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Dubliners: Text and Criticism; Revised Edition (Critical Library, Viking) Paperback – August 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews


“In Dubliners, Joyce’s first attempt to register in language and fictive form the protean complexities of the ‘reality of experience,’ he learns the paradoxical lesson that only through the most rigorous economy, only by concentrating on the minutest of particulars, can he have any hope of engaging with the immensity of the world.”–from the Introduction

“Joyce renews our apprehension of reality, strengthens our sympathy with our fellow creatures, and leaves us in awe before the mystery of created things.” –Atlantic Monthly

“It is in the prose of Dubliners that we first hear the authentic rhythms of Joyce the poet…Dubliners is, in a very real sense, the foundation of Joyce’s art. In shaping its stories, he developed that mastery of naturalistic detail and symbolic design which is the hallmark of his mature fiction.” –Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz, authors of Dubliners: Text and Criticism

With an Introduction by John Kelly

About the Author

James Joyce, the twentieth century's most influential novelist, was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882. The oldest of ten children, he grew up in a family that went from prosperity to penury because of his father's wastrel behavior. After receiving a rigorous Jesuit education, twenty-year-old Joyce renounced his Catholicism and left Dublin in 1902 to spend most of his life as a writer in exile in Paris, Trieste, Rome, and Zurich. On one trip back to Ireland, he fell in love with the now famous Nora Barnacle on June 16, the day he later chose as "Bloomsday" in his novel "Ulysses. "Nara was an uneducated Galway girl who became his lifelong companion an the mother of his two children. In debt and drinking heavily, Joyce lived for thirty-six years on the Continent, supporting himself first by teaching jobs, then trough the patronage of Mrs. Harold McCormick (Edith Rockerfeller) and the English feminist and editor Harriet Shaw Weaver. His writings include "Chamber music "(1907), "Dubliners "(1914), "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man "(1916), "Exiles "(1918), "Ulysses "(1922), "Poems Penyeach "(1927), "Finnegans Wake "(1939), and an early draft of "A Portrait of a Young Man, Stephan Hero "(1944). "Ulysses "required seven years to complete, and his masterpiece, "Finnegans Wake, "took seventeen. Both works revolutionized the form, structure, and content of the novel. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.

Robert Scholes is Research Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently "The Crafty Reader" and "The Rise and Fall of English," both published by Yale University Press.

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Product Details

  • Series: Critical Library, Viking
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised ed. edition (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140247742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140247749
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
As Joyce's first mature work, Dubliners comes close to being a work of art. It does have its failings though, which this Viking Critical Edition helps the reader past. For instance, those unfamiliar with late 19th century Irish politics would be completely lost by a story like "Ivy Day in the Committee Room." The notations provided in the appendix, however, allow the reader to understand the references and to actually gain insight into the past.
For anyone looking for an introduction to Joyce, this edition of Dubliners is certainly the place to start. Those already familiar with his works may gain new insight by this edition. Either way, a must own.
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Format: Paperback
I suppose "Dubliners" as a collection of short stories is an excellent starting point for a newcomer to the literary world of James Joyce, for several reasons. The stories are written in plain English, a statement not to be under estimated, for Joyce is known for conscious, far-reaching experimentation within the English language, which ever since has inspired critics and theorists of literature, but at the same tame presented a common reader with a real challenge, ever so more overwhelming for the native speakers, not to mention those for whom English is a second, or third language. Joyce's most known works are as hard to read as they are to translate, this being the reason why "Finnegan's Wake" remains one famous book which is rarely translated, and even more seldom done so with any success whatsoever. "Dubliners" however comes nowhere close to the later-day experiments of this author, even if stories contained therein are thematically interconnected with "Ulysses". The prose is plain and captivating, often brutal, sometimes lyrical, but always dignified. Reading "Dubliners" is an adventure in itself, because if you happened to enter Joyce's world with the aforementioned volumes, you probably expected a similar experience. This book contains the very first literary attempts by this author, when although innovative in some respects, the stories fit well into the classical literary framework of the XIX century. Therefore, because of its accessibility, it's highly recommended to read "Dubliners" as your first volume by James Joyce.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
When he was a young man, James Joyce abandoned his hometown of Dublin, and yet, he never wrote about any other place. He had also rejected Catholicism, and yet all his characters are dominated by it. DUBLINERS, Joyce's collection of short stories which set the standard for the genre, is filled with characters who come to terrible revelations (which he called "epiphanies") about how their lives had been scarred by the provincialism of Dublin, the divisiveness of its politics, and the oppression of religion. By extension, this is how Joyce percieved humanity at the dawn of modernism.
The stories range from the psychologically simple ("Counterparts" and "A Little Cloud") to the extraordinarily complex ("A Painful Case" and "The Dead"). But what is common throughout is the feel for Dublin just after the turn of the last century. The readers see the cobblestones, the chimneys, the trams and carts, the churches, and the street lamps. More importantly, the readers feel the tensions underlying the public smiles and infrequent bursts of confidence that the characters exhibit.
The extra value of this Viking Critical edition is, of course, the criticism. The valuable notes help make the understanding of the reading much easier. And the critical essays, each single one, provides a deeper understanding of how to put these stories in a larger frame.
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Format: Paperback
The simplest of all of Joyce's works, Dubliners introduces the people and everyday life present in Dublin, Ireland. While the events can be described as quite mundane, each of the fifteen short stories subtly highlights a unique meaning in life. Though each is self-sustaining, it is much more gratifying to read the tales in the order published. They follow the natural course of human life, growing from childhood to adulthood to death. Joyce skillfully demonstrates a sequence of events that can happen to anyone throughout a lifetime.

However, if you are completely unhappy with the first stories, skip to the end and read "The Dead". There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the best stories of fiction of its time - both in its use of language and its powerful messages. Actually a novella, this final story encompasses everything from politics to love to the inevitability of death rendering all else meaningless. While many people finish the Joyce's collection finding it to be one of the more depressing pieces of literature they have read, it really is not. For example, "The Dead" proves that death is essential to making a fresh start. Joyce did not intend to write to please others and leave them satisfied, but instead to portray reality in a grim city.

Just remember, after finishing Dubliners, you are one step closer to reading Ulysses!!
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