In Memoriam Frank Delaney

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I was very saddened by the passing of Frank Delaney this past Tuesday. Irish born and bred, he had nicely settled in Connecticut for many years. Mr. Delaney was truly a Renaissance Man: an author, broadcaster and producer with interest and knowledge on a myriad of topics. He interviewed 1400 authors for his Bookshelf program that he produced and hosted on BBC Radio Four. I met him once, at a book event at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago, and found him to be extremely gracious during the few minutes that we chatted.
Mr. Delaney’s true literary passion was James Joyce’s Ulysses. Since 2010, he produced 368 readings on his podcast Re: Joyce. And he indeed rejoiced on each and every reading. Speaking with his lilting Irish brogue, he savored each line that he read and commented on from Ulysses. Most readings were about five minutes, some a dash longer. They were basically oral mini-essays, read with both gusto and a discerning analytic eye.
It was Mr. Delaney’s intent to cover the entire book, from beginning to end through these mini-essays. From June 16, 2010 through last week, he read up to Chapter 10, page 192 of the Gabler edition. If he continued at that pace, it would have taken another twenty years to complete the book. Still, in less than seven years there were 2,500,000 downloads of Re: Joyce.
I was a frequent listener of Re: Joyce for both when I prepared for the Ulysses classes I taught, or just for the pleasure of listening to one great Irishman reading the words of another great Irishman. Mr. Delaney, you truly will be missed.

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My James Joyce Courses Next Fall

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I will be teaching two courses on the writings of James Joyce during the fall semester at the Oakton Community College Emeritus Program. The first focuses on The Dubliners, a collection of short stories, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a novel of self-discovery. This course runs six weeks on Tuesday mornings; beginning on October 18 and ending November 22, and starting at 10 and ending at 11:30.
My Ulysses course is Tuesday afternoon; also beginning on October 18 and goes for ten weeks through December 20, starting at 12:00 and ending at 2:00. Ulysses is arguably the greatest novel ever written in the English language.
Please consider enrolling and be sure to share this with friends who might be interested. You can register online by visiting http://www.oakton.edu/conted.

Ulysses Titbit #1

The James Joyce Ulysses class that I will be teaching for ten weekly sessions at the Oakton College Emeritus program begins next Tuesday morning. I will be posting brief items of interest from the book on this blog starting today, until the class ends on December 1. These posts will be called Ulysses Titbits. Why Titbits? Well as we first encounter Leopold Bloom on the morning of June 16, 1904 home, at 7 Eccles Street, we learned that “he liked to read at stool.” Newspapers especially. And on that particular day, at stool, he happened to be reading, and later utilizing, a paper named Titbits.

James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Literary Voyage

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James Joyce’s Ulysses is arguably the greatest novel ever written in the English language. On the surface, it is a story of Leopold Bloom, as he travels and travails through Dublin and its environs during the day of June 16, 1904. The reader soon recognizes the genius of Joyce through the book’s fantastic dialogue and cascading narrative. The marvelous cast of characters leaps forward out of Joyce’s unbridled imagination and into the reader’s mind and soul. This Fall semester, at the Oakton Community College Emeritus Program, I will be teaching a course on this often daunting, but transformative, literary masterpiece. There will be ten sessions, Tuesday mornings from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, at the Skokie campus of Oakton. The first class is September 29; the last class is December 1. Registration for the course begins in mid-July. I hope some of you decide to join us on this literary voyage. Please share this with interested friends.

Bloomsday at the Cliff Dwellers

Celebrate Bloomsday, a few days early, at the historic Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago on Thursday evening, June 13. In true Dubliner fashion, people will gather for drinks at 5:30 p.m.. The program of readings from James Joyce’s Ulysses commences at 6:15 p.m. At the conclusion of the readings, at about 8:15 p.m., the Joycean revelers will proceed for food and other merriment to conclude the evening. It’s a way to bask in the brilliance of the words of perhaps the most significant novel ever written in the English language. As Edna O’Brien states “Joyce did something extraordinary: he threw out the entire history of English literature —language, story, structure, everything—and created a new and stupendous work.”

This year’s Bloomsday at the Cliff Dwellers has an added enhancement. Internationally acclaimed artist, Leonid Osseny, will showcase the illustrations that he has done on each chapter of Ulysses. These were the same pieces that were exhibited at the Joyce Center in Dublin during the Bloomsday Centennial  in 2004.

So join Leopold, Molly, Buck, the Croppy Boy and others as we ring in Bloomsday 2013 at the Cliff Dwellers! For additional information check out http://www.cliff-chicago.org.

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