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The Dead by James Joyce

The Dead (1914)

by James Joyce

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6401023,917 (4.03)35
A New Year's Eve gathering in Dublin is the setting of this elegant, accessible masterpiece that ends with a signature epiphany by the protagonist, who offers a perspective on the lives, dreams, and feelings of the party's guests. This beautifully packaged series of classic novellas includes the works of masterful writers. Inexpensive and collectible, they are the first single-volume publications of these classic tales, offering a closer look at this under-appreciated literary form and providing a fresh take on the world's most celebrated authors.… (more)



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I went back to an old favorite a day or two ago. I started rereading The Dead, which is the last story in James Joyce’s Dubliners, and a novella in itself. I chose it because it was one of the titles I encountered in the audiobook I’m currently reading, and the discussion of it reminded me not only of how much I love the story, but of how much meaning can be taken from even a short read. Over the years I’ve found so many different things to ponder in this story, and I thought that refreshing my acquaintance with it would be a good start to the year.

This time I found myself focused more on Gabriel than anyone else, focused on his nervous self-consciousness which reminds me so much of my own. I watched him fret over his speech, still stinging from a criticism which may or may not have been mean-spirited, it’s hard to tell when we can only see it from his point of view. I found myself impatient with him because he mirrored the things in myself that make me impatient. And yet this time, I saw what a huge thing it was for him to turn away from the possibility of irrational anger and toward a deeper, greater understanding, not just of his wife and their marriage, but of life and love in general.

Gabriel is changed by his willingness to go beyond his own insecurities to understand and feel empathy for his wife’s sorrow. We can redeem ourselves, I think Joyce is telling us, if we step outside of our own heads and attempt to understand the lives of those around us.

I made the right choice of reading material. The story refreshed me, helped me shake off the mental fatigue I’d been feeling. More than that, I want to recommend this story to everyone as one that touches concerns that we all share because we’re all human beings. ( )
1 vote Tracy_Rowan | Mar 20, 2018 |
An extraordinary piece of fiction which starts off being about one thing, then turns into a story about something else, but then turns in a completely different story. Joyce does this in a seamless way that makes it seem inevitable. The very end is devastating. ( )
  eachurch | Aug 9, 2014 |
"Why is it that words like these seem to me so dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?" ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
"Why is it that words like these seem to me so dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?" ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
'One by one, they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.' ( )
  bonniemarjorie | May 7, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Joyceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zimmer, Dieter E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet.
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This work includes any editions which contain the single story/novella The Dead. Please do not combine it with any story collection.
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Legacy Library: James Joyce

James Joyce has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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