Dublinersby James Joyce
In the fifteen classic stories that comprise Dubliners, James Joyce seeks to
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Although James Joyce left Ireland as a young man and spent most of his adult life on the European continent, all his books have Ireland as their geographic center. When asked near the end of his life if he ever intended to return to Ireland, Joyce responded candidly, "Have I ever left it?"
In the fifteen classic stories that comprise Dubliners, James Joyce seeks to explore the "significance of trivial things." While the stories can be regarded as separate and independent entities, they can also be considered as parts of a larger whole, reinforcing and illuminating each other, acting as pieces of a mosaic that captures moods from childhood, young adulthood, courtship, and married life, as well as the public life of church, state, and the arts. Included in the collection is The Dead," Joyce's most enduring and evocative piece of short fiction, together with the often anthologized Araby, Eveline, and A Painful Case.
Complementing the edition are eight specially commissioned maps of Dublin that allow the reader to follow the characters in and around the city that Joyce deemed "the center of paralysis," and an introduction by renowned Joyce scholar Don Gifford.
James Joyce was born in Rathgar, a suburb of Dublin in 1882. He attended Belvedere College, a Jesuit school, from 1893 to 1898 and graduated from University College, Dublin in 1902. Freeing himself from the strictures of religion, family, and his homeland, Joyce fled Ireland in 1904 accompanied by Nora Barnacle, a young Galway woman he'd met earlier that year. They lived in such European cities as Pola, Trieste, and Rome, together with their two children, Giorgio and Lucia, while Joyce supported them by teaching English and taking clerical jobs. Drawing on his experiences and childhood in Ireland, Joyce published Dubliners in 1914, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916. The family settled in Zurich in 1915, and relocated to Paris in 1920. There, Joyce continued his fascination with dissolving the boundaries between life and literature in his masterwork, Ulysses, published in 1922 on his fortieth birthday. In 1923, Joyce began to compose his "Work in Progress." Seventeen years in the making, the book was published as Finnegans Wake in 1939. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.
“Keri Walsh’s Broadview edition of Dubliners will deepen and enliven any reader’s experience of Joyce’s book. Included here are extensive appendices of primary materials that contextualize Joyce’s fictional world in terms of Ireland’s social, cultural, religious, and economic history, and in terms of the book’s troubled publication history, its early reception, and its place in literary history. Walsh’s introductory essay lays out the stakes of Joyce’s fraught relationship with Dublin and its denizens with clarity, concision, wit, and readability. Nowhere else have I read Joyce’s early life and work so essentially distilled, and rarely have I read Dubliners so artfully described. I expect Walsh’s Broadview edition of Dubliners to be around for a long time to come.“ Michael Rubenstein, Stony Brook University
“Keri Walsh, as we already know from her collection of Sylvia Beach’s letters, is an archivist who blends the conscience of an ethnographer with the touch of a lover. She has achieved something genuinely exhilarating in this edition of Dubliners transformed us into Joyce’s contemporaries while simultaneously renewing the book as a contemporary text, richly teachable and learnable, for twenty-first century readers, students, and scholars.” Saikat Majumdar, author of Prose of the World: Modernism and the Banality of Empire
Read an Excerpt
There was no hope for him this time: it was the third stroke. Night after night I had passed the house (it was vacation time) and studied the lighted square of window: and night after night I had found it lighted in the same way, faintly and evenly. If he was dead, I thought, I would see the reflection of candles on the darkened blind for I knew that two candles must be set at the head of a corpse. He had often said to me: "I am not long for this world," and I had thought his words idle. Now I knew they were true. Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.
Old Cotter was sitting at the fire, smoking, when I came downstairs to supper. While my aunt was ladling out my stirabout he said, as if returning to some former remark of his: "No, I wouldn't say he was exactly . . . but there was something queer . . . there was something uncanny about him. I'll tell you my opinion. . . ." He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arranging his opinion in his mind. Tiresome old fool! When we knew him first he used to be rather interesting, talking of faints and worms; but I soon grew tired of him and his endless stories about the distillery.
"I have my own theory about it," he said. "I think it was one of those . . . peculiar cases. . . . But it's hard to say. . . ." He began to puff again at his pipe without giving us his theory. My uncle saw me staring and said to me: "Well, so your old friend is gone, you'll be sorry to hear."
"Who?" said I.
"Is he dead?"
"Mr. Cotter here has just told us. He was passing by the house."
I knew that I was under observation so I continued eating as if the news had not interested me. My uncle explained to old Cotter.
"The youngster and he were great friends. The old chap taught him a great deal, mind you; and they say he had a great wish for him."
"God have mercy on his soul," said my aunt piously.
Old Cotter looked at me for a while. I felt that his little beady black eyes were examining me but I would not satisfy him by looking up from my plate. He returned to his pipe and finally spat rudely into the grate.
"I wouldn't like children of mine," he said, "to have too much to say to a man like that."
"How do you mean, Mr. Cotter?" asked my aunt.
"What I mean is," said old Cotter, "it's bad for children. My idea is: let a young lad run about and play with young lads of his own age and not be . . . Am I right, Jack?"
"That's my principle, too," said my uncle. "Let him learn to box his corner. That's what I'm always saying to that Rosicrucian there: take exercise. Why, when I was a nipper every morning of my life I had a cold bath, winter and summer. And that's what stands to me now. Education is all very fine and large. . . . Mr. Cotter might take a pick of that leg of mutton," he added to my aunt.
"No, no, not for me," said old Cotter.
My aunt brought the dish from the safe and put it on the table. "But why do you think it's not good for children, Mr. Cotter?" she asked.
"It's bad for children," said old Cotter, "because their minds are so impressionable. When children see things like that, you know, it has an effect..."
I crammed my mouth with stirabout for fear I might give utterance to my anger. Tiresome old red-nosed imbecile!
It was late when I fell asleep. Though I was angry with old Cotter for alluding to me as a child, I puzzled my head to extract meaning from his unfinished sentences. In the dark of my room I imagined that I saw again the heavy grey face of the paralytic. I drew the blankets over my head and tried to think of Christmas. But the grey face still followed me. It murmured; and I understood that it desired to confess something. I felt my soul receding into some pleasant and vicious region; and there again I found it waiting for me. It began to confess to me in a murmuring voice and I wondered why it smiled continually and why the lips were so moist with spittle. But then I remembered that it had died of paralysis and I felt that I too was smiling feebly as if to absolve the simoniac of his sin.
The next morning after breakfast I went down to look at the little house in Great Britain Street. It was an unassuming shop, registered under the vague name of Drapery. The drapery consisted mainly of children's bootees and umbrellas; and on ordinary days a notice used to hang in the window, saying: Umbrellas Re-covered. No notice was visible now for the shutters were up. A crape bouquet was tied to the door-knocker with ribbon. Two poor women and a telegram boy were reading the card pinned on the crape. I also approached and read:
July 1st, 1895
The Rev. James Flynn (formerly of S. Catherine's Church,
Meath Street), aged sixty-five years.
R. I. P.
The reading of the card persuaded me that he was dead and I was disturbed to find myself at check. Had he not been dead I would have gone into the little dark room behind the shop to find him sitting in his arm-chair by the fire, nearly smothered in his great-coat. Perhaps my aunt would have given me a packet of High Toast for him and this present would have roused him from his stupefied doze. It was always I who emptied the packet into his black snuff-box for his hands trembled too much to allow him to do this without spilling half the snuff about the floor. Even as he raised his large trembling hand to his nose little clouds of smoke dribbled through his fingers over the front of his coat. It may have been these constant showers of snuff which gave his ancient priestly garments their green faded look for the red handkerchief, blackened, as it always was, with the snuff-stains of a week, with which he tried to brush away the fallen grains, was quite inefficacious.
I wished to go in and look at him but I had not the courage to knock. I walked away slowly along the sunny side of the street, reading all the theatrical advertisements in the shop-windows as I went. I found it strange that neither I nor the day seemed in a mourning mood and I felt even annoyed at discovering in myself a sensation of freedom as if I had been freed from something by his death. I wondered at this for, as my uncle had said the night before, he had taught me a great deal. He had studied in the Irish college in Rome and he had taught me to pronounce Latin properly. He had told me stories about the catacombs and about Napoleon Bonaparte, and he had explained to me the meaning of the different ceremonies of the Mass and of the different vestments worn by the priest. Sometimes he had amused himself by putting difficult questions to me, asking me what one should do in certain circumstances or whether such and such sins were mortal or venial or only imperfections. His questions showed me how complex and mysterious were certain institutions of the Church which I had always regarded as the simplest acts. The duties of the priest towards the Eucharist and towards the secrecy of the confessional seemed so grave to me that I wondered how anybody had ever found in himself the courage to undertake them; and I was not surprised when he told me that the fathers of the Church had written books as thick as the Post Office Directory and as closely printed as the law notices in the newspaper, elucidating all these intricate questions. Often when I thought of this I could make no answer or only a very foolish and halting one upon which he used to smile and nod his head twice or thrice. Sometimes he used to put me through the responses of the Mass which he had made me learn by heart; and, as I pattered, he used to smile pensively and nod his head, now and then pushing huge pinches of snuff up each nostril alternately. When he smiled he used to uncover his big discoloured teeth and let his tongue lie upon his lower lipa habit which had made me feel uneasy in the beginning of our acquaintance before I knew him well.
As I walked along in the sun I remembered old Cotter's words and tried to remember what had happened afterwards in the dream. I remembered that I had noticed long velvet curtains and a swinging lamp of antique fashion. I felt that I had been very far away, in some land where the customs were strangein Persia, I thought. . . . But I could not remember the end of the dream.
In the evening my aunt took me with her to visit the house of mourning. It was after sunset; but the window-panes of the houses that looked to the west reflected the tawny gold of a great bank of clouds. Nannie received us in the hall; and, as it would have been unseemly to have shouted at her, my aunt shook hands with her for all. The old woman pointed upwards interrogatively and, on my aunt's nodding, proceeded to toil up the narrow staircase before us, her bowed head being scarcely above the level of the banister-rail. At the first landing she stopped and beckoned us forward encouragingly towards the open door of the dead-room. My aunt went in and the old woman, seeing that I hesitated to enter, began to beckon to me again repeatedly with her hand.
I went in on tiptoe. The room through the lace end of the blind was suffused with dusky golden light amid which the candles looked like pale thin flames. He had been coffined. Nannie gave the lead and we three knelt down at the foot of the bed. I pretended to pray but I could not gather my thoughts because the old woman's mutterings distracted me. I noticed how clumsily her skirt was hooked at the back and how the heels of her cloth boots were trodden down all to one side. The fancy came to me that the old priest was smiling as he lay there in his coffin.
But no. When we rose and went up to the head of the bed I saw that he was not smiling. There he lay, solemn and copious, vested as for the altar, his large hands loosely retaining a chalice. His face was very truculent, grey and massive, with black cavernous nostrils and circled by a scanty white fur. There was a heavy odour in the roomthe flowers.
We crossed ourselves and came away. In the little room downstairs we found Eliza seated in his arm-chair in state. I groped my way towards my usual chair in the corner while Nannie went to the sideboard and brought out a decanter of sherry and some wine-glasses. She set these on the table and invited us to take a little glass of wine. Then, at her sister's bidding, she filled out the sherry into the glasses and passed them to us. She pressed me to take some cream crackers also but I declined because I thought I would make too much noise eating them. She seemed to be somewhat disappointed at my refusal and went over quietly to the sofa where she sat down behind her sister. No one spoke: we all gazed at the empty fireplace.
My aunt waited until Eliza sighed and then said: "Ah, well, he's gone to a better world."
Eliza sighed again and bowed her head in assent. My aunt fingered the stem of her wine-glass before sipping a little. "Did he . . . peacefully?" she asked.
"Oh, quite peacefully, ma'am," said Eliza. "You couldn't tell when the breath went out of him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised."
"And everything . . .?"
"Father O'Rourke was in with him a Tuesday and anointed him and prepared him and all."
"He knew then?"
"He was quite resigned."
"He looks quite resigned," said my aunt.
"That's what the woman we had in to wash him said. She said he just looked as if he was asleep, he looked that peaceful and resigned. No one would think he'd make such a beautiful corpse."
"Yes, indeed," said my aunt.
She sipped a little more from her glass and said:
"Well, Miss Flynn, at any rate it must be a great comfort for you to know that you did all you could for him. You were both very kind to him, I must say."
Eliza smoothed her dress over her knees.
"Ah, poor James!" she said. "God knows we done all we could, as poor as we arewe wouldn't see him want anything while he was in it."
Nannie had leaned her head against the sofa-pillow and seemed about to fall asleep.
"There's poor Nannie," said Eliza, looking at her, "she's wore out. All the work we had, she and me, getting in the woman to wash him and then laying him out and then the coffin and then arranging about the Mass in the chapel. Only for Father O'Rourke I don't know what we'd done at all. It was him brought us all them flowers and them two candlesticks out of the chapel and wrote out the notice for the Freeman's General and took charge of all the papers for the cemetery and poor James's insurance."
"Wasn't that gooda of him?" said my aunt.
Eliza closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. "Ah, there's no friends like the old friends," she said, "when all is said and done, no friends that a body can trust."
"Indeed, that's true," said my aunt. "And I'm sure now that he's gone to his eternal reward he won't forget you and all your kindness to him."
"Ah, poor James!" said Eliza. "He was no great trouble to us. You wouldn't hear him in the house any more than now. Still, I know he's gone and all to that. . . ."
"It's when it's all over that you'll miss him," said my aunt.
"I know that," said Eliza. "I won't be bringing him in his cup of beef-tea any more, nor you, ma'am, sending him his snuff. Ah, poor James!"
She stopped, as if she were communing with the past, and then said shrewdly:
"Mind you, I noticed there was something queer coming over him latterly. Whenever I'd bring in his soup to him there I'd find him with his breviary fallen to the floor, lying back in the chair and his mouth open."
What People are saying about this
“A handsome deluxe edition.” —The New York Times
“A gorgeous new trade paperback edition [of] arguably the most important single-author short story collection in the English language.” —KQED, “Great Lit Perfect for Summer Reading”
Meet the Author
Keri Walsh is Assistant Professor of English at Fordham University. She is the editor of The Letters of Sylvia Beach (Columbia University Press, 2010).
- Date of Birth:
- February 2, 1882
- Date of Death:
- January 13, 1941
- Place of Birth:
- Dublin, Ireland
- Place of Death:
- Zurich, Switzerland
- B.A., University College, Dublin, 1902
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Dublin at the turn of the nineteenth century is this book's source of inspiration. Joyce here captures a sense of sadness, a sense of folly, and a sense of unsatisfaction in this collection of short stories. Fourteen were intended by Joyce for The Dubliners, and in this Bantom Books Reprint, the lyrically written, but awkwardly structured 'The Dead' has been included (it reads in two seemingly incongruent parts). My notables include 'A Mother', 'A Little Cloud', and 'Counterparts'. 'The Dead' is hailed by the literati as a great piece, and the second half of the story captures the distance that can occur in a marriage, the effects of a perceived affair on a husband and a woman's longing for what could have been if she'd married differently. This collection of stories is compulsory for any James Joyce reader, as it is a sharp contrast in style to Finnegan's Wake or Ulysses. I find the value in it, if one wants to be absolutely immersed in a different time and place, and read some passionately painful, realistic stories. The morals of these stories can be interpreted open-endedly, like most great art, and at times may be too subtle for the modern reader. One drawback to this edition. Shame on Bantam for not presenting the punctuation as Joyce intended. He originally demarcates his changed in dialogue with dashes, rather than standard quotation mark indicators. What is the point of reading the book how the author did not intend it read? Read the book, but choose an edition true to the author's intent.
Dubliners is a wonderful masterpiece that is insightful and cascades with beauty through its words splashed upon the pages. My personal favorite story is 'The Dead' which is Joyce's transition from his more simplistic writing into what will later become his stream of conciousness and deeply imbedded symbolism style of writing that we see in Ulysses. I recommend this to anyone. Some of the short stories are easier to read than others, but there shouldn't be any great trouble in any of them. Each story has its unique beauty and truth about the human race.
The Dubliners is a revelation into the dark side of human reasoning. It¿s a smashing book, when you are done with it you understand why people do stupid things, drink excessively or gamble (the reasoning behind it). This book is a benchmark in literary competence that everyone should read. I love this book because it gives the perspective of the lower class of Dublin children skipping school, alcoholics exedra. James Joyce has exceeded the expectations for word choice of the finest writers. It is a book of short, stories each chapter gives a different perspective of the same day in Dublin. James Joyce also wrote the Odyssey which by many standards is the hardest book to understand (in English) and is legendary for its complexity. The Dubliners retains all the richness and word of the Odyssey but everyone can (should) understand.
This is the second James Joyce book I have read and it goes to reinforce the feeling I had after reading the first that that writer is a great storyteller. In fact, I consider James Joyce's Dubliners as one of the best collection of short stories ever put together. The settings are amazing and the rich and lively characters all combine with the incredible plots to add credence to the stories. Not only are they true to life in fitting with the atmosphere that one finds in Dublin, the stories are also hilarious, subtle, and inspirational and gripping. The pace of the stories is fast and the voices are rich.
I had to read this book for my AP Literature class, but I ended up buying my own copy to keep notes in..and also because I liked it so much. I loved the message that Joyce was trying to portray with this novel: Dublin (and society as a whole) was stuck in a never-ending circle, paralyzed if you will, of drinking, passionless love and lives, materialism, meaningless faith, etc. I had never read something quite like this before, and I loved the creative grouping of the chapters into a timeline type thing. My favorite chapter was Evelyn. All in all, it was a pretty good read.
A GREAT book. If it were a good book it would show this dank, depressive, captivating and surreal world. Instead it emerses you in this world. Joyce's writing is so spontaneous. I despise being gushing but it is Joyce. The man is a genius. (I realise I should refer to him in the past tense but his writing seems to suspened his intellect and reality in time). He never resorts to the writing-by-numbers tecnique of presenting characters with a view to evoking sympathetic sentiments from the reader. Characters aren't pleasant so that you want to be their friend or unsuccesful/destructive/pathetic for the purpose of making the reader feel smug, successful and sensible. I can't recommend this book enough. It's an experience. One which you may find tiring and depressing but which is completely worthwhile. And compared to Finnegans Wake it's a walk in the park! Allows you to experience Joyce's writing without completely perplexing you (speaking from experience!)
Barnes and Noble needs to kick out all of the people that are posting solicitations and personal chats. This is for reviews of authors and books only.
Maximum walked in, smirking a bit.
Mia To Alex: I will ASAP 3: I thought you guys forgot about meee :D I feel much better now! I'll try to be back by either tomorrow or Wednesday!!!
Mia To All (and the Dustin dude): So, like, I miss you guys so FRIKKIN much! By everyone I mean bw, carrie, alex, doc.... You other newbies can suck it :3 But still, I lost mah nook but Im gun find it 'cause I miss being on here... PS Dustin, Delilah says "Hi"
Added this to my collection because I remember enjoying it very much as the focus of a literature course at the university in the late 1950's or early 1960s. Joyce captures the essence of every day people doing every day things. Modern Library Series has been my source for so many classics.
Looked at him
Ok so will u?
It's not hanging on at all. It is dead.
Tell Riker to get on sometime.
I havent given up yet. I still love you Nonnie...
Oops wrong name xD<p>
HER NOOK BROKE SHE WONT BE ON FOR A WHILE. <p> ~ Ellie.