The Dead (Annotated)
Possible no writer other than Shakespeare generates as much scholarship as James Joyce and this vast amount of scholarship is now rising swiftly as the copyright on Joyce's work expired at the end of 2011. Much more focus is also now being directed on Joyce's earlier prose, Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, than the more experimental later fiction of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Joyce's short story The Dead, a novella length story and the final story in Dubliners, has won worldwide acclaim as a literary masterpiece. This wonderful story continues to fascinate readers, even prompting in recent times a film adaptation and a stage play. There are many who feel it is the finest short story/novella ever written. Many editions in several languages have been published. The latest (edited and generously and informatively annotated by James Mulligan) is a lavishly illustrated book that contains fifty-four monochrome and color illustrations of the contemporary Dublin. Some of the illustrations such as the two photos of the legendary opera singer mentioned in the story, William Parkinson, are seen for the first time. It is now approaching one hundred years since the first publication of The Dead and admiration for it continues to grow. Beautifully executed in so many ways, multi-layered and possessing an ineffable delicateness in subtlety throughout, it may indeed be James Joyce's finest writing. There is something so captivating in the way The Dead unfolds that even peripheral characters such as Lily the caretaker's daughter, Miss Ivors and Bartell D'Arcy take on a very definite existence and linger with the reader taken through this tale of tussle between the living and the dead.
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