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This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic realities. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation.

Joyce's first major work, written when he was only twenty-five, brought his city to the world for the first time. His stories are rooted in the rich detail of Dublin life, portraying ordinary, often defeated lives with unflinching realism. He writes of social decline, sexual desire and exploitation, corruption and personal failure, yet creates a brilliantly compelling, unique vision of the world and of human experience.

An alternate cover of this ISBN can be found here.

368 pages, Paperback

First published June 15, 1914

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About the author

James Joyce

2,060 books7,985 followers
A profound influence of literary innovations of Irish writer James Augustine Aloysius Joyce on modern fiction includes his works, Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

People note this novelist for his experimental use of language in these works. Technical innovations of Joyce in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels, drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and he created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions.

John Stanislaus Joyce, an impoverished gentleman and father of James Joyce, nine younger surviving siblings, and two other siblings who died of typhoid, failed in a distillery business and tried all kinds of other professions, including politics and tax collecting. The Roman Catholic Church dominated life of Mary Jane Murray, an accomplished pianist and his mother. In spite of poverty, the family struggled to maintain a solid middle-class façade.

Jesuits at Clongowes Wood college, Clane, and then Belvedere college in Dublin educated Joyce from the age of six years; he graduated in 1897. In 1898, he entered the University College, Dublin. Joyce published first an essay on When We Dead Awaken , play of Heinrich Ibsen, in the Fortnightly Review in 1900. At this time, he also began writing lyric poems.

After graduation in 1902, the twenty-year-old Joyce went to Paris, where he worked as a journalist, as a teacher, and in other occupations under difficult financial conditions. He spent a year in France, and when a telegram about his dying mother arrived, he returned. Not long after her death, Joyce traveled again. He left Dublin in 1904 with Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid, whom he married in 1931.

Joyce published Dubliners in 1914, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916, a play Exiles in 1918 and Ulysses in 1922. In 1907, Joyce published a collection of poems, Chamber Music .

At the outset of the Great War, Joyce moved with his family to Zürich. In Zürich, Joyce started to develop the early chapters of Ulysses, first published in France because of censorship troubles in the Great Britain and the United States, where the book became legally available only in 1933.

In March 1923, Joyce in Paris started Finnegans Wake, his second major work; glaucoma caused chronic eye troubles that he suffered at the same time. Transatlantic review of Ford Madox Ford in April 1924 carried the first segment of the novel, called part of Work in Progress. He published the final version in 1939.

Some critics considered the work a masterpiece, though many readers found it incomprehensible. After the fall of France in World War II, Joyce returned to Zürich, where he died, still disappointed with the reception of Finnegans Wake.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,345 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
October 22, 2017
Life is full of missed opportunities and hard decisions. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to actually do. Dubliners creates an image of an ever movie city, of an ever moving exchange of people who experience the reality of life. And that’s the whole point: realism. Not everything goes well, not everything is perfectly constructed. Life is random and unpredictable. If we’re not careful it may escape from us entirely.

There are two types of stories in Dubliners. The first, and by far the most effective, are those associated with despair, nihilism and death. The second type deals with more ordinary aspects of modern life, the representation of the city and social exchanges. As a collection they provide an image of dark, murky city struggling to cope with the problems associated with rapid urbanisation. The stories do not intertwine, but you are left with the impression that they are not that far from each other: their proximity feels close as you read further into each one.

The true mastery of Joyce’s writing reveals itself in what he doesn’t say, the subtle suggestions, the lingering questions, as each story closes without any sense of full resolution. And, again, is this not true of real life? In narrative tradition there is a structured beginning, middle and end, but in the reality of existence it doesn’t quite work this way. Life carries on. It doesn’t have a form of narrative closure, a convenient wrapping up of plot, after each wound we take in life. It carries on. We carry on. And for the Dubliners isolation carries on.

“He could not feel her near him in the darkness nor hear her voice touch his ear. He waited for some minutes listening. He could hear nothing: the night was perfectly silent. He listened again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone.”

Profile Image for Federico DN.
397 reviews804 followers
June 3, 2023
Dnfable Collection.

A collection of short stories by renowned James Joyce. Boy this collection sucked! This is guy is seriously depressing, and the few times something good was built he killed it with a dismal ending. Unremarkable characters, mundane plots, outstandingly boring storytelling; nearly all of them utterly forgettable, and skimmable. I definitely had worse, but not a lot. This should’ve been a dnf, but stubborn idiot that I am, I didn’t.

Go for the Best, consider the Good, whatever the Meh.

The Good :
★★★☆☆ “A Painful Case.”
★★★☆☆ “The Dead.” [2.5]

The Meh :
★★☆☆☆ “Araby.”
★★☆☆☆ “The Boarding House.”
★★☆☆☆ “Eveline.” [1.5]
★☆☆☆☆ “A Mother.” [1.5]
★☆☆☆☆ “Two Gallants.” [1.5]
★☆☆☆☆ “Clay.”
★☆☆☆☆ “A Little Cloud.”
★☆☆☆☆ “After the Race.”
★☆☆☆☆ “An Encounter.”
★☆☆☆☆ “The Sisters.”
☆☆☆☆☆ “Counterparts.” [0.5]
☆☆☆☆☆ “Grace.”
☆☆☆☆☆ “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.”

It's public domain, you can find it HERE.

[1914] [207p] [Collection] [Highly Not Recommendable]

Colección Dnfeable.

Una colección de cuentos cortos por el renombrado James Joyce. ¡Vaya que esta colección apesta! Este tipo es seriamente depresivo, y las pocas veces que arma algo bueno lo destruye con un final abismal. Personajes miserables, tramas mundanas, increíblemente aburrida narración; casi todos ellos terriblemente olvidables, y salteables. Definitivamente tuve peor, pero no tantas. Esto debería haber sido dnf, pero idiota testarudo que soy, no lo hice.

Ir por lo Mejor, considerar lo Bueno, loquesea lo Meh.

Lo Bueno :
★★★☆☆ “Un Triste Caso.”
★★★☆☆ “Los Muertos.” [2.5]

Lo Meh :
★★☆☆☆ “Arabia.”
★★☆☆☆ “La Casa de Huéspedes.”
★★☆☆☆ “Eveline.” [1.5]
★☆☆☆☆ “Una Madre.” [1.5]
★☆☆☆☆ “Dos Galanes.” [1.5]
★☆☆☆☆ “Polvo y Ceniza.”
★☆☆☆☆ “Una Nubecilla.”
★☆☆☆☆ “Después de la Carrera.”
★☆☆☆☆ “Un Encuentro.”
★☆☆☆☆ “Las Hermanas.”
☆☆☆☆☆ “Duplicados.” [0.5]
☆☆☆☆☆ “A Mayor Gracia de Dios.”
☆☆☆☆☆ “Efemérides en el comité.”

Es dominio público, lo pueden encontrar ACA.

[1914] [207p] [Colección] [Altamente No Recomendable]
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews34 followers
August 17, 2021
Dubliners, James Joyce

In his stories, Joyce combines heterogeneous elements. Poetic mysticism is expressed in a naturalistic way.

They pay attention to sound and melody for illustration. In their works, they always use humor and irony and references to myths and holy books.

If the reader can grasp all these mysteries, he will be glad that he may not be able to read any other work.

Joyce is a language engineer before he became a writer.

Joyce's particular view of language, and the word, as the cells that make up the body of the story, is so profound and original that critics are still struggling to uncover the vague layers of his stories.

The sections are hidden side by side in new words, invented by Joyce himself. There are two completely different opinions about Joyce.

Some consider him a complex lunatic. That his conflict with language has led him astray, and others who say he has unparalleled talent, which is beyond human comprehension today.

Joyce's innovation in language is unbelievable. Not only do they bring to life the ancient words of their language; They also make words in their works. Sometimes, words with more than a hundred letters, or a combination of several words, that make up a word, show a multiple sense.

Multi-layered words that tell and convey several secrets. According to Joyce, the world is in bad shape.

In which lowly joys and poverty and depravity threaten human life.

The book embraces and embraces a collection of fifteen short stories, including issues such as Irish history; Human beings; Death; Love; Life; Fear and ...; Have written.

Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.

The stories:

The Sisters – After the priest Father Flynn dies, a young boy who was close to him and his family deals with his death superficially.

An Encounter – Two schoolboys playing truant encounter a middle-aged man.

Araby – A boy falls in love with the sister of his friend, but fails in his quest to buy her a worthy gift from the Araby bazaar.

Eveline – A young woman weighs her decision to flee Ireland with a sailor.

After the Race – College student Jimmy Doyle tries to fit in with his wealthy friends.

Two Gallants – Two con men, Lenehan and Corley, find a maid who is willing to steal from her employer.

The Boarding House – Mrs Mooney successfully manoeuvres her daughter Polly into an upwardly mobile marriage with her lodger Mr Doran.

A Little Cloud – Little Chandler's dinner with his old friend Ignatius Gallaher casts fresh light on his own failed literary dreams. The story also reflects on Chandler's mood upon realising that his baby son has replaced him as the centre of his wife's affections.

Counterparts – Farrington, a lumbering alcoholic scrivener, takes out his frustration in pubs and on his son Tom.

Clay – The old maid Maria, a laundress, celebrates Halloween with her former foster child Joe Donnelly and his family.

A Painful Case – Mr Duffy rebuffs Mrs Sinico, then, four years later, realises that he has condemned her to loneliness and death.

Ivy Day in the Committee Room – Minor politicians fail to live up to the memory of Charles Stewart Parnell.

A Mother – Mrs Kearney tries to win a place of pride for her daughter, Kathleen, in the Irish cultural movement, by starring her in a series of concerts, but ultimately fails.

Grace – After Mr Kernan injures himself falling down the stairs in a bar, his friends try to reform him through Catholicism.

The Dead – Gabriel Conroy attends a party, and later, as he speaks with his wife, has an epiphany about the nature of life and death. At 15–16,000 words this story has also been classified as a novella. The Dead was adapted into a film by John Huston, written for the screen by his son Tony and starring his daughter Anjelica as Mrs. Conroy.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «دوبلینیها»؛ «مردگان»؛ «دوبلینی ها و نقد دوبلینی ها»؛ نویسنده: جیمز جویس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پانزدهم اکتبر سال 1984میلادی

عنوان: دوبلینی ها؛ نویسنده: جیمز جویس؛ مترجم: پرویز داریوش؛ تهران، اشرفی، 1346؛ در 227ص؛ چاپ دیگر: انتشارات آبان؛ 1362؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، اساطیر، 1371؛ در 214ص؛ شابک: 9643312410؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان ایرلند - سده 20م

مترجم: محمدعلی صفریان، تهران، نیلوفر، چاپ نخست 1372، در 300ص و 143ص؛ چاپ دوم 1378؛ چاپ سوم، 1383؛ چاپ پنجم 1388؛ شابک 9789644481024؛ دوبلینی ها ص 1، تا ص 300، ترجمه صفریان، و ص 1، تا ص 143، آینه ای در راه، مقالاتی در نقد دوبلینیها با ترجمه صالح حسینی

مترجم: صالح حسینی، تهران، نیلوفر، چاپ نخست 1389، در 453ص؛ شابک 9789644484681؛

مترجم: سولماز واحدی کیا؛ تهران، کوله پشتی؛ 1389؛ در 200ص؛ شابک 9786005337976؛

با عنوان: مردگان؛ مترجم: علیرضا متین نیا؛ مشهد، سخن گستر؛ 1389؛ در 228ص؛ شابک 9789644778551؛

مترجم: امیر علیجانپور؛ تهران، آوای مکتوب؛ 1394؛ در 232ص؛ شابک 9786007364208؛

گویا همین پانزده داستان کوتاه را با عنوان: «بهترین داستانهای کوتاه جیمز جویس»؛ با ترجمه جناب «احمد گلشیری» انتشارات نگاه در سال 1388؛ در402ص منتشر کرده است

جویس در داستانهایش، عناصر ناهمگون را باهم درمی‌آمیزند؛ عرفان شاعرانه را، با شیوه ی ناتورالیستی، بیان میکنند، برای تصویرپردازی به صدا و آهنگ صدا، توجه دارند؛ در آثارشان، هماره، از طنز و کنایه و اشاره به اساطیر، و کتاب‌های مقدس، سود می‌برند؛ خوانشگر اگر بتواند این همه رمز و کنایه را دریابد، به لذتی می‌رسد، که شاید از خوانش هیچ اثر دیگری نتواند؛ «جویس» پیش از آنکه نویسنده باشند، یک مهندس زبان هستند؛ نگاه ویژه‌ ی «جویس» به زبان، و واژه، به عنوان سلول‌های تشکیل‌ دهنده‌ ی بدنه‌ ی داستان، چنان ژرف و بدیع است، که هنوز منتقدان، درگیر کشف لایه‌ های مبهم داستان‌های ایشان هستند؛ بخش‌هایی که در لا‌ به‌ لای کلماتی نو، که خود «جویس» اختراع کرده اند، پنهانند؛ در باره «جویس»، دو نظر کاملاً مخالف وجود دارد؛ عده‌ ای او را، دیوانه‌ ی مغلق‌ گو می‌دانند، که درگیری‌ اش با زبان، او را به بیراهه کشانده، و دیگرانی که میگویند؛ ایشان استعدادی بی‌نظیر دارند، که از درک انسان امروز فراتر است؛ نوآوری «جویس» در زبان، ناباورانه است؛ ایشان نه تنها واژه‌ های کهن زبان خویش را زنده می‌کنند؛ بلکه در آثارشان واژه‌ سازی نیز می‌کنند؛ گاه، واژگانی با بیش از صد حرف، و یا ترکیبی از چندین کلمه، که یک کلمه را تشکیل می‌دهد، تا حسی چندگانه را نشان دهد؛ واژه‌ گانی چند لایه که چندین راز را باز میگویند و می‌رسانند؛ به باور «جویس» دنیا بد مخمصه‌ ای ‌است، که در آن شادی‌های حقیر و فقر و رذالت، زندگی انسانها را تهدید می‌کند؛ کتاب مجموعه ای از پانزده داستان کوتاه را، در بر و در آغوش خویش گرفته، که در آنها به مسایلی نظیر: تا��یخ ایرلند؛ انسانها؛ مرگ؛ عشق؛ زندگی؛ ترس و... می‌پردازند

بیشتر شخصیت‌های داستان‌های این مجموعه، دوباره در کتاب «اولیس» فرا خوانده می‌شوند؛ داستان از نثر بسیار قدرتمندی برخوردار است، و جزو شاهکارهای ادبی به شمار است؛ مجموعه داستان یک سیر ادبی را از ابتدا تا انتها در بر می‌گیرد که به داستان بلند «مردگان» ختم می‌شود؛

اسامی داستان‌های کوتاه:
خواهرها: کشیش «فلین» می‌میرد و پسر جوان که همراه با خانواده‌ اش برای مراسم ختم او آمده‌ اند یاد خاطرات و کارهای کشیش می‌افتد...؛

برخورد: یک بچه از مدرسه بیرون می‌رود...؛

عربی: پسری عاشق دختری در محله‌ شان می‌شود، او به بازار «عربی» می‌رود تا برای دختر هدیه‌ ای بخرد...؛

اولین: دختری خانواده‌ اش را ترک می‌کند تا همراه با ملوانی برود...؛


پس از مسابقه: مردی با دوست و همدرسه‌ ای قدیمی خود روبرو می‌شود...؛

دو زن‌ نواز: دو مرد زنی را دنبال می‌کنند تا با او طرح دوستی بریزند...؛

ابری کوچک: مردی همراه با دوست قدیمی‌ اش مشغول خوردن ناهار است و به یاد آرزوهایی که داشته میافتد

یک روز در ستاد انتخابات: کارکنان یک ستاد انتخاباتی دور هم گرد آمده‌ اند و از پارنل یکی از رهبران مبارزات ایرلند یاد می‌کنند...؛



یک حادثهٔ دردناک؛


تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 06/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 25/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,101 reviews7,201 followers
August 11, 2023
Dubliners is a collection of short stories published in 1914. The concluding story is The Dead, which the blurb on GR cites as “the best short story ever written.”

We are told in a brief introduction that Joyce was a pioneer in popularizing the structure of the modern short story as focused on “a fleeting but decisive episode.” Elsewhere I’ve read of the focus of the modern short story described as 'the moment.'


So, is The Dead the greatest short story ever written? I’ll add my two cents: I first read it 50 years ago in college. I’ve always remembered it as if I read it yesterday. How many of the hundreds of short stories I have read since then can I say that about?

Many of the stories are very short - only four or five pages. Here are a few samples:

In The Sisters, their brother, a priest, dies at home. Was it because he broke a chalice during mass shortly before his death?

In An Encounter, two boys play hooky from school and encounter a strange man. His conversation is such that it seems he might be a molester.

In Araby, a young boy lives in a house in which a priest died a short time ago. The young boy is frustrated in trying to buy a present at a bazaar for his puppy love.

In Eveline, a young woman debates leaving her father and running off to Buenos Aires with her lover.


In Two Gallants, a young man waits to see the result of his best friend’s visit to a young woman they assume is a prostitute.

In A Little Cloud, a man is jealous of his friend’s success in London. He determines that you have to 'go away' for success. He feels trapped in Ireland by his wife and baby.

In A Painful Case, a man frequently visits a married woman and her daughter at home. The husband thinks he’s visiting because he’s interested in the daughter. He’s not.


Some of the stories are modern in outlook, bringing up issues of feminism and racism. The Dead touches on both issues during conversation around the Christmas table. An elderly aunt is furious about boys getting preference over girls in a choir. A man around the table raises the issue of no one appreciating a great tenor. “Is it because he’s only a black?”

The story, A Mother, focuses on a dispute over a payment for her daughter singing in a choir. “They wouldn’t have dared to have treated her like that if she had been a man.”


Top photo: Grafton Street, Dublin, early 1900s from vintag.es
A still from a movie made of The Dead, (Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann) from irishcentral.com
Postcard of Dublin in the 1920s from monksbarn.wordpress.com
The author from theculturetrip.com

[Pictures added 11/15/2021; edited 8/11/23]
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book936 followers
October 5, 2021
In The Dead, the last story in this collection, Gabriel Conroy recounts an anecdote about his grandfather and his horse, Johnny, who used to walk in circles to drive the grinding stone in a mill. One day, the grandfather harnessed the horse and took him out to a military review. But Johnny, disoriented as he passed by a statue of William III, started circling the monument stubbornly as if he were back at the mill. This little tale within a tale encapsulates perfectly the spirit and essence of Joyce’s Dubliners.

At first glance, Joyce’s stories could be read as a series of naturalistic vignettes, “slices of life” depicting the insignificant day-to-day misfortunes of a few random Irish characters at the turn of the 20th century. Children playing in the street, young girls playing the piano, working men getting drunk and mouthing off at the pub… In a way, that is indeed what Dubliners is about: the shabby neighbourhoods, the outdated manière d’être, the constricted lives, the frustrated yearnings and the spiritual bleakness of those times. Dubliners is also a twin of A Portrait of the Artist, where Joyce focuses on minor characters rather than on Stephen Dedalus.

Of course, there is more to these tales than meets the eye. Firstly, most of these trivial stories hark back to deeper cultural, even archetypal models: the Arthurian quest (Araby), or the voyage from Hell to Heaven (Grace) – Johnny, the horse, as an eternal and hopeless Sisyphus, etc. Secondly, Joyce also infuses these tales with the political arguments of his time: the debates around Irish identity, Protestantism and the influence of the Catholic Church, the unionist and the separatist movements (still topical today), and the general opinion that Ireland was being strangled by the crown of England – again, old Johnny going round and round at the foot of King Billy.

Further still, the overarching structure of these tales takes the reader through the different stages of life, like a disjointed Bildungsroman. Childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age and death. Indeed, the motif of death frames the entire collection, from the remains of Father Flynn at the very beginning, to the distant loss of Michael Furey at the end, and the eternal snow falling over an ever-darkening universe. This recurring theme makes Dubliners, at the core, a sort of literary vanitas, and the fifteen stories, taken as a whole, reveal a poignant picture of the transience of life and the circularity of time.

John Huston’s last film, an adaptation of The Dead, is an underrated and heart-breaking masterpiece that captures exactly the nostalgic atmosphere of Joyce’s novella.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
June 14, 2017
Was James Joyce the greatest English language writer in modern times?

I don’t know, maybe, but Dubliners helps to make his case.

Brilliant in it’s subtle, realistic way.

Fifteen stories that paint a portrait of Dublin at the turn of last century. "The Dead" is the final story and the most poignant and powerful but several stand out as exceptional, and they are all good.

“Counterparts” is a disturbing close up look at the old drunken Irish family stereotype that fails to be humorous. “A Mother” though epitomizes the stereotype of a blusterous, stubborn as a mule Irish mother. And about those Irish stereotype? Might they have been given voice by Joyce through Dubliners?

A highly influential work from a respected, inspiring author - this is great reading.

Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,465 reviews3,630 followers
August 11, 2023
Childhood… Old age… Ages in between… Coming of age… Dying…
“Oh, quite peacefully, ma’am, said Eliza. You couldn’t tell when the breath went out of him. He had a beautiful death, God be praised.”

The first amorous admiration from afar…
I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.

Dubliners is an opulent gallery of colourful personages and kaleidoscopic images… Truant schoolboys encounter an erudite vagabond… A young girl afraid of changes destroys her future happiness… Motorcar races… A penniless beau begging for money… A boarding house proprietress catching a husband for her seduced daughter… A reunion of two old friends who become just strangers now…
The adventure of meeting Gallaher after eight years, of finding himself with Gallaher in Corless’s surrounded by lights and noise, of listening to Gallaher’s stories and of sharing for a brief space Gallaher’s vagrant and triumphant life, upset the equipoise of his sensitive nature. He felt acutely the contrast between his own life and his friend’s, and it seemed to him unjust.

A rogue of an incompetent petty clerk whose only pleasure is drinking… A timorous service girl’s day off… A lonely man frightened of any human relationship… Empty talks and idle drinking… A despotic mother’s foolish behaviour… Drunkenness and piety… The Christmas celebration as a culmination of the year…
A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham, stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a round of spiced beef.

Celebrations end… Life continues…
Infants are born… The aged die… And traditions are kept from generation to generation.
Profile Image for Garima.
113 reviews1,788 followers
October 4, 2014

Before embarking towards my maiden Joyce read, I prepared myself to pour in as much effort required on my part to understand Dubliners. I didn’t assume them to be incomprehensible or distant, but an anxiety akin to meeting a known stranger for the first time was definitely present. The said anxiety shortly materialized into a much-awaited prospect after reading the opening story and finally transformed into a confident and gentle companion who led me through the sepia streets of an unassuming city. Dublin, as I soon realized, was just around the corner.

I had hardly any patience with the serious work of life which, now that it stood between me and my desire, seemed to me child’s play, ugly monotonous child’s play.

Calmly engaged within the secure air of its daily affairs, the people of Dublin were also ostensibly calm and secure and yet a moment reflection about a dormant or potential life managed to extract stories which were snuggled in simple form and simpler titles but traced intricate and at times, unheeded emotions. An aimless walk concluded in cheap happiness and an embarrassing accident convinced someone to search for an elusive redemption. A death unveiled the value of oblivious living while a motherly conduct was driven by frustrations and misplaced ambitions. Most of these characters were representative, not whole but of a remarkable fragment of lives that we either experience ourselves or witness in others during the time we live.

She sat amid the chilly circle of her accomplishments, waiting for some suitor to brave it and offer her a brilliant life.

A perpetual struggle for attention between past and present was an integral part of these stories sans any violent clashes. Some of them appeared as if being viewed from a neighbor’s window and some welcomed me through a cordial door and took their time to introduce every element of the household. I admired how well the majority of people were coping with the consequences of their choices and how easily they found humor in the ironies of life. And I quailed on seeing the suffocation of the negligible minority on being caught in the web of their inhibitions. I understood that even after getting a crystal clear view of their circumstances from a vantage point, they still refused to adopt a different course, to sail away to a different country, to a dreamy world.

It was hard work – a hard life – but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life.

With every subsequent narration, I imagined Joyce to be in deep contemplation about everything and everyone around him. I imagined him to carefully select an appropriate frame for his various thoughts and placing each one of them at their desirous place. I imagined how he must have wanted to capture an epiphanic moment among the melancholic tune of Irish songs, when he wanted to paint a picture with decided title but undecided colors; or when he simply wished to write about the approachable beauty of that girl on other side of the pavement. I imagined his joy for the love and pain at the criticism for his native place. I was left in awe of the virtuosity of this young man and the several portraits he created with his words.

He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in the past tense.

And when I reached the end, I simply wished to possess a literary talent like this for a very short time to write a story of my own and discreetly slip it into this collection. Dublin and Dubliners felt that close to me.

Profile Image for Adina .
891 reviews3,543 followers
November 29, 2017
Another book from my project (quite successful until now) to read more classics. When I was in college and Uni I was all about contemporary literature (Marquez, Reverte, Murakami) and I missed many of the "must read" authors. I am trying to redeem myself now.

I chose the Dubliners because I knew I would never have the will and patience to finish Ulysses. I have to admit that although I understand the value of the volume and its structure, I did not like it. It bore me terribly. I fell asleep while reading many times and it was a struggle to follow the stories. Some stories were really good but the majority were just boring. I also read a couple of analysis for the stories which were far more interesting than the stories themselves.
Profile Image for Guille.
785 reviews1,747 followers
August 25, 2022

Como no se me ocurre nada que decirles que esté mínimamente a la altura de la obra, y aunque esto no sea algo que me haya frenado nunca, he decidido que lo mejor será transcribir aquí el prólogo de Vargas Llosa de casi diez páginas que acompaña a mi edición (para facilitar su lectura, me he permitido eliminar las partes pedantes, incomprensibles, exageradas, erradas y, claro está, todo aquello que he juzgado superfluo):
«bla, bla, bla… La abrumadora importancia de Ulises y de Finnegans Wake, experimentos literarios que revolucionaron la narrativa moderna, hace olvidar a veces que aquel libro de cuentos, de hechura más tradicional y tributario, en apariencia al menos, de un realismo naturalista que ya para la fecha en que fue publicado (1914) era algo arcaico, no es un libro menor, de aprendizaje, sino la primera obra maestra que Joyce escribió… bla bla bla»

P.S. Naturalmente, esto no es más que una torpe broma, el prólogo de Llosa, también recogido en su libro “La verdad de las mentiras”, está realmente bien.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,946 reviews610 followers
April 17, 2023
James Joyce is best known for his obscure Ulysses and Finnegans Wake and is also the author of this collection of short stories interested in Dubliners. It would not be easy to speak of enhancement since Joyce does not idealize his compatriots. In rich and neat language, Joyce describes the Irish capital at the beginning of the 20th century through stories plunging into a rampant bourgeois daily life.
From schoolchildren who left to skip school to supporters of Charles Parnell, the hero of independence, Joyce is more attached to the inhabitants than the city itself. The author describes the frustrations of social conventions that are impossible to eliminate: the lost loves and the desires for elsewhere—a genuine literary photograph of the city.
Profile Image for Kalliope.
691 reviews22 followers
February 16, 2016


This is a collection of short stories. Or are they one single long story? “A Portrait of the City as an Old and Stultifying Enclave.”?

This story fashions a kaleidoscopic vision of Dublin in the early 1900s. This is a city enclosed in a gray cylinder that a hand turns periodically and new scenes are conjured up for the contemplation of a single (male) eye. The same components reappear, falling in different places playing different relationships with each other; some others disappear forever or stay hidden in the corners to may be reappear again after all. One cannot know how the elements will place themselves on the next turn.

Rich collection of elements: youth and adulthood – money matters – trapping marriages – trapping love – ill-conceived duties – Mary – temptations for youth – the ghost of England – the public house – chattered dreams – Jesuits – alcohol – nationalism – unfeminine women – dreams of change – school ploys – Death – Parnell – liberating escape – topographical anchorage of the streets of Dublin.

Another turn. And there is Dublin again.

And each time we recognize the narrow spaces, the sombre, the dreary, the faded, the routine, and the bleak prospects.

The drabness of many of these hovering elements is however transformed by a play of incantation. The desolation is perplexingly denatured into elegance and the stark absence of sentimentality blooms because what it renders is so very genuine. There is a magic wand in the form of a pen of wizardry that by the clothing with words, precisely chosen words, carefully written words, encapsulates the dreariness and creates tales that captivate and enchant us.

And may be there is also an additional light in this kaleidoscope that makes these sorry elements shine through those inner reflecting mirrors.

The humour of a sparkling and luminous mind.



(*) Citiscape. Rachel Simonson, US.

(**) Anthropocene. David Thomas Smith, Ireland.
Profile Image for JimZ.
1,062 reviews496 followers
October 6, 2020
I was put off by reading James Joyce because I was scared of reading him — that I wouldn’t understand a damn thing he said although I knew he was a brilliant writer…one for the ages. I think it was ‘Ulysses’ that scared me off, and I made a massive generalization (if I don’t understand that book, I won’t understand anything by Joyce). My mistake.

I remember a Goodreads friend recommended I read it, because I think I or they had read a short story collection (whose author escapes me right now), and they said there was some similarity of ‘Dubliners’ to the short story collection we were discussing. So, I procured a copy and was blown away. My copy was an issue by Oxford World’s Classics. There were oodles of footnotes to each story near the back of the book, and after I read a short story I would then go the back of the book and read the footnotes (not every footnote but a large number of them). I learned a lot via the footnotes, and found them to be very interesting.

There were 15 stories, and as I read, I took notes and rated each story — I’ll just list the ratings next to the stories (average is 3.8 stars but add in the Introduction, an alternative translation of ‘Sisters’, and the footnotes and it adds up to 5 by my reckoning. 😊 ).
• Sisters: 4 stars
• An Encounter: 3.5 stars
• Araby: 4 stars
• Eveline: 4.5 stars
• After the Race: 2 stars
• Two Gallants: 3 stars
• The Boarding House: 5 stars
• A Little Cloud: 4 stars
• Counterparts: 4.5 stars
• Clay: 3.5 stars
• A Painful Case: 5 stars
• Ivy Day in the Committee Room: 2 stars
• A Mother: 3.5 stars
• Grace: 4 stars
• The Dead: 5 stars

That last story ‘The Dead’ has to be one of the best short stories I have read in a long time. So much to pack in it (it was about 40 pages long). The last page in which the husband Gabriel is thinking about the young man who once loved his wife, and she him, before Gabriel came onto the scene was just … so sad, so beautifully written. What a wonderful way to end the short story collection… “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.”

I learned where “beyond the pale” came from. Up until today, I was clueless.
• ‘The pale’ was the name given in the 14th century to that part of Ireland over which England exercised jurisdiction before the whole was conquered; centered on Dublin, it varied in extent at different times from the reign of Henry II until full conquest under Elizabeth I’ in ‘in the pale’, ‘pale’ connotes ‘civilization’ or ‘civilized behavior’; here, it means specifically ‘conceding in his behavior the authority of the Church’ and ironically inverts the historical meaning where the ‘wild’ Irish Catholic native population existed ‘beyond the pale’; they now, of course, figuratively represent ‘the pale’ itself (referred to in ‘Grace’).

I didn’t know in Catholicism that The Immaculate Conception (mother of Jesus having conceived although a virgin), though a generally held belief from the time of the Middle Ages, did not become dogma until 1854 (from ‘Grace’).

There was one part of a short story I found to be quite humorous (‘The Dead’): several Catholics are conversing with a Protestant. Mr. Browne, about monks who put people up who visit them at the monastery and do not charge room and board, and the kind of ascetic lifestyle the monks live:
He was astonished to hear that the monks never spoke, got up at two in the morning and slept in their coffins. He asked what they did it for.
— “That’s the rule of the order,” said Aunt Katie firmly.
— “Yes, but why?” asked Mr. Browne.
— Aunt Katie repeated that it was the rule, that was all. Mr. Browne still seemed not to understand. Freddy Malins explained to him, as best he could, that the monks were trying to make up for the sins committed by all the sinners in the outside world, The explanation was not very clear for Mr. Browne grinned and said:
— “I like that idea very much but wouldn’t a comfortable spring bed do them as well as a coffin?”

One final observation from me and then I’ll shut my piehole. There were a number of stories in which people were alcoholic, or were drunk, or their family wished they would stay abstinent. In the majority of cases the alcoholism centered on male characters. (The cover illustration shows a man at a pub with a beer mug in his hand (‘Porter at the Fair’ by Jack B. Yeats, 1910).
Profile Image for Duane.
828 reviews431 followers
January 2, 2018
James Joyce once said; "If Dublin suddenly disappeared from the Earth it could be reconstructed out of my book Ulysses". I have never been to Dublin so I have no idea what it's like today, but through Joyce's writings I have a sense of what it was like in the early 20th century. It’s not so much that he describes the physical city, but his descriptions of its establishments, its social and political atmosphere, and especially its people, is so detailed and complete that the physical picture just "pops up", like in one of those children's pop up books. It is so in Ulysses and it certainly is true in this book, Dubliners.

Dubliners, this collection of 15 short stories, was published in 1914, two years before A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and eight years before Ulysses. These stories lay the groundwork for his later novels, a primer, if you will. I think it's good advice to anyone just starting on James Joyce works, to start with Dubliners. Like all short story collections some are better than others, but they are all good, all consistent, and they never stray from Joyce's verbal painting of his beloved Dublin.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,127 followers
February 22, 2021
"Irlanda es un gran país. Lo llaman la Isla Esmeralda. Después de siglos de estrangulamiento, el gobierno metropolitano la ha dejado desierta y es ahora un campo de barbecho. El gobierno sembró hambre, sífilis, superstición y alcoholismo: puritanos, jesuitas y reaccionarios crecen ahora." James Joyce

Cuando uno recorre la lista de los más grandes escritores que dio la literatura y pone especial atención en aquellos que amaron en el real sentido de la palabra a su tierra natal, la cantidad de autores se acorta notablemente.
Además de los aedos griegos, que le escribían a su terruño en forma inevitable descubriremos que ciertos autores tuvieron el concepto de pertenencia muy claro.
Muchos escritores sintieron una especialísima afición por su país: García Márquez por Colombia, Balzac, Hugo y Flaubert por Francia, Hawthorne y su naturaleza americana por nombrar algunos.
Pero cuando se habla de amor por una ciudad, pocos, muy pocos son los que rescatamos. Creo que junto a Fiódor Dostoievski, un apasionado de su querida San Petersburgo y a Julio Cortázar, desdoblado entre la urbanidad de Buenos Aires y la cosmopolita París, sólo James Joyce es un devoto y fiel amante de su ciudad natal, Dublín, una de las principales ciudades de Irlanda junto a Belfast y Kilkenny.
Los quince cuentos y relatos de “Dublineses” se impregnan de esa mística irlandesa en sus calles, su gente y edificios. Nuevamente recuerdo a Julio Cortázar porque creo que estos dos autores supieron ahondar profundamente en la idiosincrasia de sus ciudades logrando mostrarnos con firmes pinceladas cómo era la naturaleza real de sus habitantes y de esos submundos descriptos en bares, oficinas, casas, parques, calles, ciudades, muelles y plazas.
Joyce retrata en cada cuento la frustración y la soledad de muchos dublineses. La gran mayoría de ellos son simples oficinistas, mucamas, señoras mayores, alcohólicos, políticos de poca monta, jóvenes desempleados. Joyce quiso retratar la “parálisis” dublinesa. Los relatos como vienen se van, algunos de ellos quedan abiertos a las múltiples interpretaciones de los lectores y siempre nos dejan un sabor agridulce.
La muerte sobrevuela omnipresente y poderosa en muchos de estos cuentos y el desasosiego se instala en los personajes. En la mayoría de estos cuentos los intentos de estos son fútiles, no alcanzan para cubrir sus necesidades, anhelos o esperanzas. No encontraremos aquí pasajes divertidos. Tal vez alguna anécdota cuasi graciosa, pero el ambiente de los cuentos es el de un leve flotar de almas en suspenso.
De todos los cuentos y además de “Los Muertos”, del cual ya hice la reseña correspondiente, los que más me gustaron fueron “Eveline”, “Copias” y “Un caso doloroso”. Son tres cuentos profundos, escritos con suma fineza y bellísima precisión literaria y creo además que el trato que Joyce le da al contexto psicológico de los personajes es realmente maravilloso.
Releer “Dublineses” reafirma mi profunda devoción por Joyce, un genial escritor del que supe vencer el “miedo literario” a la hora de afrontar su obra más difícil como lo fue el “Ulises” y como será en breve leer su “Finnegan’s Wake”.
Mientras tanto, la lectura de este libro, “Los Muertos” y “Retrato del artista adolescente”, que constituyen la parte más accesible de su obra definen lo que escribí previamente: que cada día quiero más a James Joyce.
Profile Image for Alan.
471 reviews214 followers
July 2, 2021
My first Joyce. The right choice. A collection of stories that some may describe as beautiful, others as boring, maybe even brilliant, but that I want to describe as “apt”. Dublin is richer, I am sure, due to the fact that it has Dubliners to represent it. From the first story, The Sisters, to the last, The Dead, each story is apt – it is perfectly appropriate, perfectly suitable and fitting for the occasion which it describes. Not a word is out of place. No character does or says anything that is alarming. There are many pieces of praise and criticism that are widely available, all concerning themselves with the careful dissection of this collection, down to a word-by-word level. Lots of these pieces mention the 4-way split in overarching themes for these stories: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. With these 4 pieces, you dive into Dublin, seeing the interaction of trials and tribulations across a variety of ages. Class, caste, gender, societal issues, all apparent in a manner that does not take away from the main point of any story.

With Dubliners, I got a little bit of everything. Some stories were interesting to witness from a third-party perspective (I wonder if saying that is arbitrary, seeing as most stories are experienced as such). For instance, An Encounter, where two boys skip out on school for a day, seeing what life brings them. They come across a strange, weird, shady character… an older gentleman that is weirdly obsessed with “beating” little boys. Yeah… I got as creeped out as the main character of this story. Some of the tales were boring. Ivy Day in the Committee Room, a story about a collection of people canvassing in preparation for the mayoral elections, had lots of elements about Irish nationalism and independence. I am sure it would have meant much more to someone for whom these issues are a matter of pride and blood. Where this collection was at its strongest, however, was when it was conveying the pathos of everyday life – this is a phenomenon that is similar across nations, time, and class structure. Counterparts, a story that brings to a sharp focus the problem(s) of alcoholism, does much more than just present a set of stereotypes about the Irish. It characterizes the ailment in a person, Farrington, who is not going about life willy-nilly. He is trying, he really is. You find yourself caring for his life, holding a moment of silence for his troubles, and accepting his massive flaws as a human. A Painful Case, a story that shows the depth of loneliness, the abyss that becomes a leech to certain people’s personalities, as they become increasingly unable to shake off the narcissism surrounding solitude in favour of a genuine human connection. And finally, who can read Dubliners without commenting on The Dead? The climax of the collection, a story that highlights the relativity of all of our lesser or greater concerns in relation to mortality. If you read nothing else but one story from this book, let it be this.

I have learned more about Dublin and the Irish with this one book than I may ever have done. Any city would be lucky to have such a candid encyclopedia to its name.
Profile Image for Kevin Kuhn.
Author 2 books585 followers
June 4, 2021
This is my first reading of Joyce’s “Dubliners.” I know, shocking, everyone else read it in high school or collegiate undergraduate literature courses and were forced to author papers on Joyce’s themes and symbolism. I read it for pleasure and for background on a project I’m working on. It’s considered one of Joyce’s more accessible works, certainly when compared with “Ulysses” which has a reputation for everyone claiming to have read it, but no one actually does. Anyways, I did find it readable, even with it being over a hundred years old and full of references to cultural and colloquial phrases which are beyond me. Anyway, I’ll try my hand at a short analysis of this collection of fifteen short stories.

The first thing that strikes me is how pedestrian and mundane the characters and even the plots of these tales are. This is the dreary, everyday life of Dublin commoners. It’s also largely filled with horrible people – thieves, drunks, and abusers to name a few. Most of the tales either end tragically (e.g., suicide) or at best – an unresolved melancholy stalemate. As I was reading it, I wasn’t sure if Joyce was going for a realistic expose of Dublin (sort of a 107-year-old version of a modern reality show) or something else. But when you step back and look at the whole of the book, it shows a stunted Dublin filled with people going nowhere and unable to break out of their gloomy routines and lives. And knowing a little of the history of Ireland, it makes me wonder if this was a delicate cut on the impact of English colonialism and maybe even to a lesser extent the restraints of the Catholic Church. About the only positive you’ll take away from 1914 Dublin is the pride in Irish hospitality.

Still, despite the dismal subject matter, Joyce writes with beauty. His ability to rapidly create complex characters with realistic needs and desires is extraordinary. He describes everyday life, but with such a fine blend of place, dialog, and narration, it feels all too real. Character’s display little notions, quirks, and thoughts that feel authentic, like Joyce is reporting on what’s going on around him, but able to jump in everyone’s head. The last story is particularly beautifully told, about an annual dance, that spins characters and motivations and songs, food, and drink until you’re dizzy. The prose is lush and vivid, but still with the same underlying sadness and cold themes. Although I probably don’t have the proper context of 1914 Ireland and Joyce’s intentions, I was still able to appreciate this impressive classic.
Profile Image for Mark André .
117 reviews249 followers
December 27, 2019
As powerful a commitment to the form to be found in English. The original fourteen stories should be read as a set piece: as they portray the evolution of thought from childhood to adulthood: from dogmatic belief to reasoned denial. The Dead should be viewed separately. Five-stars!
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,217 reviews9,910 followers
November 25, 2018
For anyone thinking of putting James Joyce on your “must read this year” list for 2019 here are my suggestions.


1. Dubliners

Brilliantly atmospheric scraps of Irish miserablism – must read to get where JJ is coming from.

2. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Strangely – tiresome and inessential. Bangs on about religion and more Irish miserablism and a bit too much like a portrait of the author as an insufferable young genius.

3. Ulysses

The essential book out of all of these. Difficult but also very funny and not impossible. FWIW my short bluffer’s guide to this truly astonishing book is here


and my long review of it (chapter by chapter) is here


and here


(it’s very long)

4. Finnegans Wake

This is really not recommended. But this is – a 10 minute excerpt (“Anna Livia Plurabelle”) read by JJ himself


I had thought, this small part being so beautiful, that FW would be another masterpiece, but the rest of it isn’t one tenth as fascinating or linguistically lovely, and it will do your brain in. The only thing I’ve been able to do with FW is parody it, rather lamely


which was unnervingly easy to do once you get into the swing of it. The reader who can gain enjoyment on any level from the great mapless madhouse that is FW has my undying respect.


1. The Most Dangerous Book : The Battle For James Joyce’s Ulysses By Kevin Birmingham

By far the best book on JJ and Ulysses I ever read – you almost don’t need a real biography after this. It’s a total page turner. It’s not an analysis, it’s the story of how it was written and how it was published – long, painful and thrilling.

2. James Joyce : Richard Ellman

But if you do want a big biography, this is the one.

3. My Brother’s Keeper : Stanislaus Joyce

Or you could stick to this memoir by JJ’s faithful brother. It will make you love JJ (and Stanny) a lot more than most books will.

4. The New Bloomsday Book : Harry Blamires

I liked this not-too-scholarly voyage round & through & about Ulysses better than any other analysis/interpretation

5. The Finnegans Wake Experience : Roland McHugh

I only read one book about FW. It was this. It’s hilarious. Mr McHugh is a total obsessive with a screw loose & dedicated his whole waking being to reading FW correctly and then explaining how to read FW correctly. Elastic bands are an important part of the process as I recall. I think it was self published so might be hard to track down.

6. James Joyce’s Odyssey : Frank Delaney
7. James Joyce’s Dublin : Edward Quinn

These two are luxury items - gorgeous photo books full of black & white pix of dear dirty Dublin as it was and I don’t think is anymore. Not essential but just a delight.


1. Ulysses and Us : Declan Kiberd
2. Ulysses on the Liffey : Richard Ellman

These two do exactly the same thing – with their jawbreakin pontificatin somnambulatin ramblin they like to make you want to find the English Literature department in your nearest university and burn it down.

3. Ulysses Annotated : Don Gifford

Proving that the more you know the less you understand.


Cocklepickers. They waded a little way in the water and, stooping, soused their bags and, lifting them again, waded out. The dog yelped running to them, reared up and pawed them, dropping on all fours, again reared up at them with mute bearish fawning. Unheeded he kept by them as they came towards the drier sand, a rag of wolf’s tongue redpanting from his jaws. His speckled body ambled ahead of them and then loped off at a calf’s gallop. The carcass lay on his path. He stopped, sniffed, stalked round it, brother, nosing closer, went round it, sniffling rapidly like a dog all over the dead dog’s bedraggled fell. Dogskull, dogsniff, eyes on the ground, moves to one great goal. Ah, poor dogsbody! Here lies poor dogsbody’s body.
—Tatters! Out of that, you mongrel!

"How many roads must a man walk down...."

Sorry JJ, couldn't resist.
Profile Image for StefanP.
148 reviews79 followers
August 14, 2022

Zagledan naviše u tamu vidjeh sebe kao biće koje je taština zavela i narugala mu se; i moje oči planuše od muke i gnjeva.

Prvi susret sa Džojsom. Oko njega sam samo okolišao, osluškivao priče i nisam znao šta da očekujem. Neki ga na mnoga vrata hvale, drugi kažu da je sumoran, a treći govore da treba hronološki čitati njegova djela, jer jedna vuku druga, i hvata nit sa svakom sljedećom. Doduše pokušao sam Portret umjetnika u mladosti, i misaono nisam bio spremn za nju. Pa sam tako tražio preludijum za istu. Odlučih se za ove kratke priče, jer bih svaki dan po jednu priču pročitao te tako pokušao da držim kakav-takav fokus. I ova zbirka priča me je zaista dirnula, kad sam je završio, poželih još.

Umjetničke odlike ovih priča nisu samo po snazi već i po obuhvatnosti spremne da oslikaju sopstveni put, religijsko-konzervativni, sa primjesama piščevih afiniteta ogledanih u skrivenim poukama, u nerazjašnjenim i čudnovatim okolnostima. Svaki junak u priči je rastrzan nemirima, izgubljen u stvarima koje ga neprestano opkoljavaju, i kao takav grabi spas u nevidljivom. Džojsov senzibilitet je nesavremen, on hvata zalet za ono što krije ispod površine svog poetskog narativa. Svojim pričama Džojs kao da želi potonjim generacijama nešto da saopšti, da pomene i ukaže na trag predaka i tradicionalnog Dablina, sa svim svojim prednostima i manama. Džojs posvećuje svoje neumorno pregnuće ne bi li osokolio čitaoca ma koliko se nekada činilo da sve to provejava u nekim svojim unutrašnjim jazbinama.
Profile Image for Francesc.
459 reviews222 followers
August 23, 2020
Esta novela es pura poesía. La narración de un episodio ordinario escrita de manera extraordinaria.
Parece imposible escribir algo tan bueno de algo tan cotidiano.
Si después se refuerza la lectura con la película de John Houston, se crea una alianza perfecta.

This novel is pure poetry. The narration of an ordinary episode written in an extraordinary way.
It seems impossible to write something so good about something so everyday.
If the reading is then reinforced with John Huston's film, a perfect alliance is created.
Profile Image for Rakhi Dalal.
212 reviews1,437 followers
October 30, 2013
Why do we wish to live this life; life, which at times seem to accompany the vague impressions we have long since been comfortable to carry along; the ideas, the choices, which have become a second nature to us. How many times do we stop and think about them? Particularly, as readers, as the ones who have been challenged, and hence in a way made aware by written word; how many times do we stop and think - life cannot always be a search, it cannot always be a constant exploration into unknown, a desperate call to something which is striven for, for the attainment of something decisive. Or is it? Perhaps. But what when the decisive is attained, is conquered? Where does one go from there? Surely, in search of something still unknown, still unconquered! But we forget to stop in between. Or we rather choose to ignore that which comes in between, because we are too afraid to stop. And that is life. I remember this very beautiful quote by Allan Saunders:

“Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”

We forget that sometimes, life is also the acceptance of that which is presented to us by mere chances, or more than that, by the long witnessed “usual”.

So, when I picked up Dubliners, while still continuing with The Rebel, I was at first annoyed because nothing seemed unusual or interesting there. But then, I just strove ahead because I had loved “A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” and so I wanted to give this a chance. Some more stories and I realized the simple idea with which these stories might have been penned. I realized that author might have wanted to portray life, as actually experienced and lived by the characters, who might in fact had been real people around him. People, who had lived a life, set by routine patterns and where nothing out of ordinary had ever happened. This realization made me sit straight and question myself. How many right ways can be there to live a life? One or two or more; Is it ours or theirs or still, somewhere between the two? I don’t even know if these are the right options. But what I do understand is that, either way it is life we are talking about. Life which is lived, both consciously and unconsciously, which may be different in living but which in the end culminates into the same. Oh, but by this I do not undermine one way or the other but simply wish to express the value of understanding both.

It was the last story of the collection i.e. “The Dead” which deeply touched and gave me more food for thought. It actually brought to eyes something unusual from the rest of the stories :) [] Gabriel, the protagonist of the story realized one day after a party that he didn’t know much about his wife Gretta, who seemed to have been in love with someone else all along. The story is not only about this awareness but also about love which gets shattered, even when the man in question has been long dead, and signifies the end of life as lived by Gabriel.

The story ends with snow falling:

“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.”

I do not doubt Joyce’s genius as a writer. After reading “Portrait” and few pages of “Ulysses”, this collection seemed just way too simplistic. But the thoughts it provoked after reading, is what makes it so readable.

Definitely recommended.

Profile Image for Agnieszka.
258 reviews932 followers
April 10, 2017

Was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin .

The stories that make up Dubliners open with death and death ends it as well. And somewhere in between there is a life. The first truancy, the first timid amorous sighs and all shades of greyness, whole stretches of the usual humdrum reality. People caught up in the daily routine, whom life was withheld.

The workers, petty crooks and freeloaders, seamstresses, scullery maids, servants, scriveners, salesmen, union activists - the whole cross-section of Irish middle and lower-middle class. Some of them crave for money, some for other places, some for love while others for another times. And the more they’re yearning the bigger is their disillusionment and discontent. Outcasts from life’s feast.

Boy from Araby , enamoured of friend’s sister wants to visit a charity bazaar and buy something for the girl to find finally the bazaar closed, hero of Counterparts having pawned his watch, wants only to drink himself up but ends up with empty pockets and does not even feel drunk or Chandler, hero of A little cloud who’s eagerly awaiting his old friend to find him only vulgar and patronizing. People unfulfilled, for whom an intemperance is something as inevitable as climate changes, who take out all their failures, pathetic fate and frustration on children and weaker than themselves. Who feel that if they want to achieve anything in life they have to leave this town behind, that in Dublin actually there is no life.

And so Joyce did. But no matter how much had he abandoned Dublin, after all he took this city with himself forever. He loved and hated it, became a bard of Dublin and its inhabitants, a great admirer but its stern critic at the same time. The same sentiments had he for his homeland, often in his works called Errorland .

The main theme of Dubliners that ties together all stories is the breakdown of all values, embodied in drunkenness, decadent debauchery, obscurantism of clergy, hypocrisy, intellectual primitivism of bourgeoisie, and finally paralysis of the Irish political scene after the death of Parnell.

Joyce, chronicler of Dublin, alternately realistic and nostalgic, depicts city of lost hopes and failing chances to end this collection with absolutely brilliant story The Dead in which Gabriel counts on some pleasant moments with his wife, while she’s yearning for her dead lover, and finally falling snow reconciles everything, covering equally the living and the dead.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.5k followers
January 16, 2020
“There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to succeed you had to go away. You could do nothing in Dublin”--Joyce

"Every night as I gazed up at the window I said softly to myself the word paralysis. It had always sounded strangely in my ears, like the word gnomon in the Euclid and the word simony in the Catechism. But now it sounded to me like the name of some maleficent and sinful being. It filled me with fear, and yet I longed to be nearer to it and to look upon its deadly work.”

Dubliners is, by reputation (among English professors and scholars, at least) one of the greatest collections of short stories ever produced. Of course, as they say, them’s fightin’ words, so have it your own way, but I vote with that crowd of high admirers, and always have, having read it or stories from it, many times. This is the first time I am hearing it read aloud, in the appropriately Irish voice of Connor Sheridan, that somehow captures the dry and at sometimes mournful wit the ex-patriate Joyce brings to this tribute to the Dubliners he left behind. Some have found it maudlin, even grim, primarily a critique of the people Joyce left behind, but I found it at turns gently satirical, sometimes melancholy, and always loving, portraits of a time and place, filled with local politics and religion and (especially) finely sketched characters, some stories focused on lost opportunities for love or leaving.

In 2000 Time Magazine listed the greatest novels of the twentieth century and listed the difficult English major Everest of Ulysses as the worthiest literary mountain to climb, #1, which prompted thousands of Americans who may never have read 100 novels to read the first three pages and promptly declare Joyce a boring and inscrutable idiot. Though I do think Ulysses is one of the greatest novels ever written, I don’t think it would be particularly enjoyable for the general population; nor do I think most people “should” read it. But Joyce is an amazing writer; he wrote four works of fiction, in increasing levels of difficulty and formal experimentalism. If you like short stories and want to try Joyce I would try Dubliners, the most recognizably traditional stories he wrote. If you like that, I might then try the somewhat more formally challenging A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. If you decide to go to graduate school, then consider Ulysses, sure, but only then, which owes something mock-epic to Homer’s Odyssey, and each chapter in a literary style of different periods/centuries. Finnegan’s Wake, which took him twenty years to write, almost no one reads, for good reason. It is so experimental most people can’t make heads or tails of a single paragraph. (No, I have not yet finished it, and probably never will).

Dubliners, published in 1914 (after nearly ten years of his trying to get it published!), is short, as story collections go. I have my favorites: “Eveline,” about a young shop girl conflicted about leaving her widowed father to live life with a sailor:

“He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.”

And “Araby,” about a shy young man’s fruitless pursuit of a young woman, dooming them both to loneliness.

“. . . and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.”

“Sometimes he caught himself listening to the sound of his own voice. He thought that in her eyes he would ascent to an angelical stature; and, as he attached the fervent nature of his companion more and more closely to him, he heard the strange impersonal voice which he recognised as his own, insisting on the soul's incurable loneliness. We cannot give ourselves, it said: we are our own.”

He’s ambitious for her, but at the same time, he sees himself clearly and sadly: “Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.”

Some of the deft observations of character in the writing are beautiful. Of one woman: “She respected her husband in the same way as she respected the General Post Office, as something large, secure and fixed: and though she knew the small number of his talents she appreciated his abstract value as a male.”

And about Mr. Duffy: “He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a verb in the past tense.”

The true gem of the collection may be the magnificent and mournful closing long story, “The Dead,” which features Gabriel, asked to give a short speech in honor of his aunts at a holiday party, who is disappointed not to “experience intimacy” with his wife Greta after the party, seeing her sadly draped on the bed. A song that was sung at the party reminded her of a time when she was seventeen when she had loved a boy, Michael Furey, who lost his life in the war. Gabriel is jealous of a love she sees Greta had for this boy, a love that he and Greta have perhaps never had themselves. And then, this reflection, using snow to punctuate Gabriel's sense of himself and maybe Joyce's view of Dublin:

“A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. 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.”

Proust wrote: "In reality, when he reads, each reader is actually the reader of his own self. The work of the writer is nothing more than a kind of optical instrument that the writer offers. It allows the reader to discern that which, without the book, he might not have been able to see in himself."

Do we not in our empathetic reading of Gabriel, see ourselves and reflect on our own lives?

Many characters in Dubliners experience the struggle about whether to stay or leave, or to just act passionately, facing a kind of paralysis that Joyce refers to in the opening story, “The Sisters”:

“I wanted real adventures to happen to myself. But real adventures, I reflected, do not happen to people who remain at home: they must be sought abroad.” One must act, one must move, one must engage with the world, one must break free from provincial beliefs.

Dubliners is a wonderful collection, short enough to read in a few hours. It’s full of self-reflection and "inwardness." Listen to it, read it. Some of the stories have been made into films, like John Huston’s The Dead.

Here’s the whole story “The Dead” for you to read. (You’re welcome):


Profile Image for د.سيد (نصر برشومي).
295 reviews514 followers
June 10, 2023
للمدن عشاق
وللبشر أشواق
ولكل لحظة علامة في الإدراك
وللجمال أوراق
وأنت تركت من نفسك أشباحا
تسري في خيالات ممتدة بلا نهاية
لكنها مغلقة
قراءة قصة قصيرة رحلة معرفية رائعة عميقة ثرية إذا كانت القصة لجيمس جويس
فن جويس في الكتابة ينطلق من استقراء تفاصيل موقف
لكن انتقاء التكوين الدرامي عملية دقيقة للغاية عند جويس
هذا التكوين بمجاله ومفرداته وتطوّر أحداثة القولية المتتابعة وظهور عناصره من خفاء الصمت المحايد المظلم لكهوف الكلام المنعكسة فيها مقاطع من
مساحات مادية غير منتظمة ورواسب من متخيّلات وهمية عير متجانسة ورغبات فضول فظ أخطبوطي التشكّل، هذا التكوين الخاص بجيمس جوي��
يقيم علاقة جدلية بين الظاهر والخفي، أو بين الحسيّات المتراصة بسكينة والمشاعر المكتومة التي لا تفصح عنها الشخصيات بخاصة الراوي
جويس يضع في الفضاء التشكيلي نقاطا ارتكازية لمنطلقات اكتساب المعرفة في العالم
ليلاحظها القارئ ويقف عند أسلوب القاص في فتح جرابه الفني ليستخرج منه ما يمكن توقعه وما لا يرد في ذهن المار داخل مضمار الكلمات
العالم صامت، أو الظاهرة لا تعلن عن نفسها
هناك الشخصيات التي تظن أنها تدرك وتعرف
وهناك الراوي الشاهد الذي يرى الجهل ويتجاهله
ويرى الضعف ويتجاوزه تاركا الأصوات تستبطن مرئيات غير واضحة في الذاكرة
رحلة الذات من المواضعة المسبقة إلى التجريب المغامر
ومن الحدس الغامض إلى أضواء العلم التي تظل شحيحة حتى في مطلع الحداثة
واحتفاظ بأنثربولوجيا المدن التي تكاد تختفي في متواليات الغبار التي يثيرها قطار يحمل التقاليد إلى متاحف العصور
ويلقي بالعقول في مراكب عابرة للأرصفة التي تتجدد فتمحو آثار العابرين
تقابل الأجيال، هذا التقابل وتلك المقابلة
لقاء فيه التعلم والرغبة في التحرر
محاولة الخروج من أسر المكان بتقاليده الراسخة
نهايات تولد منها بدايات وعي جديد
لأساليب سردية تعرف كيف تبني نفسها
وهي تستغرق في تحليل جيولوجيا ثقافية مثقلة بخبرات تقاوم الفناء
Profile Image for Ted.
515 reviews744 followers
May 20, 2017
review update – 5/15/17

The first twelve stories of Dubliners were submitted to a publisher in 1905, when Joyce was 22. They were accepted, but squeamishness on the publisher’s part kept delaying publication. Over the next three years Joyce submitted three additional stories. Finally he took the collection to a second publisher. Again it was accepted, and again it was held back. Finally, in 1914, the original publisher overcame his fears and released the volume to the public.

By now, however, Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist was appearing in a serialized version, and the novel overshadowed the short stories; as did, or course, Joyce’s two modern masterpieces, Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake.

So it was only slowly, over the course of many years, that Dubliners gained recognition for both the modernism and the rather brute realism of its stories.

In the previous update, I chose to use the word dreary in describing the stories. That they are. But this time let’s try “resignation” – stories of resignation. This is perhaps better, since it’s less ambiguous. Joyce writes about the people of Dublin as resigned to the lives they have – controlled by the Church (to some extent), controlled by the British (to the extent the British give a damn), prey to the simple pleasures of drink, having children, and pretending that life’s not really so bad. And of course there are classes in this society, so that those of any class except the bottom can always compare themselves pridefully to those below them, should they care to.

I scanned through the last, longest story (The Dead), looking for a good quotation. Alas, they were few and far between, and too long to bother with. But this story is a fit capstone to the collection. It’s about a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration that a few dozen of Dublin’s better off citizens partake of, an evening of music, dancing, feasting. Nothing about anyone’s death, though the protagonist, Gabriel, has rather morose thoughts often during the evening.

Then in the last few pages, a tale of death finds its way into the story, a death that occurred long ago, but is newly revealed to Gabriel and causes him to have very quotable thoughts as he falls asleep. But, it occurred to me that the story’s title refers not just to these last few pages, but to all the people celebrating that evening - Joyce suggesting that even these well fed, happy people, in failing to recognize the resignation with which they accept their lives, are in their own way, though “living”, part of The Dead.

review update - 3/17/15

obviously in celebration of a certain day

Just a few thoughts on these stories a couple years later.

When I said below that the stories aren't "exciting" ... yes, well, first I didn't mean that they were not very affecting stories, because some of them are. One could use the word "depressing"? But more, I think the atmosphere of the stories is probably much like the weather that I associate with the Emerald Isle. Damp, cloudy, hints of rain, chill in most parts of the year, maybe summerlike for a couple weeks in July. Gloomy. Weather that makes you seek out a pub and the warm comfort of a pint with friends. Then there's that Catholic haze that looms over everything, the haze and the weather and maybe even the people such that Joyce himself had to flee.

Whenever you feel like subjecting yourself to this sort of dreariness, which should be often, read one of the stories, it will suit your yearning.

original review

These aren't the most exciting short stories ever written. They were written by Joyce, though, so that sets them on a level of Literature that most writers can only dream of. It also means that they are worthy of study, and that the time spent studying them will be well spent.

Terence Brown's Introduction shows that he has studied these stories for a long time, and his Notes make it apparent that there is not a word, a slang term, a Dublin location, nor a historical reference in the stories that he does not know most everything about. (The footnoting is at times a bit distracting - "of course, everyone knows that" you think - but of course those things that "everyone knows" vary from reader to reader.) All in all, this is a very good edition of Dubliners.

I was once an English lit. major in college (only for a year), and still have infrequent yearnings in that direction. One of those I have had in recent years is to take the time to write a long essay on these stories. I do think they are worth that kind of effort.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,066 reviews1,759 followers
September 13, 2017
مثال بسیار مناسبی برای خوندن یک کتاب در زمان نامناسب.
من این کتاب رو سال سوم دبیرستان خوندم. تا یه سال قبلش، هنوز کتاب های شرلوک هلمز و پوارو و کتاب های ایزاک آسیموف میخوندم. بعد، این رو خوندم. معلومه که بیشتر داستاناش رو به زور تموم کردم، فقط چون توی کلاس داستان نویسی، استادمون گفت که جیمز جویس، یکی از نویسنده های بزرگه و فکر میکردم حتماً به عنوان یه نویسنده (!) باید کتابشو بخونم و کسی نبود که بهم بگه این نویسنده برای این سن نیست.
نتیجه؟ تقریباً هیچی از داستان ها نفهمیدم، از جیمز جویس تا سال ها می ترسیدم! (فیلمی هست به نام "چه کسی از ویرجینیا وولف می ترسد؟" که کسی نوشته بود این نام اشاره ایست به ترس روشنفکرها از نفهمیدن آثار وولف و مسخره شدن توسط اطرافیانشان) و تا مدت ها فکر می کردم همه ی کتاب های بزرگ و معروف، الزاماً کتاب هایی هستن که باید انرژی فراوانی برای خوندنشون گذاشت و هیچ لذتی نداره خوندنشون.
Profile Image for Chris_P.
382 reviews269 followers
March 29, 2018
Reading this book is like meeting a perfect stranger at the park. The two of you sitting on a bench, they sharing their truth with you, you sharing yours with them. Just a short, yet meaningful interaction. Something with no responsibilities and no strings attached. And then, at some point, “oh, it’s two o’ clock already, I’d better be going”. And that was it. One could argue that that’s the case with all interactions in one’s life.
Joyce offers us a synthesis of people and their actions, their fears, their misconceptions, their loves and their hates. Brief zoom-ins into the details that make up Dublin of his time. I kind of lost myself there, drawing conclusions and finding meanings in symbolisms that could very well be anything but symbolisms. I think that’s why many people didn’t like Dubliners, and I think it's the same reason I did. Thought-provoking isn’t it?
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
August 15, 2019
Dear James Joyce,

So let's pretend you might actually receive this letter. I just experienced your short story collection. Maybe it wasn't the best choice for taking a first time walk into your imagination.

I just don't get you, man. What makes you tick? What message are you hoping that someone reading will feel right into their soul? I wanted to love Dublin like YOU love Dublin. But just nothing happened.

Because great literary men have come before you- Hardy, Tolstoy,Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck, Dumas, Hugo, Fitzgerald..just to name a few. All of them at one time or another have rocked my little world. But your words did not capture my heart, my mind or my soul. What did I miss that so many others were able to see?

The thing is...I'm just not that into you.



P.S. It's too bad it didn't work out, I would have enjoyed referring to you as J.J.

Goodreads review published 14/08/19
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,494 reviews2,376 followers
September 20, 2018
Dubliners is one of those books that simply tracks life. Joyce had written most of these stories by the age of twenty-three, he did so with the understanding and forbearance of someone much older. He often portrayed himself as sitting in judgment on his fellow Dubliners, whom he once described to a friend as the most hopeless, useless and inconsistent race of charlatans I have ever come across. Am sure he didn't mean it. What gives the stories their tremendous power is precisely their refusal to make judgements. The men and women depicted in this collection are mostly a shabby bunch: drunkards, wife-beaters, narcissists, hypocrites. But Joyce is careful to show the forces that have made them who they are, the exigencies that constrict them, the disillusionments that have sapped their will to act differently from others. He believed that by showing us ourselves, he could help us understand each other better, forgive each other more often, and break out of our holding patterns and begin to change. He believed that redemption was something we could achieve for ourselves. Taking in the aspirations of the people in the city we see what they wish for, and what they envisage for their offspring. In all then on the surface a deceptively easy book to read, but think deeper and this becomes something that not only can give plenty of pleasurable reading, but also a fascinating time if you really wish analyse the finer details in each tale. They appear here very much in the correct order as we progress through the stages of life, and this is very fulfilling.

'The dead' is one of the finest short-stories I have ever read, and it's saved until last. Some other highlights for me were - 'Eveline', 'Two Gallants' 'A Little Cloud' and 'A Mother'.
The reason for not giving five stars (even though 'The Dead' is easily worthy of that on it's own) is simply down to fact some stories were better than others.
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