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The Dead (The Art of the Novella)

45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0974960906
ISBN-10: 097496090X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882, the oldest of ten children in a Catholic family. He attended Jesuit schools and, in 1904, moved first to Trieste, then Paris, with Nora Barnacle; they married in 1931. After publishing his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in 1916, Joyce developed glaucoma, and his eyesight steadily diminished for the rest of his life. His seminal novel Ulysses was published by his friend Sylvia Beach out of her Paris bookstore, only to be banned in the US and elsewhere due to charges of indecency. Fleeing the Nazi invasion of France, Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Art of the Novella
  • Paperback: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097496090X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974960906
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Caponsacchi HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've found this to be the most useful of all the "case study" texts I've tried from both St. Martin's/Bedford and Norton. The primary text is sufficiently contained and the representative critical methodologies presented clearly enough to introduce students to both literature and literary theory without overwhelming them. Moreover, "The Dead" is capable of repaying the close and observant reader with a Joycean "epiphany" perhaps not surpassed by any other literary text (the last several paragraphs, especially, require attention to the developing, altering meanings of each and every word).

I have one caveat: the essay representing feminist criticism I frankly find baffling. The writer, apparently trying to have her cake and eat it too, manages to indict Joyce as a sexist while applauding the story as a critique of sexism and patriarchal hegemony! It does not "seem" to occur to her that Joyce may be removed from his central character, Gabriel, or that her evidence for Gabriel's male arrogance may actually be Joyce's idea from the start. A close reading of the character certainly suggests an ironic portrayal--everything that appears to be in Gabriel's favor is exposed through Joyce's subtle language as self-delusion. The feminist critic, however, impugns Joyce by suggesting that his "intentions" are less honorable than the meaning of the text itself!

Perhaps the writer is overstating a point in order to provide a better example of the type of critical approach she was asked to represent for the purposes of this anthology. I know that I will suggest as much should I again have occasion to use this particular essay.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reynolds Price called it the greatest short story written in English. Carson McCullers reread it every Christmas. I have read James Joyce's masterpiece "The Dead" from his book DUBLINERS at least a half dozen times. I just reread it, and as usual, it made my eyes burn. It is one of those rare stories that, when you finish it, you call up those people you love and those who love literature to make sure they have read it too.

The story, set in Dublin, covers one evening during the Christmas season when two sisters, the Misses Morkan, Julia and Kate, hold their annual dance, the event of the season and not to be missed. Their nephew Gabriel and his wife Gretta are of course invited. Gabriel is pompous and, to use a current expression, full of himself as he gives his usual speech at the event. The last 4 or 5 pages of this rather long-- although there is not one sentence too many-- story contain some of the most moving language you will encounter in English. Joyce makes a sad, profound statement about love, life and death and asks the question of how well do we really know those people closest to us.

The story became the director John Huston's last film by the same name (1987). He cast his daughter Anjelica as Gretta. Tenor Frank Patterson, who left us far too soon, sang that glorious song "The Lass of Aughrim" in the movie that is almost as good as Joyce's story.

Everyone who loves literature should read this perfect story.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Set in early 20th century Dublin this short story was the last in a collection called The Dubliners by native son, James Joyce. Despite the mournful title there is no murder nor mysterious death involved in this seemingly simple piece, set in an old-fashioned Society home during the Christmas season. Instead this proves an introspective tale from the viewpoint of middle-aged Gabriel, favorite nephew of his respected aunts who host an annual dinner party. The role of music and performers is debated among their many lively guests.

Gabriel's required speech during dinner praises the Irish tradition of warm hospitality. But something causes his wife, Gretta, to hark back to her girlhood and her first love--whose poignant memory threatens his plans for connubial bliss in their hotel room. Delicate as the snowflakes which blot out the city landscape, barely plotted with delicious hints of unexpressed emotion, The Dead transports readers to a different gas-lit age, where beauty and grace are subtly exhibited and passionately sought after. Joyce reminds us that music possesses the power to evoke the past and serve as a catalyst both for pain and pleasure. This may be read in one sitting, but don't miss the author's other reminiscences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edward R. Groszewski on February 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
"I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time."

Banksy

Although this quotation is not from "The Dead", it's a good introduction. Joyce's affecting novella explores the theme of the pull those who have passed on exert on those of us still here. There are no allusions to the supernatural, only an honest confrontation of the stubborn fact that there are relationships that trump death. But it's not a sermon; it's a story and a very good one.
Joyce has set the scene at a party in Dublin around the time of the feast of the Epiphany, just after the turn of the twentieth century. Please join the party. Settle into your favorite reading chair with a pot of tea (or an Irish whiskey) and enter into a world long vanished. You can become indignant with the strong republican, smile at the drunk, reminisce with the hostesses, and - perhaps - even hear ever so faintly the music. Pay close attention to Gabriel and Gretta Conroy as they enter from the cold. Joyce builds their characters with individual brush strokes: these are real people, with contradictions and passions, not stock characters. As the party ends, you will have had many occasions to reflect upon "our dear departed" and our ties to them.
But Joyce has given Gabriel and Gretta a final dramatic scene to play out. Their intense and exhausting encounter leaves the reader in a stew of emotions and calls him or her to cast their own minds back through the halls of personal memory. Entertaining and rewarding are apt, but inadequate, praise for this gem.
When you've finished the story, rent the film version brilliantly directed by John Huston, download "The Lass of Aughrim" to your iPhone, and have another pot of tea - or glass of Irish whiskey.
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