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Dubliners

Dubliners

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Dubliners

ratings:
3/5 (2,850 ratings)
Length:
260 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Apr 4, 2015
ISBN:
9786155529764
Format:
Book

Description

The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences. They centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a moment where a character experiences self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity.


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.
"Father Flynn."
"Is he dead?"



  ABOUT AUTHOR:


  James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882 – 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre also includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Publisher:
Released:
Apr 4, 2015
ISBN:
9786155529764
Format:
Book

About the author

James Joyce (1882–1941) was an Irish poet, novelist, and short story author and one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. His best-known works include Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artistas a Young Man, Finnegans Wake, and Ulysses, which is widely considered to be the greatest novel in the English language. 


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Dubliners - James Joyce

978-615-552-9764

About Author

Joyce in Zurich, in 1918

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882 – 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre also includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Joyce in 1915

* * * * *

Preface (About the Book)

The stories were written when Irish nationalism was at its peak, and a search for a national identity and purpose was raging; at a crossroads of history and culture, Ireland was jolted by various converging ideas and influences. They centre on Joyce's idea of an epiphany: a moment where a character experiences self-understanding or illumination. Many of the characters in Dubliners later appear in minor roles in Joyce's novel Ulysses. The initial stories in the collection are narrated by child protagonists, and as the stories continue, they deal with the lives and concerns of progressively older people. This is in line with Joyce's tripartite division of the collection into childhood, adolescence and maturity.

Table of Contents

Dubliners {Illustrated}

About Author

Preface (About the Book)

Table of Contents

The Sisters

An Encounter

Araby

Eveline

After the Race

Two Gallants

The Boarding House

A Little Cloud

Counterparts

Clay

A Painful Case

Ivy Day In the Committee Room

A Mother

Grace

The Dead

Picture: Original Dubliners

DUBLINERS

{ILLUSTRATED}

BY

JAMES JOYCE

With Illustrations by Murat Ukray {e-Kitap Projesi}

The Sisters

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.

Father Flynn.

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 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 shopwindows 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 lip—a 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 strange—in 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 room—the flowers.

We blessed 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 are—we 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 have 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 good 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.

She laid a finger against her nose and frowned: then she continued:

But still and all he kept on saying that before the summer was over he'd go out for a drive one fine day just to see the old house again where we were all born down in Irishtown and take me and Nannie with him. If we could only get one of them new-fangled carriages that makes no noise that Father O'Rourke told him about—them with the rheumatic wheels—for the day cheap—he said, at Johnny Rush's over the way there and drive out the three of us together of a Sunday evening. He had his mind set on that.... Poor James!

The Lord have mercy on his soul! said my aunt.

Eliza took out her handkerchief and wiped her eyes with it. Then she put it back again in her pocket and gazed into the empty grate for some time without speaking.

He was too scrupulous always, she said. The duties of the priesthood was too much for him. And then his life was, you might say, crossed.

Yes, said my aunt. He was a disappointed man. You could see that.

A silence took possession of the little room and, under cover of it, I approached the table and tasted my sherry and then returned quietly to my chair in the comer. Eliza seemed to have fallen into a deep revery. We waited respectfully for her to break the silence: and after a long pause she said slowly:

It was that chalice he broke.... That was the beginning of it. Of course, they say it was all right, that it contained nothing, I mean. But still.... They say it was the boy's fault. But poor James was so nervous, God be merciful to him!

And was that it? said my aunt. I heard something....

Eliza nodded.

That affected his mind, she said. After that he began to mope by himself, talking to no one and wandering about by himself. So one night he was wanted for to go on a call and they couldn't find him anywhere. They looked high up and low down; and still they couldn't see a sight of him anywhere. So then the clerk suggested to try the chapel. So then they got the keys and opened the chapel and the clerk and Father O'Rourke and another priest that was there brought in a light for to look for him.... And what do you think but there he was, sitting up by himself in the dark in his confession-box, wide-awake and laughing-like softly to himself?

She stopped suddenly as if to listen. I too listened; but there was no sound in the house: and I knew that the old priest was lying

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What people think about Dubliners

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2850 ratings / 95 Reviews
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  • (5/5)
    A reread of Dubliners, which I haven't read in half a century. A first read of the Norton Critical Edition with its supplementary materials. Dubliners could get 5***** on its own, but the supplementary materials in this NCE are absolutely superb, even better than the usually excellent NCE material. Especially good were Howard Ehrlich's " 'Araby' in Context: The 'Splendid Bazaar,' Irish Orientalism, and James Clarence Mangan" and Victor Cheng's "Empire and Patriarchy in 'The Dead'."
  • (3/5)
    Sure, this collection was written by none other than James Joyce, but let's be perfectly honest: this book encapsulates what Thoreu was talking about when he stated the obvious: "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." After finishing this collection of failed lives, broken dreams, religious superstition, alcoholic excess, harsh memories, heartbreak, double-dealing, etc, I am going to need lots of ice cream to cleanse my palate of from the taste of a 'why even bother' mentality. And to think that my Irish grandmother was living in these very streets as this book was written! No wonder she left! Despair at its most relentless; as one character notes, "I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger." And he was one of the lucky ones!
  • (4/5)
    While shopping for books recently on Amazon, I was trying to upgrade my reading list through the addition of some “classics” that I’d avoided in the past. In doing so, I discovered a couple of relatively short works by authors that were somewhat intimidating by reputation. Having done a little research, I was pretty sure that authors such as Camus, Sartre, Joyce and Faulkner would probably not be to my liking. Nevertheless, I picked up Camus’ The Plague and Dubliners by James Joyce, emboldened by their brevity. In hindsight, I’m glad I did, though I’m unlikely to delve much deeper.This short (140 relatively dense pages) work is a compilation of short stories centered upon the Irish city of Dublin near the turn of the 20th century. These short stories are VERY short, most in the range of 5-10 pages long. I don’t necessarily dislike short stories, however I like for my short stories to be at least long enough to actually tell a story and this collection fails in that regard. Many of the offerings merely paint a tapestry, albeit in beautiful prose, but fall short of actually engaging the reader. In truth, there are no “stories” as much as vignettes. They were very reminiscent of many of the short Hemingway stories I’d read; beautifully written, but too short to capture my interest.I was quite disappointed after having read the first three or four very short vignettes, but it soon became apparent that the short stories were coalescing into a larger picture and the reader begins to get a more complete picture of the city, its people and their culture. Then, the final story, The Dead, proves a fitting capstone to the collection. Far longer than the other stories, at about 30 pages, it is by far the most powerful and memorable of the stories.Bottom line: This is a very short book containing very short stories, most of which are TOO short for my taste. Taken as a collection, however, they serve the purpose of making the reader familiar with the city, its people and their period in history. The final work makes the entire effort worthwhile. It was a two star effort through the first half, becoming three star as the stories coalesced, vaulted to four star by the final story.
  • (4/5)
    I began reading my lovely new Folio edition right out of the wrapper, and at first I couldn't quite see what the point of it all was. The first few stories, despite the clear brilliance of the writing---characters fully drawn in a couple sentences, images so sharp the smells of theriverthepubthesickroom come off the page--seemed to be all middle. The end of a story felt like the end of a chapter and I looked to pick up the scrap of thread that surely must be found in the pages to follow, but it never appeared. As so often happens with collections of short fiction, I connected with some of the pieces and not so much (or not at all) with others. I skipped one entirely after two paragraphs (that almost always happens too). But, and this will be no surprise to anyone who has read ANYTHING by Joyce (because it will have been "The Dead", 9 times out of 10), the final selection, "The Dead" just dropped me on my keister. It's perfectly made; the words are all Right-- there's never a lightning bolt when a lightning bug is what's wanted. It begins, it proceeds, it ends--in fact it ends with a paragraph so exquisite that, had I a drop of Irish blood in me, I would have been wailing. As it was, a tear was enough. My beloved cadre of 30-something current and former English professors (@lycomayflower, @geatland and others) have sung the praises of this story in my hearing over the last 10 years or so, and they don't exaggerate.Review written in August 2014
  • (3/5)
    Verzameling korte verhalen, nogal wisselend van niveau, geen meesterwerken maar wel gedegen vakmanschap. Gemeenschappelijk katholieke verwijzingen, band met Dublin. Telkens een schokkende gebeurtenis voor de betrokken persoon. Apart: langere essay The Dead, subliem-wervelend.
  • (4/5)
    The Dead is quite the most moving love story I've ever read. For anyone who's lost someone.
  • (4/5)
    Dubliners is comprised of 15 short and simple stories all centered around the people of Dublin. To sum up the collection it is a portrait of a city as seen from the eyes of the people living there. The very first story, The Sisters, is nothing more than a family's reaction to a priest's death. While the characters are not connected, their stories are. Life and death, love and loss, youth and aging, poverty and wealth. Joyce does a remarkable job capturing the spirit of the Irish while revealing universal truths about mankind as a whole. It is as if we, as readers, get to peek into the character's lives and are witness to moments of our own circumstance.
  • (4/5)
    Enjoyed all but a couple of these stories. Dublin, the time and the characters come through fully formed. Apart from a couple - 'Ivy Day in the Committee Room' for example, though that was partly because I don't know enough the history of Irish politics. 'The Dead' is celebrated according to my edition, and it's easy to see why, though not by describing its plot. That's the strength though - it's a dinner party with dancing, nothing more dramatic than that on the surface, but there are many more stories subsumed within, and you can't help but share some of Gabriel's feelings as time goes on.
  • (3/5)
    The stories are very well written, however just not long enough to get connected to the characters which is a shame.
  • (4/5)
    Such wonderful writing! The book gets better the further you go, because the stories create a vivid picture of a city and time. Although these are short stories, in one sense this is a novel. Makes me think of "Winesburg, Ohio" (which I just realized I need to add to my list of books read).
  • (1/5)
    I have a list of major authors whom I’ve never read in a Notepad file: Dickens, Faulkner, Carver, Woolf, etc. This stems from being a young reader in the 21st century, looking back across history at the overwhelming weight of the human canon. My theory is that while there are far too many great books in the world for anybody to read in one lifetime, you should try to read at least one book from all the major authors, to sample their style and see if they take your fancy or not, to discover whether you want to pursue their works further. James Joyce is on that list, and since there is not a chance in hell I’m ever going to read Ulysses, I thought it appropriate to read his short story anthology Dubliners.I’m not going to try to talk my way around it: I hated this book. It was extremely tedious. Rarely did any of the fifteen stories gathered within capture my attention in any way; more often than not, I found myself distracted and daydreaming, and had to keep snapping my focus back to the page. I finished the book yesterday and can properly summarise exactly zero of the stories for you. I can tell you virtually nothing about the plots they contain, let alone the thematic weight they are supposed to carry. This is not to say that they are bad or useless or pointless; merely that whatever literary heft they have was lost on this reader. Dubliners, just so we’re clear, is not written in the same deliberately confusing modernist stream-of-consciousness style that Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake are. It’s a perfectly normal, ordinary style of writing. It’s just very, very boring.I’m not a stupid or crass reader. I have read, enjoyed, appreciated and even loved the works of Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey, to name a few. But I hated Dubliners, and if that makes me a philistine then so be it.
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this collection because I doubt anyone writes short stories like this anymore. Dubliners is composed of vignettes looking into the lives of ordinary people and does not aspire to show extraordinary moments but rather the small ones that happen everyday. Although many of the stories feature epiphanies rendered from these small moments, others simply depict in realistic fashion an experience that could happen to anyone with no reflection by the character whatsoever. My favorites from the collection are Araby, Eveline, Two Gallants, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, Clay, A Painful Case, A Mother, Grace, and of course, The Dead. One may notice I have listed there 10 of the 15 stories, and I suppose that is a reflection of how much I loved the book. It did take me over a year to complete, if only because I kept putting off reading The Dead because I wanted a suitable moment to give it its due consideration.
  • (5/5)
    I give Dubliners only 4 1/2 because there seems to be more than a half point gap between this and Ulysses, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Finnegan's Wake. I admit I am unfairly punishing Joyce by comparing him against himself. Joyce is one of the most brilliant authors to have ever worked with the English language.
  • (5/5)
    This book was my 'A' level set book and I enjoyed it as narrative without understanding much of its significance. I got Bolt's preface to Joyce, as a prelude to another attempt at 'Ulysses' and re-read it. It's deep and experimental, but a good read at the same time. A great insight into Dublin just before WW1 and humanity in general, take what you want, it's here.
  • (2/5)
    A practice run for Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man and Ulysses. Some good moments, but a lot of flops; the only "great" stories are Araby, Eveline, and The Dead. Not that the others aren't enjoyable; Joyce is at his best when he has more breathing room than the short story form allows.
  • (3/5)
    Reading Joyce's short stories here, I was strangely reminded of Tolstoy, for a reason I can't quite think of. I enjoyed Joyce's character studies, and found them an insightful introduction to life in Dublin at the turn of the last century. That said, I found the whole to be slow-going, and sometimes quite a lot of work. I drifted off at times and had to reread whole paragraphs.
  • (4/5)
    Sad to say, but I have never before read anything by James Joyce although I knew this was a serious omission in my reading life. I took the easy way out, and started with Joyce's short stories, Dubliners, set in middle class, early 20th century Ireland.I do like the way that some of the stories were loosely interconnected, the way a character in one would pop up again in another. And I liked the earlier stories, the ones with children and then adolescents, best. Some of the writing is lovely, and some of my favorite quotes are:“The barometer of his emotional nature was set for a spell of riot.”“He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in the past tense. He never game alms to beggars and walked firmly, carrying a stout hazel.”“He had dismissed his wife so sincerely from his gallery of pleasures that he did not suspect that anyone else would take an interest in her.”Joyce's descriptions of characters were wonderful. To me, however, the stories were not, for the most part, especially interesting. I'd finish one and think, “Is that all there is?” Perhaps I'm just a reader who needs more definitive conclusion, more action, perhaps I just missed the point and am showing my ignorance. I'm going to give Joyce another try. But not just yet.About the specific edition I read – avoid the free Kindle edition. The occasional typo didn't bother me too much, but in the story “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” the free Kindle version was missing the entire “The Death of Parnell” poem, and that poem was integral to the story. Fortunately, I had an old copy sitting on my shelf, and I switched to it. However, my rating is based on my opinion of the writing, not on any particular edition.
  • (5/5)
    Perfection in character studies. When people talk about Joyce being the granddaddy of writing in the twentieth century, I'd say these are the crib notes for all the kids who were listening. Since most of the stories lack a resolution, they probably leave you unsatisfied. I like it that way, though, since it's almost impossible to ever get an ending that seems "right" in my eyes.
  • (4/5)
    These stories of Irish life at the turn of the century seem oddly incomplete. The trick is to bring your own intellect to bear on them. You add the final gloss. I love Joyce's allusive tone. "Grace" is my favourite. In its broad, roundabout discursive manner with its heavy accent on the vernacular and heavily allusive (if deliberately innaccurate) style, it reminds me of a late Kipling Story, like Dayspring Mishandled or The Janeites. There is a hiddne narrative here. Can you spot what is going on amongst these "Christian" men?
  • (5/5)
    I can't explain why I love this book so much, but I found it incredible. Perhaps it was the simple tales about average people or the glimpses into the oddities of everyday life. In any case, the collection of quick stories is thoroughly entertaining and should be on everyone's must-read list
  • (3/5)
    Capturing the essence of middle-class Ireland in the early 1900s, this is a collection of 15 short stories changing in mood and character, but constant in theme. The age of the protagonists rises from the first story to the last, but all are engaged in some sort of defining internal moment or thought. The last story, The Dead was perhaps the most profound example of this, but it is possible to capture that defining moment in each tale. The Dead was also the most moving story, for me, although I was also touched and disturbed by both A Painful Case and Clay. I confess, not being an appreciator of Irish Lit, most of the rest of the stories did little for me, but I am in awe of Joyce’s short story telling ability, nonetheless.
  • (4/5)
    DublinersJames JoyceAug 14, 2010 Joyce writes of the characters in Dublin in the first years of the 20th century, before the great war. His people are ordinary, poor or middle class, often unhappy and wishing for better times. The protagonist in his story “A Painful Case” realizes much too late what he meant to another woman, and realizes he was unable to grasp life as he wished to. The story in the “Dead” seems to be about something else until the end, when it becomes one again of unrequited love and loss. The stories often end without a clear resolution, a question in the mind of the reader about the fate of the characters, or the meaning of the events. They are absorbing, and emotionally affecting.
  • (4/5)
    Joyce's simple stories keep one gripped. Wonderful collection and a great introduction to Joyce.
  • (5/5)
    Reading Joyce is like what reading was like when you were a kid - an almost physical experience. He is so good at creating an atmosphere, you can almost smell the air of turn-of-the century Dublin as you follow his characters through their quietly unsatisfied lives. 'Dubliners', in 15 sketches of hugely different people, gives you a very profound sense of what this city (and in fact the entire country) was like at the time, suspended in limbo; clinging to tradition in a sometimes mechanical way, yet yearning to be part of a bigger world. This is most pronounced in the story 'Eveline', where a girl is torn between duties to her family and the promise of a better, happier life abroad with her sweetheart. All in all, 'Dubliners' was a great read and something I'd recommend to anyone. I really like short stories and episodic novels (Dubliners falls somewhere in between I think, because the 15 stories add up to something bigger) because they allow you to catch your breath in between. I'm still a little anxious to touch 'Ulysses', its hugeness and impenetrability being rather legendary, so 'Dubliners' was my way to dip my toe in the water. I also think Irish history and culture are very interesting, and you get a lot of that (references, so keep wikipedia at hand) as well.
  • (4/5)
    A collection of short stories from one of the darlings of the modern literary world, James Joyce. Though I mock, I do believe Joyce is deserving of his reputation (I just become irritated by some of the pretentious attitudes toward him that I discovered in literature classes) and his short stories are justifiably acknowledged as exemplars in that genre. Each of the fifteen tales depicts a slice of Dublin life from the early twentieth century, and all are colored with Joyce's judgment towards his native land. As he wrote in a letter, he felt that Ireland had become paralyzed, swamped in a nostalgia for the old days and an inertia that prevented it from the progress of other countries, and that Dublin, in particular, personified this attitude (my paraphrasing of his words). As a result, many of these stories have characters who are longing for change, or dream of bettering themselves, but in the final analysis are stuck in their situation and make no forward movement whatsoever. This theme - and many others - link the stories. They also have a progression that Joyce himself explicated, as the stories move from childhood to adolescence and adulthood, ending with stories about public life. Narratively, however, each piece stands alone, and the characters do not cross over. The way that these stories nonetheless are intricately connected through theme, symbolism, and style demonstrates Joyce's skill as a writer. They are very good short stories, and they are interesting as individual pieces and equally interesting to read for the more abstract connections that bind them as a whole."Dead" was my favorite. This is the final, and longest, story in the collection, and was written well after the others. In it, Gabriel attends a festive party at the Miss Morkans' house, where a tension runs beneath Gabriel's skin despite the jolly crowd. He has several painful encounters, and ends the evening with an unwelcome revelation from his wife that causes him to face mortality. I also particularly liked "Clay", in which Maria receives a sad prophecy and she's the only one who misses its significance, and "The Boarding House", the story where Mrs. Mooney uses unscrupulous feigned ignorance to marry off her daughter; I've read "Araby" so many times that I don't know if I like it for its merits or for its familiarity. Don't expect these stories to be mood lifters. Joyce was intentional about depicting negative portraits. His style is crisp, with lots of straight forward detail rather than lyrical flourish. He wanted to present life in gritty detail, often mediocre life, and the moral dilemmas and stagnation that he observed in his Dublin. These stories are crafted with fine writing and thematic resonance, and therein lies their value. Read them for their power and meaning, and enjoy the power of the short story form.
  • (4/5)
    The most interesting thing about this collection of James Joyce short stories is not that they are accessible (in contradiction to so much of what Joyce has written); but that they are the epitome of the old cliché “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” That is to say, few of these stories really stand out. Yes, there are a couple of exceptions. But the majority are just okay stories. However, taken as a whole, these provide a fascinating picture of the town where they all take place. As the stories unfold, the people become more and more real, and the town takes on a shape.The intent of these stories was two-fold. The first was to stand on their own. Not all that successful. The second is to paint an overall picture, and that they do with much better success.It is said that this collection is a good introduction to Joyce. Could well be. As I say, they are quite accessible. But I can say that there is an underlying enjoyment to reading the stories that sneaks up on the reader.
  • (4/5)
    a lesson in accessible joyce. some stories are easier to get into. others are in his own impenetrable style. i started this in paper, finished on an e-reader. a vote in their behalf, i'm cylcing four books while commuting; i typically get to three in a round trip. i looked forward to 'dubliners' (and the others as well).
  • (4/5)
    A book filled with 12 short stories about people. The Irish people in Dublin in the late 1800's. You get a glimpse into the lives of the young, the old, the poor and the well-to-do. No one is exempt from Joyce's words. Each story, whether it be about a boy's day spent skipping school, or a young girl trying to choose whether or not to sail away to Buenos Aires with her beau, is beautifully written and rich with atmosphere. Each character comes alive on the page and is given just enough words to make you want to know more about them when it is time to move on to the next story.I am so happy I picked up this book to read, finally, having purchased it back in March. It amazes me how simply language can be used perfectly to tell a story. I kept wondering to myself if these were actual people he knew or saw in the streets around him, making up stories about the men walking down the street, or the kids on the ferry during school hours, or the lady at the quay staring at a ship setting sail.
  • (5/5)
    He wrote this at 25! Wow! I'm jealous. Learned a little about music, little about green eyes, little about galoshes, little about the social realm, little about love, little about carving turkeys, little about symbols, little about being a kid, little about sisters. And there is tons more. This is like a mine where the gold grows rather than gets used up.
  • (5/5)
    I've always liked this book better than the novels.