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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

The Gentle Art of Advertising: Ulysses and the Material of Modernity

21st September 2011, 17:30 to 18:30, Alington House, Durham, Matthew Hayward

A Late Summer Public Lecture organised by postgraduates in the Department of English Studies.

This lecture will discuss the “everyday” content of Ulysses, focusing particularly upon the advertisements that recur within the narrative. With visual examples of the contemporary advertisements upon which Joyce drew, I demonstrate the historical accuracy of Joyce’s representation of the consumer culture that surrounded him. Yet, as I go on to argue, Joyce’s project involves more than a merely automatic recording of his material surroundings. In the second half of this lecture, I position Joyce’s advertisements within the broader narrative of Ulysses, and illustrate the complexity—aesthetic, symbolic and psychological—of his representation of consumerism. I argue that the careful reading of Ulysses allows us to see consumerism as the fundamental continuity between Joyce’s world and ours. In its anatomy of the consumer culture within which we still live, I argue for the continued relevance of Ulysses to twenty-first century readers.

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Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


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