ISBN-10: 0141184434. (There are many editions of Ulysses — I find this edition is most coherent and the notes and introduction by Declan Kieberd very helpful; as we will constantly be referencing particular passages, having the same edition will be extremely useful.)
    • The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses, by Harry Blamires, ISBN-10: 0415138582
  • The total cost for the 16-meeting study, with all notes and resources materials, is £320
  • IF there is space and you are interested but uncertain, you may have the option of registering for the first wee for £50 & then decide if you want to continue– that amount will be credited to the balance.
  • Please contact me if you are very interested but unable to pay the full amount. I am committed to offering this support as much as possible to all.

TO REGISTER, Please use the Paypal button below to pay for the study; upon receipt of payment, you will receive opening notes and loads of resources to start the study.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact us.