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  • The Dublin James Joyce Summer School, 3–9 July 2016
  • Ceren Kuşdemir Özbilek (bio)

The Dublin James Joyce Summer School of 2016 convened between from 3–9 July, perfect summer days in my country, but it felt like Autumn in Dublin, and it was comparably hot as the locals reported. I immediately thought how warmly Dublin greeted me and this was proved as soon as I met Professor Anne Fogarty, Dr Luca Crispi, Dr Fritz Senn, and the other Joyceans. It was a hands-on living and breathing dream for a Joycean.

The school, as usual, offered a rich academic and social programme for Joyceans from all around the world regardless of their seniority and the immensity of the knowledge they have about Joyce. Basically, the participants had lectures in the morning and a seminar on their chosen Joyce text in the evening: Ulysses (with Dr Fritz Senn), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Dr Christine O'Neill), Dubliners (Dr Maire Doyle), and Finnegans Wake (Terence Killeen). Apart from the academic programme, we also had a social programme that allowed us to experience the city. It was a perfect combination of theory and practice, learning and sharing.

The lectures were held in in the Kenmare Room of the James Joyce Centre on North Great George's Street. The first day of lectures began with the summer school director, Prof Anne Fogarty's, and the summer school patron, Dr Fritz Senn's, warm welcome talks. Fogarty presented her talk on Irish nationalist and humanitarian activist Roger Casement's portrayal in the 'Cyclops' episode of Ulysses. Her main interest was Casement's double identity in the frame of his Irishness and how this complies and at the same time does not comply with Bloom's character, especially in 'Cyclops'. By drawing parallels between Bloom and Casement, Fogarty stated that both are ambiguous and divided figures in Irish history: Casement the saint, Bloom the prophet, Casement the gay man, Bloom the masturbator. Their Irishness is in question in 'Cyclops' and this fact has to be confirmed: 'He is an Irishman' (U 12.1545) and 'Ireland, says Bloom, I was born here. Ireland' (U 12.1431). She finished her talk with the argument that Bloom is and is not Casement at the same time: he is the re-embodiment of Casement, like a mirror, but also an anti-Casement with his distinctive personality and attitude. Her talk clearly inspired many in the audience, including me, who are interested in exploring Ulysses from a historical perspective. [End Page 141]

Professor Frank Shovlin of Liverpool University gave the second talk of the first day. Shovlin began his talk with Joyce's words on Anglo-Saxon soul: 'the manly independence; the unconscious cruelty; the persistence; the slow yet efficient intelligence; the sexual apathy; the practical, well-balanced religiousness; the calculating taciturnity' (OCPW 'Daniel Defoe', 24–5). He then mentioned Joyce's thoughts on the Irish Literary Revival: he thought that the revival was too obsessed with romantic myths; therefore, there was a lack of reality, and he saw the concentration on the peasantry as a lost cause. By demonstrating Joyce's interest in Jacobitism in Ireland, and its manifestations in his works, especially in Dubliners, Shovlin stressed that in this manner we can reach a better understanding of his ties with Irish nationalism, history, and the Literary Revival. His talk ignited in many of us the desire to know more about the subject of Joyce and Jacobitism. By providing us with a learned introduction, Shovlin enabled us all to explore some of this uncharted area.

Each lecture was followed by a question and answer session in which many interesting points were raised on various topics. Between the lectures we had our lovely coffee breaks, and after the lunch we had our seminar sessions. Seminars were held in Boston College Dublin on St Stephen's Green and were truly informative. I attended the Ulysses seminar convened by Fritz Senn and it was the most crowded seminar all week. Listening to many people sharing their knowledge of Ulysses and experience of the text, and learning even a small bit was really a delight. Being with...