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The Dead

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In a letter to his brother in 1906, James Joyce confessed: 'Sometimes thinking of Ireland it seems to me that I have been unnecessarily harsh. I have not been just to its beauty'. One reason for the composition of The Dead in 1907 was to compensate for this injustice and to add a new and quite different conclusion to his collection of short stories, Dubliners. Why Joyce felt compelled to change his view of Ireland, and how his narrative technique evolved to accommodate this change, becomes one of the focal points...

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Overview

In a letter to his brother in 1906, James Joyce confessed: 'Sometimes thinking of Ireland it seems to me that I have been unnecessarily harsh. I have not been just to its beauty'. One reason for the composition of The Dead in 1907 was to compensate for this injustice and to add a new and quite different conclusion to his collection of short stories, Dubliners. Why Joyce felt compelled to change his view of Ireland, and how his narrative technique evolved to accommodate this change, becomes one of the focal points for this illuminating study. Furthermore, why John Huston felt compelled to adapt The Dead, and how he did so, provides another enlightening context. Although eighty years separate Huston's film from Joyce's text, the presence of Joyce's story can be found earlier in European cinema, in Roberto Rossellini's Voyage in Italy (1953). Kevin Barry here explores the extraordinary relationships between these three works, and the radically different aesthetics of fidelity and infidelity practiced by these exemplary artists of the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the Ireland into Film series:
"Each writer has also done an impressive amount of new archive research, which greatly enhances the series' value as fim history and film research. The volumes give full production details and where possible, contain good background interviews with writers and directors….Each volume is lavishly illustrated so that as well as providing good detailed information on the films and an engaged debate about adaptation in general, the series is also an excellent value for the collector."

"Handsome in design and including sensible stills, each of the three volumes provides a lengthy and insightful essay, full credits, and notes. This series is a splendid model for other national film institutes. All film collections."

This title has been reviewed jointly with "This Other Eden," by Fidelma Farley," and "December Bride".
"These three concise monographs initiate a collaboration between Cork University and the Irish Film Institute and a series titled "Ireland into Film." In his brilliant study of John Huston's last film (1987), an adaptation of James Joyce's last short story, "The Dead" (1907), Barry analyzes the film's tripartite structure of repetition and variation, the serenity that derives from its mix of apprehension and irresolution, and both its fidelity to and its "strong misreading" of the Joyce source. Barry attributes four major changes to the unforeseen Irish national narrative of independence, the development of the Hollywood classic style, Huston's own auteurship, and the advent of Joyce criticism—that is, Huston's changes sensitively adjust to the intervening history and the shift in medium.

Though the other two volumes focus on less-known—and lesser—films, they approach the standard Barry sets. Analyzing the politics of Ulster Protestantism in Thaddeus O'Sullivan's 1990 film of Sam Hanna Bell's novel December Bride (1951), Pettitt considers Bell's own stage and radio adaptations and David Rudkin's screenplay, the plot's source, and the film's afterlife on television and home video. Pettitt's primary focus is the historical context of both the novel and its processes of adaptation. Farley examines how Muriel Box's 1959 film provides a comedic treatment of the legacy of the Civil War and Michael Collins's death and how the film anticipates the Irish cinema's major themes of 20 years later—oppression, emigration, the power of the church, nationalist martyrdom, illegitimacy, anti-English hostility, and national identity—noting that the film mocks the Irish while depicting British romanticizing of the Irish."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859182857
  • Publisher: Cork University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Series: Ireland into Film Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 98
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 7.56 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Barry is Professor of English at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is the editor of "James Joyce: Occasional, Critical,and Political Writings" .

Keith Hopper teaches Literature and Film Studies for Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education and for St Clare’s International College, Oxford. He is general editor of the Ireland into Film series (2001-2007).

Gráinne Humphreys is image editor for the Series. She is Head of Education at the Irish Film Institute.

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