Dubliners was completed in 1905, but a series of British and Irish publishers and printers found it offensive and immoral, and it was suppressed. The book finally came out in London in 1914, just as Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man began to appear in the journal Egoist under the auspices of Ezra Pound. The first three stories in Dubliners might be incidents from a draft of Portrait of the Artist, and many of the characters who figure in Ulysses have their first appearance here, but this is not a book of interest only because of its relationship to Joyce's life and mature work. It is one of the greatest story collections in the English language--an unflinching, brilliant, often tragic portrait of early twentieth-century Dublin. The book, which begins and ends with a death, moves from "stories of my childhood" through tales of public life. Its larger purpose, Joyce said, was as a moral history of Ireland.
About the Author
James Joyce, the twentieth century's most influential novelist, was born in Dublin on February 2, 1882. The oldest of ten children, he grew up in a family that went from prosperity to penury because of his father's wastrel behavior. After receiving a rigorous Jesuit education, twenty-year-old Joyce renounced his Catholicism and left Dublin in 1902 to spend most of his life as a writer in exile in Paris, Trieste, Rome, and Zurich. On one trip back to Ireland, he fell in love with the now famous Nora Barnacle on June 16, the day he later chose as "Bloomsday" in his novel "Ulysses. "Nara was an uneducated Galway girl who became his lifelong companion an the mother of his two children. In debt and drinking heavily, Joyce lived for thirty-six years on the Continent, supporting himself first by teaching jobs, then trough the patronage of Mrs. Harold McCormick (Edith Rockerfeller) and the English feminist and editor Harriet Shaw Weaver. His writings include "Chamber music "(1907), "Dubliners "(1914), "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man "(1916), "Exiles "(1918), "Ulysses "(1922), "Poems Penyeach "(1927), "Finnegans Wake "(1939), and an early draft of "A Portrait of a Young Man, Stephan Hero "(1944). "Ulysses "required seven years to complete, and his masterpiece, "Finnegans Wake, "took seventeen. Both works revolutionized the form, structure, and content of the novel. Joyce died in Zurich in 1941.
“In Dubliners, Joyce’s first attempt to register in language and fictive form the protean complexities of the ‘reality of experience,’ he learns the paradoxical lesson that only through the most rigorous economy, only by concentrating on the minutest of particulars, can he have any hope of engaging with the immensity of the world.”–from the Introduction
“Joyce renews our apprehension of reality, strengthens our sympathy with our fellow creatures, and leaves us in awe before the mystery of created things.” –Atlantic Monthly
“It is in the prose of Dubliners that we first hear the authentic rhythms of Joyce the poet…Dubliners is, in a very real sense, the foundation of Joyce’s art. In shaping its stories, he developed that mastery of naturalistic detail and symbolic design which is the hallmark of his mature fiction.” –Robert Scholes and A. Walton Litz, authors of Dubliners: Text and Criticism
With an Introduction by John Kelly