Hello world, it’s Emma back again with the book blog! Once again this semester I found myself taking a break from this fabulous corner of the internet to keep myself at slightly more normal levels of insanity. This semester was a little different in that it was my last as an undergrad! As a celebration of finally being done with school, my dad and I are headed to Ireland. By total coincidence I spent part of this last semester reading and studying James Joyce! Which means I’ll for sure be taking a picture at his statue but it also means I’m going to be talking about his collection of short stories Dubliners.


Dubliners is by far Joyce’s most reader friendly book. (After I recover from the semester a little bit I’ll do a post on Ulysses…and whew that is a book that makes you sweat.) It’s a collection of short stories following various Dubliners going about their day.  There is some Irish/time specific references but my copy of the book had some handy endnotes to help me put some context around some of the events. When reading any sort of James Joyce at all it is helpful to already be well read because he has a tendency to pack his books and stories full of literary references. With Dubliners there isn’t quite as much of this and it certainly won’t hinder your reading experience if you miss a few references.

I think it’s kind of interesting that at the time of publication Dubliners was fairly well received, even in Ireland, because the picture Joyce paints is not exactly a vibrant full of life one. A running theme throughout the short stories is paralysis. Joyce seemed to be of the opinion that Ireland and the Irish arts were going through a rather stale period of non growth. Because of this reading all the stories in one go of it might get a bit wearisome. Regardless, Dubliners is a good way to ease into reading James Joyce and appreciating his complicated, but undeniable genius!

Common Place Book Entries:

“I found it strange that neither I nor the day seemed in a mourning mood…”

-The Sisters by James Joyce

“No one would think he’d make such a beautiful corpse.”

-The Sisters by James Joyce

“Now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a  wholly undesirable life.”

-Eveline by James Joyce

“…laughing as if his heart would break.”

-The Dead by James Joyce

Keep reading. Keep learning. Keep listening. Keep creating.


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