Fintan O’Toole, Princeton University’s Visiting Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor in Irish Letters, delivers the annual Robert Fagles Memorial Lecture on “Open Secrets: Ulysses at 100″ as part of the 2021-22 Fund for Irish Studies lecture series.
James Joyce’s revolutionary novel Ulysses was published 100 years ago in February 1922. In its initial review of the book, The New York Times declared Ulysses “the most important contribution that has been made to fictional literature in the twentieth century.” Through a stream of consciousness writing style, Joyce follows Stephen Dedalus, a 22-year-old aspiring poet and teacher, and Leopold Bloom, a 38-year-old Jewish advertising agent, as they go about nineteen hours of daily life in Dublin, Ireland. Both men grapple with themes of religion, philosophy, remorse, and mortality. In his lecture, O’Toole asks why the book still matters today. It is, he suggests, one of the best explorations we have of the way the local is also universal; of the fluidity of identity; of the fusion of body and mind; and of the possibility of living beyond tragedy.
Fintan O’Toole, one of Ireland’s leading public intellectuals, is a columnist for The Irish Times and Leonard L. Milberg ’53 visiting lecturer in Irish Letters at Princeton. He also contributes to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Granta, The Guardian, The Observer, and other international publications. His books on theater include works on William Shakespeare, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and Thomas Murphy. His books on politics include the best sellers Ship of Fools and Enough is Enough. In 2011, The Observer named O’Toole one of “Britain’s top 300 intellectuals.” He has received the A.T. Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism, the Millennium Social Inclusion Award, and Journalist of the Year in 2010, the Orwell Prize and the European Press Prize. O’Toole’s History of Ireland in 100 Objects, which covers 100 highly charged artifacts from the last 10,000 years, is currently the basis for Ireland’s postage stamps. His most recent book is Judging Shaw: The Radicalism of GBS, published by the Royal Irish Academy, and he has recently been appointed official biographer of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney.
Tickets & Details
The virtual lecture, presented via Zoom Webinar, is free and open to the public; registration required. Register for the lecture on Zoom Webinar
A recording will not be available to share with the public following the event.
The event will include live closed captions in English. Patrons can join the Webinar and connect to the captioned event through StreamText. Attendees in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email LewisCenter@princeton.edu at least one week in advance of the event date.