- Series: Dover Thrift Editions
- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Unabridged edition (May 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780486268705
- ISBN-13: 978-0486268705
- ASIN: 0486268705
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 530 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dubliners (Dover Thrift Editions) Unabridged Edition
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From the Back Cover
Although James Joyce completed these fifteen stories of Dublin life in 1907, they remained unpublished until 1914—victims of Edwardian squeamishness. Their vivid, tightly focused observations of the life of Dublin's poorer classes, their unconventional themes, coarse language, and mention of actual people and places made publishers of the day reluctant to undertake sponsorship.
Today, however, the stories are admired for their intense and masterly dissection of "dear dirty Dublin," and for the economy and grace with which Joyce invested this youthful fiction. From "The Sisters," the first story, illuminating a young boy's initial encounter with death, through the final piece, "The Dead," considered a masterpiece of the form, these tales represent, as Joyce himself explained, a chapter in the moral history of Ireland that would give the Irish "one good look at themselves." But in the end the stories are not just about the Irish; they represent moments of revelation common to all people.
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I figured this book was going to be like any other book I've had to purchase for a college course. As a student you're pressured to purchase it per the course guidelines and ultimately you do so not to negatively affect your grade since the assignments and exams are based off of the readings. To my surprise, I really really enjoyed this book. My professor was pretty out there, but incredibly smart, and provided insightful information on each chapter from Dubliners. Oddly enough, I still think about these short stories regularly as I see certain themes from the book transpire in my own life. To fully experience James Joyce's Dubliners, I would encourage students / readers to further inspect the events and the characters, especially as they relate from one story to the next. The underlying message that James Joyce weaves throughout the book is one that I will never forget; I will use as motivation in such a crucial point in my life where I'm faced with important decisions and I ultimately get to choose my path and what lies next.
I loan out my copy of the book frequently, and would definitely recommend checking it out.
In the end I discovered that I liked Joyce. I'm not a huge fan, but I like the sound of his words, particularly when read by Irish actors. And in the Caedmon version, the quality of the narration is up and down, with possibly the best reading being done by Stephen Rea, who gives us a version of The Dead that sounds as if it comes from the depths of a weary soul. Props also to Ciaran Hinds, Colm Meany, and Dan O'Herlihy. Alas the one Irish actor I'd have loved to hear narrate one of these stories was not included. Donal McCann, who left us far too soon, would have done an outstanding job, but it was not to be.
As for the stories themselves, I began to see that they were all about who people think they are and why. They're brief glances into events, even moments of the characters' lives that are so telling, that make their identities so clear that you come away from each one understanding what they hope for, and why they are suffering.
One story in particular -- I don't recall the title at the moment, so apologies for being vague here -- is the best sketch of an alcoholic I have ever read. I listened, becoming increasingly impatient with him until I wanted to shove him down the stairs. And then I recognized the knowledge that he was fleeing from, and felt terribly sad. It didn't excuse him, but it did explain him.
I'm not sure if I will go any further with Joyce, even in audio form, but I did enjoy Dubliners tremendously, and that's all you can ask from a book.
These are more character than action or plot driven, almost "snapshots" in the lives of the inhabitants of Dublin at the turn of the century. Well worth a look at.