June 13, 2022

S4E2: John McCourt - Tracking James Joyce in Trieste

S4E2: John McCourt - Tracking James Joyce in Trieste

Our Bloomsday episode with the engaging James Joyce scholar John McCourt takes us to Italy for the first time, specifically its outpost across the Adriatic Sea, Trieste. 

“There, I can safely say I discovered James Joyce,” McCourt says of Trieste. “Having    encountered him occasionally in Ireland, I found myself in the city that had been his home for ten years.” 

After earning his BA, MA, and PhD. from University College Dublin, McCourt launched an international academic career, focused mainly in Italy–at the Università Roma Tre, Università di Macerata, where he is Head of the Department of the Humanities, and as a researcher and lecturer in Università di Trieste. 

The president of the International James Joyce Foundation and founder of the Trieste Joyce School, McCourt has written a bookshelf’s worth of volumes on Joyce, most recently Consuming Joyce. Part a study of how Joyce was perceived in Ireland, part social history, this book uses the changing interpretations of Ulysses to explore the religious, social, and political changes sweeping Ireland. The Literary Review called the book "scandalously readable” while The Irish Times wrote "This book was crying out to be written.” 

Join us as we explore his circuitous route to an academic career, the colorful cosmopolitan town of Trieste that McCourt feels so influenced Ulysses, his experience of Italy where he’s perceived as a “britannico,” the funny side of Ulysses, and his perception of Bloomsday as “a dressed-up alternative to St. Patrick’s Day.”

Books by John McCourt

 Links for John McCourt


Chapter Clickable Link Time Stamp
1 Intro 00:01
2 A Hypothetical Dinner Party 04:09
3 Liking or Disliking Joyce 05:41
4 Joyce, Irelands Dante? 07:34
5 The McCourt Name 09:09
6 Johns Origin Story 11:17
7 Reading Joyce for Religion Class 14:26
8 Inadverten tly Following Joyces Footsteps 16:12
9 Joyces Aspirational Ireland 18:18
10 The Role of Trieste on Joyces Writing 21:44
11 McCourt and the Metal Ball 25:54
12 An Accidental James Joyce Stalker 29:26
13 Being Irish in Italy 32:45
14 Italys Cultural Challenges 36:44
15 Why Another Joyce Book? 39:08
16 How Consuming Joyce Reveals Ireland 44:11
17 The Joyce Industry 50:57
18 Joyce and Gogarty 54:36
19 Ulysses - Reading and Listening Advice 58:26
20 Joyces Politics 1:00:58
21 Johns Seamus Plu g 1:06:45
22 John and Martin Recap 1:09:45
23 Aedín Moloney Reads Molly Bloom 1:13:32
24 Credits 1:16:11
John McCourt Profile Photo

John McCourt


John McCourt is Head of the Department of the Humanities and professor of English literature at the University of Macerata.

He is President of the International James Joyce Foundation and a member of the academic board of the International Yeats Summer School. He previously taught at the Università Roma Tre where he was director of CRISIS (the center for research into Irish and Scottish literature) and at the University of Trieste (where he co-founded and continues to co-direct the Trieste Joyce School).

He has been visiting professor or fellow at Concordia University, Montreal, Université de Valenciennes, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the author of many books and articles on James Joyce and on 19th and 20th century Irish literature including Consuming Joyce 100 Years of Ulysses in Ireland (Bloomsbury 2022), Ulisse Guida alla Lettura (Carocci, 2021). He is also the author of The Years of Bloom: Joyce in Trieste 1904 - 1920 (2000). This volume was translated into Spanish, Japanese, and Hungarian while the Italian version, Gli Anni di Bloom (Mondadori, 2005), won the Comisso prize. In 2009 his edited collection, James Joyce in Context, was published by Cambridge University Press. In the same year he published Questioni Biografiche: Le Tante Vite di Yeats and Joyce (Bulzoni). This was followed by Roll Away the Reel World: James Joyce and Cinema (Cork University Press, 2010).

In 2015 he published Writing the Frontier Anthony Trollope between Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press). He recently co-edited Flann O'Brien: Problems with Authority with Paul Fagan and Ruben Borg (Cork University Press, 2017) and Reading Brendan Behan (Cork University Press, 2019).