That James Joyce’s “The Dead” forms an extraordinary conclusion to his collection
Dubliners, there can be no doubt. But as many have pointed out, “The Dead” may equally well be read as a novella—arguably, one of the finest novellas ever written.
“The Dead,” a “story of public life,” as Joyce categorized it, was written more than a year after Joyce had finished the other stories in the collection, and was meant to redress what he felt was their “unnecessary harsh[ness].” Set on the feast of the epiphany, it is a haunting tale of connection and of alienation, reflecting, in the words of Stanislaus Joyce (James’s brother and confidant), “the nostalgic love of a rejected exile.”
The present volume highlights “The Dead” for readers who wish to focus on that great work in a concise volume—and for university courses in which it is not possible to cover all of Dubliners. But it also gives a strong sense of how that story is part of a larger whole. Stories from each of the other sections of Dubliners have been included, and a wide range of background materials is included as well, providing a vivid sense of the literary and historical context out of which the work emerged.
“A superbly framed selection of five stories from Dubliners, with judicious footnotes right on the page where readers need them and a vivid set of background materials that will be especially helpful for new students of Joyce. This Broadview edition contains the contextual and scholarly richness of a full critical edition, but in a tightly pruned and wisely packaged short form.” — Jed Esty, University of Pennsylvania
“The Broadview edition of stories from Dubliners is an attractive, aptly illustrated addition to the collections of Joyce’s shorter writings available to students and teachers. Its five revealingly annotated stories represent well the full range of Dubliners’ fifteen tales, from beginning to end. They are supplemented by a well-informed introduction, letters to and from key figures involved in the book’s coming into being, interesting and relevant historical and literary contextual material, and reviews presenting diverse responses to Dubliners at its appearance as a book by a little-known author. Readers of this edition will be well pleased by its compact character and its depth.” — John Paul Riquelme, Boston University