James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers of the early 20th century. Although best known for Ulysses and The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he also wrote a number of shorter works. Chief among them is "The Dead," which was published as part of a collection in 1914.
Like many of his stories, "The Dead" develops toward a moment of painful self-awareness and spiritual awakening which Joyce described as an "epiphany." Most critics consider this the finest of his short works and often describe it as "a masterpiece." One critic called it "Perhaps the greatest written in the English language." In 1987, John Huston directed a movie version as his last feature film. In 1999 it became a Broadway musical. After a successful run on Broadway, the play won a Tony for Best Book.
Public Domain (P)2011 Jimcin Recordings
"With a sure touch, beautiful language and the omniscient and impersonal narrator favored in the last century, The Dead is the equivalent of an entire Flaubert or Balzac novel encapsulated in a short story. It shares with novels of hundreds of pages the capture of an entire social world....There is an unforced beauty in the dialog unparalleled by other modern authors." (The Ethical Spectacle)
A very simple theme ... an amusing story ... and an absolutely deep ending ... the difference between the concept of living and mere surviving ... would recommend it to anyone
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is one of Joyce’s best and most approachable works. I like Ulysses but it takes a lot of concentration. The Dead has many of the best aspects of Joyce but is short and easy to listen to. The narration was quite good, but Joyce is particularly challenging to read aloud, and this narration was not quite up to the writing. If you haven’t read any Joyce, this is an excellent place to start.
"Brilliant short story ruined by poor narration"
'The Dead' is wonderfully rich and affecting and is rightly regarded as a masterpiece of short fiction. Unfortunately it is spoiled here by having what sounds like an American narrator who, for me, fails to express these qualities. To compound this, there are also some absolute howlers of mispronunciation (e.g. Connaught/ Connacht).
This beautiful story deserves an excellent, standalone, unabridged reading by one of the many superb Irish actors who could do it real justice. Now that the copyright on Joyce's work has been lifted, how about it?
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