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themes joyce

a volume of fifteen short stories by James Joyce. Begun in 1904, it was repeatedly rejected for publication, successively destroyed and then burnt by censorious printers, added to by its author, championed by George Russell (AE), Yeats, and Pound, and finally published with reluctance by Grant Richards in 1914. Naturalistic in style and easily accessible by Joyce's standards, Dubliners represents his earliest efforts ‘to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city’. After a century without its own parliament, Dublin had become a provincial backwater of the Union and the Empire, peopled by frustrated adolescents (‘Araby’), jaded adults (‘Clay’), and hack politicians (‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’). Written with a ‘scrupulous meanness’, these sparse, often beautiful, and occasionally humorous portraits of everyday life are connected by themes of entrapment, escape, and compromise, themes which culminate in the final story, ‘The Dead’, widely regarded as a masterpiece of its genre.

Dublin Magazine, The - Dublin Magazine [next]

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