Analysis of The Novel Dubliners by James Joyce Essay

Analysis of The Novel Dubliners by James Joyce Essay

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In response to his publisher's suggested revisions to Dubliners, James Joyce "elevated his rhetoric to the nearly Evangelical [and wrote]: 'I seriously believe that you will retard the course of civilization in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one good look in my nicely polished looking-glass'"1. A pivotal part of this "looking-glass" is Joyce's representation of Dublin, which functions akin to an external unconsciousness in that a series of unrelated characters experience similar problems by virtue of their common connection to the city. Furthermore, the characters absorb the city into their identities, creating a symbiotic relationship with it. This renders escape - or emigration - a bifurcation of one's identity, and thus, paralyses characters once a means of escape is revealed to them. Therefore, Joyce's Dubliners are inextricably bound to Dublin; and like microcosms of it, negotiate problems relevant to both themselves and the city. I intend to explore Joyce's Dublin, conscious of this city-character connection in the following areas: the incomplete identities of the city and its inhabitants; tradition, and colonial influences; the fragmentary structure of the city; and briefly, how "The Dead" unifies the fragmented Dublin as Gabriel gazes out at the "snow"(p.160)2.
Considering Dublin's symbiotic relationship with its people, we can resolve Seamus Deane's paradoxical summation of the city as necessarily being: "nowhere and everywhere, absence and presence"3, as Dublin pervades its characters' thoughts without becoming personified. The characters' paralysis and self-abnegation in the face of their desires is readily explained by an unbreakable link to Dublin; which evokes Friedrich Nietzsche in Beyond Goo...


... middle of paper ...


...Dubliners', p.105.

9: Ibid., p.104.

10: Ibid., p.116.

11: Lenihan, Richard, 'Joyce's City' in James Joyce: The Augmented Ninth, ed. Bernard Benstock; Syracuse Press (1988), p.249.

12: Wirth-Nesher, Hana, 'Reading Joyce's City: Public Space, Self and Gender in Dubliners' in James Joyce: The Augmented Ninth, ed. Bernard Benstock; Syracuse Press (1988), p.282.

13: Brooks, Cleanth, 'The Formalist Critics' in Literary Theory: An Anthology (Second Edition), ed. Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Blackwell Publishing (2004), p.24.

14: Levin, Harry, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction, Norfolk Conn.: New Directions, (1941), 198.

15: Joyce, James, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. Max Bollinger; published by Urban Romantics (London 2011), p.224.

16: Joyce, James, On Ibsen, ed. Dennis Phillips, published by Green Integer (1999), p.24.

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