What we're about

This group started in May 2011, and we've read novels by Joyce, Malraux, Kafka, Wright, Mishima, Faulkner, Nabokov, Unamuno, Ellison, Hamsun, Woolf, Biely, Gide, and many others. We try to have a good time discussing the books without descending to small talk, think critically without descending to pedantry, etc.

Also, as the title shows, we've expanded our reading list since the group started. We don't really want to title the group something as vague as "Chicago Literature Group," etc., and modernist fiction and poetry still make up most of the reading list. But if some group members are excited about reading something else, be it Goethe or Ovid, Wallace or Perec, we're interested in that too. Feel free to make suggestions.

Upcoming events (4+)

Degas and Cassatt

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Degas and Cassatt by Rubio and Efa

James Joyce's Ulysses 100 Part 2 Episode 5

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To honor the 100th Anniversary of James Joyce's Ulysses, and to kick off the greatest literary anniversary year of our lifetimes, we will journey, parkouring through the streets of Dublin...the stream-of-consciousness river of thought flowing and echoing on an Odyssey towards that final, eternal, infinite, Yes.

Ulysses is a modernist novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It was first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and then published in its entirety in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, Joyce's 40th birthday. It is considered one of the most important works of modernist literature and has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement." According to Declan Kiberd, "Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking".

Ulysses chronicles the appointments and encounters of the itinerant Leopold Bloom in Dublin in the course of an ordinary day, 16 June 1904. Ulysses is the Latinised name of Odysseus, the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, and the novel establishes a series of parallels between the poem and the novel, with structural correspondences between the characters and experiences of Bloom and Odysseus, Molly Bloom and Penelope, and Stephen Dedalus and Telemachus, in addition to events and themes of the early 20th-century context of modernism, Dublin, and Ireland's relationship to Britain. The novel is highly allusive and also imitates the styles of different periods of English literature.

Since its publication, the book has attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from an obscenity trial in the United States in 1921 to protracted textual "Joyce Wars". The novel's stream of consciousness technique, careful structuring, and experimental prose—replete with puns, parodies, and allusions—as well as its rich characterisation and broad humour have led it to be regarded as one of the greatest literary works in history; Joyce fans worldwide now celebrate 16 June as Bloomsday.

For this meeting please read Episode 5 Lotus Eaters.

Online Text:
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ulysses_(1922)

Ulysses 1922 Text Amazon Purchase Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Ulysses-Publisher-Dover-Publications-Unabridged/dp/B004TQQXEI

Ulysses Annotated Amazon Purchase Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Ulysses-Annotated-Notes-James-Joyces/dp/0520253973

Molière Seminar: Tartuffe

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To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Molière's birth on January 15, 1622, we will continue our seminar on Molière’s plays with a live read of Tartuffe.

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ batist pɔklɛ̃]; 15 January 1622 (baptised) – 17 February 1673), known by his stage name

Molière (UK: /ˈmɒliɛər, ˈmoʊl-/, US: /moʊlˈjɛər, ˌmoʊliˈɛər/, French: [mɔljɛʁ]), was a French playwright, actor and poet, widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language and world literature. His extant works include comedies, farces, tragicomedies, comédie-ballets, and more. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed at the Comédie-Française more often than those of any other playwright today. His influence is such that the French language is often referred to as the "language of Molière".

Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite (/tɑːrˈtʊf, -ˈtuːf/;[1] French: Tartuffe, ou l'Imposteur, pronounced [taʁtyf u lɛ̃pɔstœʁ]), first performed in 1664, is a theatrical comedy by Molière. The characters of Tartuffe, Elmire, and Orgon are considered among the greatest classical theatre roles.

"The comic is the outward and visible form that nature's bounty has attached to everything unreasonable, so that we should see, and avoid it. To know the comic we must know the rational, of which it denotes the absence and we must see wherein the rational consists ... incongruity is the heart of the comic ... it follows that all lying, disguise, cheating, dissimulation, all outward show different from the reality, all contradiction in fact between actions that proceed from a single source, all this is in essence comic."

Online Text:
https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2027/pg2027.html

Amazon Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Moliere-Complete-Richard-Wilbur-Translations/dp/1598537091

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Kurt Vonnegut 100: Breakfast of Champions

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To commemorate the 100th Birthday of Kurt Vonnegut on November 11, 2022, please join us for a discussion of Breakfast of Champions.

Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday is a 1973 novel by the American author Kurt Vonnegut. His seventh novel, it is set predominantly in the fictional town of Midland City, Ohio, and focuses on two characters: Dwayne Hoover, a Midland resident, Pontiac dealer and affluent figure in the city, and Kilgore Trout, a widely published but mostly unknown science fiction author. Breakfast of Champions deals with themes of free will, suicide, and race relations, among others. The novel is full of drawings by the author, substituting descriptive language with depictions requiring no translation.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (/ˈvɒnəɡət/;[1] November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, he published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five nonfiction works, with further collections being published after his death.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Vonnegut attended Cornell University but withdrew in January 1943 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. As part of his training, he studied mechanical engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and the University of Tennessee. He was then deployed to Europe to fight in World War II and was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was interned in Dresden, where he survived the Allied bombing of the city in a meat locker of the slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned. After the war, he married Jane Marie Cox, with whom he had three children. He adopted his nephews after his sister died of cancer and her husband was killed in a train accident. He and his wife both attended the University of Chicago, while he worked as a night reporter for the City News Bureau.

Vonnegut published his first novel, Player Piano, in 1952. The novel was reviewed positively but was not commercially successful at the time. In the nearly 20 years that followed, he published several novels that were well regarded, two of which (The Sirens of Titan [1959] and Cat's Cradle [1963]) were nominated for the Hugo Award for best novel. He published a short story collection titled Welcome to the Monkey House in 1968. His breakthrough was his commercially and critically successful sixth novel, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). The book's anti-war sentiment resonated with its readers amidst the ongoing Vietnam War and its reviews were generally positive. After its release, Slaughterhouse-Five went to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list, thrusting Vonnegut into fame. He was invited to give speeches, lectures, and commencement addresses around the country, and received many awards and honors.

Later in his career, Vonnegut published several autobiographical essays and short-story collections such as Fates Worse Than Death (1991) and A Man Without a Country (2005). After his death, he was hailed as one of the most important contemporary writers and a dark humor commentator on American society. His son Mark published a compilation of his unpublished works, titled Armageddon in Retrospect, in 2008. In 2017, Seven Stories Press published Complete Stories, a collection of Vonnegut's short fiction including five previously unpublished stories. Complete Stories was collected and introduced by Vonnegut friends and scholars Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield. Numerous scholarly works have examined Vonnegut's writing and humor.

Amazon Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Breakfast-Champions-Novel-Kurt-Vonnegut/dp/0385334206/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3EWERB4KL0T40&keywords=breakfast+of+champions+by+kurt+vonnegut&qid=1652063908&sprefix=breakfas%2Caps%2C3298&sr=8-1

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Dracula 125

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