This group of fifteen brief narratives connected by a place and a time—the city of Dublin at the beginning of the twentieth century—was written when James Joyce was a precocious young graduate of University College. With great subtlety and artistic restraint, Joyce suggests what lies beneath the pieties of Dublin society and its surface drive for respectability, suggesting the difficulties and despairs that were being endured on a daily basis in the homes, pubs, streets, and offices of the city: underemployment, domestic violence, alcoholism, poverty, hunger, emotional and sexual repression. No writer ever took more seriously the details, history, and culture of a particular place than Joyce did with his home city, and these stories combine dark humor with compassion and a searching eye for the causes of suffering.
This new edition’s historical appendices include contemporary reviews (among them one by Ezra Pound) and materials on religion, the struggle for Irish independence, and Dublin’s musical and performance culture.
“Keri Walsh’s Broadview edition of Dubliners will deepen and enliven any reader’s experience of Joyce’s book. Included here are extensive appendices of primary materials that contextualize Joyce’s fictional world in terms of Ireland’s social, cultural, religious, and economic history, and in terms of the book’s troubled publication history, its early reception, and its place in literary history. Walsh’s introductory essay lays out the stakes of Joyce’s fraught relationship with Dublin and its denizens with clarity, concision, wit, and readability. Nowhere else have I read Joyce’s early life and work so essentially distilled, and rarely have I read Dubliners so artfully described. I expect Walsh’s Broadview edition of Dubliners to be around for a long time to come.” — Michael Rubenstein, Stony Brook University
“Keri Walsh, as we already know from her collection of Sylvia Beach’s letters, is an archivist who blends the conscience of an ethnographer with the touch of a lover. She has achieved something genuinely exhilarating in this edition of Dubliners — transformed us into Joyce’s contemporaries while simultaneously renewing the book as a contemporary text, richly teachable and learnable, for twenty-first century readers, students, and scholars.” — Saikat Majumdar, author of Prose of the World: Modernism and the Banality of Empire
“In an age when anthologized literary may give students the impression that the texts they are given to study arrived already canonized, Walsh’s approach—the provision of text, subtext, pretext, and context—allows an appreciation of the contingency of both creation and reputation, and is therefore an approach full of merit.” —Stephen Whittaker, James Joyce Literary Supplement
“Walsh’s entertaining prose moves competently and gracefully among many aspects of Dublin life and Irish history that have an immediate bearing on the stories … Deftly juggling and ordering so many layers of concerns, Walsh’s essay gives and ideal opening performance, drawing out questions and alerting readers to the details and controversies of the stories while refraining from editorializing or providing a simple, singular answer. In this sense, it makes a nicely polished critical looking glass that opens up many reflective possibilities for readers of Dubliners … The stories are evenly and skillfully annotated by Walsh; the level and depth of her notes also sustain the historical and cultural contexts developed in the critical essay and supplementary materials … Her annotative style is disciplined and concise, providing just the right amount of information about archaic vocabulary or arcane allusions. At their best, her annotations show readers the active interpretive choices that confront them in particular moments.” — Greg Winston, James Joyce Quarterly