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Collaborative Dubliners

Joyce in Dialogue

edited by Vicki Mahaffey

Publication Year: 2012

In this collection, Joyce experts from around the world have collaborated with one another to produce a set of essays that stage or result from dialogue between different points of view. The result is a sequence of lively discussions about Joyce’s most accessible and widely read set of vignettes about Dublin life at the turn of the century.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. ix-ix

I am grateful to Tania Lown-Hecht for her insightful and efficient editorial help in preparing the final manuscript for the press and compiling the index, to Claire Barber for her expert proofreading, and to the University of Illinois Faculty Research Board for a grant...


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pp. xi-xviii


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p. xix-xix

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pp. 1-22

To “collaborate” is literally to work or labor together. The word didn’t take on overtones of sleeping with the enemy until World War II, when in 1940 the Vichy government in France was charged with collaborating with, or selling out to, the Nazis to protect their own interests. The title of...

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1. Silence and Fractals in “The Sisters”

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pp. 23-47

At the gateway of Dubliners we find this spare, narratively uneventful story about death and damage told from the sharply perceptive yet uncomprehending perspective of a young boy. We may well look for a Dantean inscription above this “door” to a collection of stories about Dublin...

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2. “An Encounter”

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pp. 48-68

An Encounter” narrates an encounter with shame: the boy narrator tries to escape the strict routine of school, replacing it with an escapist adventure, and instead he becomes witness to the shameful exhibition of an older man who claims to be his “fellow,” a “bookworm” like himself...

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3. Lighted Squares

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pp. 69-88

Joyce’s Dubliners opens with a scene of watching, as the unnamed narrator of “The Sisters” studies a “lighted square of window,” seeking a sign of Father Flynn’s condition (D, 9). Gazing at the window night by night, he repeats the word paralysis softly to himself, as if the combination of word and...

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4. “Eveline” at Home

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pp. 89-107

She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired” (D, 42). The opening paragraph of “Eveline” shows Joyce at his characteristic best, achieving immense richness with...

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5. “After the Race” and the Problem of Belonging

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pp. 108-124

After the Race” was the third Dubliners story in order of the collection’s composition, appearing in its earliest version in the December 17, 1904, issue of the Irish Homestead. Perhaps because it was one of the first pieces in the volume, written while the unifying thematic principles of the...

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6. En Garde

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pp. 125-144

Two Gallants” has always been one of our favorite stories, even though it is arguably the nastiest story in Dubliners. What is the source of its appeal? Like adolescence—of which the two gallants are somewhat geriatric specimens—the story is unremittingly mean; like adolescence, it is also

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7. “The Instinct of the Celibate”

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pp. 144-163

Boarding,” which Joyce’s title announces as being prominent among the concerns of the story, is a widespread condition of habitation in modern urban societies, which, we propose, governs the relation of the characters in Joyce’s story to sexual pleasure, economic power, and ideology, pointing up...

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8. The Small Light in “A Little Cloud”

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pp. 164-187

In “A Little Cloud,” Little Chandler, a clerk whose routine duties in the King’s Inns in Dublin undoubtedly include some copying, expresses his desire to write poetry with an urgency warmed by the unaccustomed whiskeys he drank with his friend earlier in the evening.1 The tension between the...

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9. “Counterparts”

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pp. 188-209

For a long time, whenever I had to teach “Counterparts,” I would resort to an old ploy, an inviting comparison—following a hint provided by Morris Beja whom I had heard give a wonderful talk on “Farrington the Scrivener” at the Copenhagen Symposium in 1986. This groundbreaking reading of...

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10. Working with Clay

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pp. 210-237

I first read Dubliners at the age of twenty-two, seven years after I had dropped out of high school, and a year after the publication of my first book. I knew immediately that I had come across something extraordinary. But why and how did a collection of stories about Dublin at the turn of the century have...

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11. Reopening “A Painful Case”

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pp. 238-260

How stands the case with the eleventh story in Dubliners? Is it a case for a detective, a judge, a physician, a psychoanalyst, or a social worker? What exactly is the case the title names as painful? And is that case open or closed? On the face of things, “A Painful Case” seems to be as decisively sealed as...

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12. “Ivy Day in the Committee Room”

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pp. 261-295

[Andrew Gibson]: Anne Fogarty has recently substantially advanced our understanding of “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.” In “Parnellism and the Politics of Memory: Revisiting ‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room,’” she argues that we should not pin Joyce to a more or less straightforward allegiance...

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13. The Politics of Maternity and Daughterhood in “A Mother”

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pp. 296-322

The title character of “A Mother” emerges as the nightmare of patriarchal culture: a mature woman, willing to exercise whatever agency she may happen to have been granted, and not ashamed to express anger in public over a gender- based injustice. The narrator of the story seems to try hard to make the...

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14. “Grace”

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pp. 323-342

Grace,” originally intended to stand as the final Dubliners story, is odd in several respects. Although several other story titles (such as “The Sisters”) are oblique, seeming only tangentially related to the main themes of the story, here we are certainly drawn to wonder why Joyce chose to...

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15. Dead Again

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pp. 343-375

The invitation to reconsider a story about which I first wrote more than twenty-five years ago has been an occasion for some personal reflection on the whole business of literary criticism, and especially on what I might call the irreducible vicissitudes of interpretation. That the things from which...

Works Cited

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pp. 379-394


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pp. 395-402

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815651765
E-ISBN-10: 0815651767
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632702
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632703

Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2012