It is now approaching one hundred years since the first publication of The Dead and this wonderful story continues to fascinate readers, even prompting in recent times a film adaptation and a stage play. There are many who feel it is the finest short story/novella ever written. Beautifully executed in so many ways, multilayered and possessing an ineffable delicateness in subtlety throughout, it may indeed be James Joyce s finest writing. There is something so captivating in the way The Dead unfolds that even peripheral characters such as Lily the caretaker s daughter, Miss Ivors and Bartell D Arcy take on a very definite existence and linger with the reader taken through this tale of tussle between the living and the dead. ... Critical interest in the story has remained active with scholars still debating the meaning of the title, still searching out the meaning of Gabriel s journey westward , and continuing identifying thematic significances. ....One fact that there is unanimity upon is that Gabriel Conroy is James Joyce and the twenty-five year-old James Joyce writing the story in Trieste in the spring and summer of 1907 is harsh on himself: ... A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him. He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealizing his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror. Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead. ... The ending of the story where Gabriel looks out the window of his room in the Gresham Hotel and watches the snow His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead. is quite unforgettable. ... This lavishly illustrated version of The Dead contains fifty illustrations of the contemporary Dublin world depicted in the novella. Many of the photos, including photos of the opera singers mentioned, are seen for the first time in Joycean material. --Publisher
About the Author
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941) was an Irish writer and poet, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Along with Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, Joyce is a key figure in the development of the modernist novel. He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922). 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). Although most of his adult life was spent outside the country, Joyce's Irish experiences are essential to his writings and provide all of the settings for his fiction and much of their subject matter. In particular, his rocky early relationship with the Irish Catholic Church is reflected by a similar conflict in his character Stephen Dedalus, who appears in two of his novels. His fictional universe is firmly rooted in Dublin and reflects his family life and the events and friends (and enemies) from his school and college days; Ulysses is set with precision in the real streets and alleyways of the city. As the result of the combination of this attention to one place and his voluntary exile in continental Europe, most notably in Paris, Joyce paradoxically became both one of the most cosmopolitan yet most regionally focused of all the English language writers of his time.
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