James Joyce

June 16, 2006


James Augustine Aloysius Joyce
Expatriate Irish writer and poet
Major figure of the Modernist movement
Uses “stream of consciousness” narrative


Frail the white rose and frail are/ Her hands that gave/ Whose soul is sere and paler/ Than time’s wan wave.
Rosefrail and fair- yet frailest/ A wonder wild/ In gentle eyes thou veilest,/ My blueveined child.

-A Flower Given to My Daughter (in whole)

The Dead (1914)

Final short story in the 1914 collection Dubliners
Longest story in the collection and widely considered to be one of the greatest short stories in the English


“Those who still remained in the drawing-room seemed tired of dancing and were conversing quietly in little groups.  Gabriel’s warm trembling fingers tapped the cold pane of the window.  How cool it must be outside!  How pleasant it would be to walk out alone, first along by the river and then through the park!  The snow would be lying on the branches of the trees and forming a bright cap on the top of the Wellington Monument.  How much more pleasant it would be there than at the supper-table!”

“He felt quite at ease now for he was an expert carver and liked nothing better than to find himself at the head of a well-laden table.”

“Those were the days, he said, when there was something like singing to be heard in Dublin.”

“Some would say, perhaps, that with us it is rather a failing than anything to be boasted of.  But granted even that, it is, to my mind, a princely failing, and one that I trust will long be cultivated among us.”

“Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living.  We have all of us living duties and living affections which claim, and rightly claim, our strenuous endeavours.  Therefore, I will not linger on the past.”

“A wave of yet more tender joy escaped from his heart and went coursing in a warm flood along his arteries.  Like the tender fires of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illumined his memory.”

“A shameful consciousness of his own person assailed him.  He saw himself as a ludicrous figure, acting as a pennyboy for his aunts, a nervous well-meaning sentimentalist, orating to vulgarians and idealising his own clownish lusts, the pitiable fatuous fellow he had caught a glimpse of in the mirror.  Instinctively he turned his back more to the light lest she might see the shame that burned upon his forehead.”

“So she had had that romance in her life: a man had died for her sake.  It hardly pained him now to think how poor a part he, her husband, had played in her life.”

“The air of the room chilled his shoulders.  He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife.  One by one they were all becoming shades.  Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”

“His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead.  He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence.  His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself which these dead had one time reared and lived in was dissolving and dwindling.”

“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.”


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