Gropesearching the Wake

June 8, 2007

Reminder, information, suggestions

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgfnugent @ 2:08 pm

Hello John, Patrick, Jim, Emily, Tom, David, Colleen,  and Mike.

I hope you’re all well and enjoying the summer; I’m looking forward to next week’s conference and to meeting you all.

You comprise the “round table.” With eight participants from different reading groups our experience and enthusiasm for collective reading of this book will surely throw up information, advice, and guidance to our own advantage and to that of the audience.


Sinclair Suite, on Bloomsday itself, Saturday the 16th June from 2.00 to 3.30.

The object of the exercise is to search out and formulate the attributes that make for a vibrant reading group, and, on the other side of the balance sheet, to define just what a happy group should avoid. That’s it. We’re not looking for a set formula–there surely is none–but for whatever rough guidelines an experienced bunch of Wakers can, in the course of what I hope will be a comfortable and engaging conversation, come up with.

With such a number around the table, there are, of course, not one but two audiences–ourselves, the round tablers, and the people out there in (one hopes) a participatory attendance. So, we’ll be talking to ourselves as well as to them. I’ve no doubt that our accumulated brainpower can come up with some new thinking and fresh ideas for those of us already in groups and guidelines for those in the audience who haven’t yet braved setting up one in their own institute or program.


I’ll introduce each of you with a brief bio, and call on you in turn to say a few words about the strengths of your own group. If you can limit this to no more than 3 minutes, that’d be excellent.

Out of the themes that have arisen, I’ll then moderate a conversation that will, I hope, take place initialy as a dialogue among the round-tablers.

I’ll then open the discussion up to the floor hoping to involve the audience in a conversation about particular issues arising from their experience, lack of experience, or hopes for their own groups.


  • John Bishop, (Cal., Berkeley)
  • Patrick Moran (Boston College)
  • Jim LeBlanc (Cornell)
  • Emily Bloom (U.Texas)
  • Tom Hofheinz (Eastern Oregon)
  • David Rando (Trinity)
  • Colleen Jaurretche (ClaremontMcKenna)
  • Mike Rubenstein (Cal., Berkeley)


There are a series of rather obvious areas we can traverse in search of the successful formula–asking the usual when’s, where’s and how’s. If you’ve a chance, you might muse over these in advance of the workshop…

  • why do a good number of groups flounder?
  • what reading strategies work best?
  • with what sections of the book might a new group begin?
  • what’s the optimum frequency of meetings?
  • can technology help or hinder a group’s cohesion?
  • what ancillary texts (if any) contribute to the exercise
  • what are the optimum numbers in any group?

But please, feel totally free to approach this table from whatever angle and with whatever queries and suggestions you like. Despite the rather formal outlines above, I do hope that we can make this not so much a discussion as a conversation.

I’d love to hear your suggestions. And I hope to meet many of you before our panel: unfortunately, plane schedules force me to race off as soon as we finish.

best, and thanks again

Joe Nugent

Boston College


a question from Colleen Jaurretche

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgfnugent @ 1:17 pm

Dear Joe,

I wonder if you can resend the link to the site you had posted in relation to our meeting on Juen 16?  And do you wish us to prepare a statement or something?  I guess I am wondering what your plan is for the Gropesearch?


May 23, 2007

A question from Jim LeBlanc

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgfnugent @ 4:45 pm

Dear Joe:
Given the number of participants listed for the Gropesarching workshop, I expect you won’t be taking the time to read prepared bios for the panelists.  Just in case, though, I’ve attached a two-sentence statement of who I am.
What do you have in mind for this session?  Do we need to prepare anything in advance?

Jim LeBlanc

March 26, 2007

the workshop

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgfnugent @ 4:24 pm


I’m Joe Nugent, and I’ll chair/moderate this workshop. I know only some of you, but I’m looking forward to hearing from you and meeting around this round table in Austin. I’m opening this blog hoping you’ll find it an agreeable way to communicate, circumventing as it does all those recirculating emails.

Mainly, I hope you’ll use this to post comments and suggestions about what you’d like the workshop to do. I had no particular format in mind when I came up with this scheme, so I’m perfectly open to any suggestions on form, format, content, issues we need to address, or whatever . Posting a comment here is, you’ll see, very easy. I’ll really appreciate any input.

First, thanks Emily for all your help thus far; as this panel was my idea, I guess it’s time I did some work. So, I’m addressing this, as I hope we’ll address the discussion, to at least three groups:

  • to those who have a good group going;
  • those who’d like to set one up; and (by no means least)
  • to those whose group is faltering or hasn’t quite got off the ground.

We have a title, a time, and a space in Austin.

Gropesearching the Wake: a Workshop (or, how to run a really successful reading group)
Sat. 16th. 2.00 to 3.30
Sinclair Suite

Format: I see this as an opportunity to exchange ideas. To that end, I imagine that around this “round table” would be a single representative from each of as many reading groups as we can muster. I’ll moderate a conversation that would take place on two levels: a dialogue among the round-tablers, and a dialogue between them and a larger, participatory, audience.

So, round the table, we’ll have for starters….

  • John Bishop, (Cal, Berkeley)
  • Pat Moran (Boston College)
  • Jim LeBlanc (Cornell)
  • Emily Bloom (U.Texas)
  • Tom Hofheinz (Eastern Oregon)
  • David Rando (Trinity)
  • Colleen Jaurretche (ClaremontMcKenna)
  • Judith Harrington (Independent)
  • Mike Rubenstein (Cal., Berkeley)

How does this sound as a format? Opinions? Suggestions? Criticisms? Please comment below….

More names? If there’s anyone who you think should be involved around the table please let’s know, and I’ll speak to him or her….And please pass on this information to any Finnegans Wake people who might be interested.


Joe Nugent Assistant Professor of English, Boston College.

*While you’re here, check out websites associated with our Boston College Irish Studies stuff under “Blogroll” on the upper right box there.

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