Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Monday, April 16, 2012

Collaborative Dubliners

Hot off the presses!

I'm happy to be able to herald here the birth of Collaborative Dubliners: Joyce in Dialogue, an innovative collection of essays edited by Vicki Mahaffey that has just been printed by Syracuse University Press. The organizing premise of this collection is to treat the stories in James Joyce's Dubliners as occasions for open-ended discovery and vehicles with which to foreground the process of collaborative reframing. Even the book's introduction is the product of a collaboration (between Mahaffey and Jill Shashaty), and Mahaffey also participated in two of the volume's other essays, each time working with a different scholar. Jim Hansen also participated in the book's collaborative process, and is half of a scholarly team along with Jean-Michel Rabaté of the University of Pennsylvania.

Here is the book description, pasted in from the Syracuse UP website:

"Enigmatic, vivid, and terse, James Joyce’s Dubliners continues both to puzzle and to compel its readers. This collection of essays by thirty contributors from seven countries presents a revolutionary view of Joyce’s technique and draws out its surprisingly contemporary implications by beginning with a single unusual premise: that meaning in Joyce’s fiction is a product of engaged interaction between two or more people. Meaning is not dispensed by the author; rather, it is actively negotiated between involved and curious readers through the medium of a shared text. Here, pairs of experts on Joyce’s work produce meaning beyond the text by arguing over it, challenging one another through it, and illuminating it with relevant facts about language, history, and culture. The result is not an authoritative interpretation of Joyce’s collection of stories but an animated set of dialogues about Dubliners designed to draw the reader into its lively discussions."

Congratulations, Vicki!

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