Friends of TED’s final 2013 session on James Joyce’s Ulysses featured Tom Staley, UT English professor and former director of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, and the Harry Huntt Ransom Chair in Liberal Arts. Tom is a Joyce expert. Not only is he the founding editor of the James Joyce Quarterly, he has also written Reflections on James Joyce: Stuart Gilbert’s Paris Journal (1993), and An Annotated Critical Bibliography of James Joyce(1989). Needless to say, Staley infused the Friends of TED conversation with a level of expertise and enthusiasm unseen heretofore.
Some attendees had a brief discussion about Winter 2014 and generated ideas about studying Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, William Faulkner and/or John Steinbeck. Thoughts? To make it easy to analyze results, click on this survey link and let your thoughts be known. Once the results are tabulated, we’ll let you know in plenty of time to get the books read.
Have a wonderful and productive break.
Remember that Dr. Alan Friedman, international Joyce expert, is conducting tomorrow’s Friends of TED talk. He asked that everyone come with a specific question or a passage they would like to read. Look forward to seeing everyone in the morning.
Attached is an essay on Joyce by Edmund Wilson. It might be a good starting place for our discussion tomorrow. If you get time please read it. We look forward to seeing your tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.
Joyce scholar Alan Friedman of UT’s Department of English recommends the 1961 Random House edition of Ulysses. This edition is Joyce’s edited 1922 text. The so-called “definitive” version of published by Hans Walter Gabler in 1986 has been utterly discredited, and no subsequent edition improves on the Random House version. If 1961 is unavailable, my old standby is the 1946 correction of the original American version, published by RH in 1934.
After Saturday’s discussion of Dicken’s disgust with American tobacco spitting, Lisa DeWitt Fuka sent an email detailing the history of spittoons. Check out this Wikipedia recap to find that Asia utilized the spittoon well before the United States and Europe who did not use them until around 1840. Particularly interesting is that in 1909 the Boy Scouts started a movement to deter people from spitting on the sidewalks and instead use a spittoon. Read about it here:
Please plan to join us on Saturday morning, February 2, at 9:30 for a discussion of Charles Dickens’s American Notes for General Circulation. Dickens’s title assumes that the work would be pirated by American publishers without payment of royalties (as it indeed was), and much of the contemporary reception of the work centered on Dickens’s denunciation of the lack of copyright protection for authors in America. But I would suggest that we think of the text in terms of the genre of travel writing, which in English literature dates back to Chaucer, Margery Kempe, and Thomas More. What does Dickens tell us about England when he writes about America?
We look forward to seeing you Saturday at the Christians!
Here are the dates for this spring’s TED discussion of Charles Dickens’s American Notes and Martin Chuzzlewit. We will begin on Saturday, February 2, and meet for the following 5 Saturdays: February 9, 16, 23, March 2, and March 9.
We would propose that for the first meeting on February 2, we read and discuss Dickens’s travelogue American Notes for General Circulation (1842). Do not feel the need to read all of the text for this meeting! Instead, feel free to read only selections from the text that particularly interest you.
For the subsequent five Saturdays, we will make our way through Martin Chuzzlewit. The novel was published in nineteen monthly numbers beginning with Part 1 in January, 1843 (Chapters 1-3). The final number combined Parts 19 and 20 and was published in July, 1844. Although it would be great fun to experience the novel as Dickens’s readers would have, we will instead plan to read about ten chapters each week (as opposed to three chapters a month!). This should take us fairly comfortably through the 54 chapters of the novel.
We will also plan to invite one or two special guests to discuss aspects of Dickens’s career and work. Possibly, if the group is interested, we may even ask an American historian to talk to us about life in America in 1842, when Dickens made his famous tour of the states.
We wish everyone a happy new year and happy reading!
Dickens’ “American” novel (1843-44) shares close affinities with the novelist’s earlier picaresque tales, The Pickwick Papers (1836-37), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-39), and Barnaby Rudge (1841). Its publication followed American Notes, Dickens’ account of his 1842 journey to the United States. Dickens spent six months in America, visiting Boston, Lowell, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. (where he called on President John Tyler at the White House), and Richmond, before winding up his journey with a brief stop in Montreal. Though Americans intrigued him, Dickens could not square the institution of slavery with notions of individual liberty, and it did not help matters that his novels were regularly pirated by American publishers who neglected to pay royalties. In fact, might we suggest reading American Notes before going on to the novel? It would enrich our discussion and deepen our understanding of Dickens’ “take” on American culture.
We will propose dates for our spring meeting soon. In the meantime, please enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season.