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  • Author: James Joyce
  • Genre: Short Stories
  • Publication Date: 1914

Dubliners is a compilation of 15 short stories written by Irish author James Joyce. It offers the readers a vivid image of Irish middle class lives at the beginning of the 20th Century. The author has penned the stories at a time, when the Irish citizen was still searching for his identity and purpose. The island of Ireland had become a converging point for different ideas and influences. All the stories have the sense of patriotism woven into them, with the characters in search of self-awakening. The author is known for concentrating and commenting on various stages of human life. The compilation too is divided accordingly in childhood, adolescence and maturity as we move from the start.

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Summary

The book had to wait a whole decade before it was finally published. James Joyce sent the book more than 18 times to 15 different publishers, and was finally rewarded in 1914, with the book published by Grant Richards. The London house of Grant Richards had originally agreed to publish the book in 1905, however its printer refused to typeset one of the stories, Two Gallants. James Joyce decided to pull out of the deal when they forced him to omit some more passages. Similar controversy repeated at one another printer, Maunsel.

Exaggeration is one thing that the author rarely employs throughout his collection of stories. Instead he focuses on painting a simple and realistic depiction of the society. Hence, the readers may be surprised to find the stories don’t have the usual dramatic endings. Also, instead of using his perspective, he uses the character’s point of view to describe the scene. That way the story stays true to its character and there is no intervention from the author.

Many of the short stories were staged as plays in Dublin. Another story, The Dead, was made into a movie. BBC Radio also did voiceover recitals of these short stories in 1998. They have also been made into short films and musical adaptations.

The entire collection can be seen as a journey of life, starting with childhood years and narrated by child protagonists, and then moving into adolescence and concerning lives of elderly people and the final story, The Dead. Also, painstaking efforts have been taken to describe the geographic details of Dublin, so much so that a person who is aware of them, can immediately relate to it.

The book is a must read for its practical and simple style of storytelling, with the usual melodrama taking a backseat.

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