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Distinguished University Professor Emeritus

Department of English and Writing Studies

Western University


Brief Biography

Michael Groden was born in Buffalo in 1947 and graduated from Dartmouth College (B.A., 1969) and Princeton University (M.A., 1972, Ph.D., 1975). He moved to Canada in 1975 to teach at the University of Western Ontario (now known as Western University) and was Distinguished University Professor in the Department of English and Writing Studies there until he retired in 2014. He is the author of "Ulysses" in Progress (Princeton University Press, 1977) and "Ulysses" in Focus: Genetic, Textual, and Personal Views (Florida James Joyce Series, University Press of Florida, 2010; paperback, 2012), general editor of ...

Personal Events

In early November 2016 I completed the first year of a clinical trial at Toronto's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I entered the trial after my doctors discovered a recurrence (my 9th or 10th) of the melanoma that I have been living with for 35 years, since 1981. The targeted-therapy trial involves only pills - no chemo, radiation, surgery, or immunotherapy - and all is going well.

Recent Events

I am close to finishing a book, called The Necessary Fiction: Living with Ulysses, about spending a life with Joyce's novel.

I now have a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

"Reading James Joyce's Ulysses." In February and March 2017, I will be teaching this four-session class at the 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center. The class schedule is available here.

Ulysses in Toronto: Over five mornings in July 2016 (July 18-22) I led a seminar called "'Who's he when he's at home?': James Joyce's Ulysses" for Classical Pursuits and its Toronto Pursuits program. In July 2015 (July 20-24) I led a similar seminar called "'You Can Do It!': James Joyce's Ulysses." I wrote a blog piece called "Feeling at Home with Ulysses" in conjunction with the 2016 seminar and one called "Ulysses Can Change Your Life" in conjunction with the 2015 seminar. A video from the 2015 Toronto Pursuits events is available on YouTube.

"The Joyce of Music." In February 2016, I taught a three-session class called "The Joyce of Music" at the 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center. We read and discussed Joyce's poetry and selections from his prose works that feature songs and other types of music. The class schedule is available here.

"Reading Finnegans Wake": In February and March 2015, I taught a four-session class called "Reading Finnegans Wake" at the 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City. We read and discussed about 100 pages from Joyce's forbidding but fascinating last book. The class schedule is available here.

A memorial piece that I wrote for my dissertation supervisor, A. Walton Litz, has been published in the October 2014 newsletter of the International James Joyce Foundation.

My first book, "Ulysses" in Progress (Princeton University Press, 1977), was returned to print in paperback in 2014 in the Princeton Legacy Library series.

I retired from teaching in the Department of English and Writing Studies at Western University on July 1, 2014 and am now Distinguished University Professor Emeritus there.

On May 22, 2014 at a retirement party in Toronto sponsored by Western Alumni, I gave a short talk called "The Necessary Fiction: A Life with Ulysses – or Why Ulysses Matters to Me"

On April 10, 2014 at a retirement colloquium at Western University, I gave a short talk called "Drafts of a Novel, Drafts of a Life: Looking Back."

On May 6, 2013, I gave a talk called "'Me. And me now': Writing About a Life with Ulysses" at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin. 

On April 19, 2013, I delivered a public lecture at the University of Toronto, "Ulysses: The Necessary Fiction," as part of the Modernist Versions Project's "Year of Ulysses." The talk was presented by the Modernist Versions Project and the University of Toronto's Modernist Reading and Research Group. It was videorecorded, and you can watch it on the YoU's Website.

I contributed a short piece about Ulysses to "Into the Future: Western News Celebrates 40 Years," a special issue of Western University's weekly newspaper (November 15, 2012). The article is available online.

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, 2nd ed. (2005) has been translated into Chinese by Feng-Zhen Wang, published by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press in Beijing in 2011.

I was interviewed about Ulysses by Daniel D'Angelo for The Writer's Chronicle, a publication of AWP (the Association of Writers and Writing Programs). The interview appears in the October/November 2012 issue of The Writer's Chronicle (volume 45, number 2), pp. 84-85, and also online.

More recent events ...

Recent Articles and Reviews

I reviewed Robert Spoo's Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (2013) in the James Joyce Quarterly, volume 51, number 1 (Fall 2013) [published Winter 2016], pages 179-83.

A talk I delivered at the Dublin James Joyce Centre has been published as “‘Me. And me now’: Writing About a Life with Ulysses” in a special double issue of the Dublin James Joyce Journal, numbers 6/7 (2013-14) [published May 2015], pages 132-47.

I reviewed Kevin Birmingham's The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s “Ulysses” (2014) in the James Joyce Quarterly, volume 50, number 3 (Spring 2013) [published Spring 2015], pp. 843-48.

My essay "A Book With Two Mollys," about Ulysses, Molly Bloom, and Molly Peacock, has been published in the online journal Partisan. It is available here.

My article "Writing Ulysses" has been published in The Cambridge Companion to "Ulysses," edited by Sean Latham (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 3-18.

The first article on Ulysses that I published, "'Cyclops' in Progress, 1919" (originally published in James Joyce Quarterly 12:1-2 (Fall 1974-Winter 1975), has been reprinted in a special “JJQ 50 Years” issue of the James Joyce Quarterly, volume 50, numbers 1-2 (Fall 2012-Winter 2013) [published Fall 2014], pp. 119-65.

Books in the 2010s

Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory: The Johns Hopkins Guide. Co-editor with Martin Kreiswirth and Imre Szeman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, October 2012.

Praharfeast: James Joyce in Prague. Co-editor with David Vichnar and David Spurr. Prague: Litteraria Pragensia, June 2012.

"Ulysses" in Focus: Genetic, Textual, and Personal Views. Florida James Joyce Series. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010. Released in paperback in April 2012. Reviews of "Ulysses in Focus"

Honors in the 2000s

In recent years I have received four major honors plus a less serious one:

On Bloomsday (June 16), 2004 I was awarded an honorary D.Litt. degree by University College Dublin (the university Joyce attended), along with Roddy Doyle, Jennifer Johnston, Harold Pinter, and Fritz Senn - photos.

In 2006 I was named a Distinguished University Professor at Western University. The award was presented at a ceremony and public lecture on November 24, 2006 - photos.

In 2007 I was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada (also called RSC: The Academies). The induction ceremony took place on November 17, 2007 in Edmonton, Alberta - photo.

In 2011 I was awarded the Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research, Western University's most prestigious award for research.

In a lighter vein, as part of the 21st International James Joyce Symposium, which took place in Tours, France in June 2008, I was one of five symposium attendees who became Chevaliers de l’Ordre de la Chantepleure. The induction ceremony took place as part of a wine-tasting ceremony at the Cave des Producteurs de Vouvray on June 18, 2008 - photos.

Maintained by: Michael Groden
Last updated: February 13, 2017