Tuesday, December 14, 2004

'Tis the season

Hey, selling James Joyce as a holiday tie-in, what a great idea! (Just do the Salon day pass thing. It's a pain in the ass, but it's worth it. My motto is to never pay for anything on the web.)

A few years ago, I put together a small, informal seminar on the short story with a few of my fellow grads, and we started with Dubliners. I always felt that I missed something in never having the opportunity to cover Joyce in a class setting. (Full disclosure: I love James Joyce. I've read Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses all on my own, and, even worse, I liked them. In my defense, I'm not really interested in Finnegan's Wake.)

It's tough to find new things to say about Joyce. In fact, there's a particularly nice edition of just "The Dead" packaged together with enough critical writing to make a nice little volume, if you're interested in that sort of a thing. (I own it. I also own five copies of Ulysses. It's a sickness.) I've written about some of the more annoying aspects (and redeeming qualities) of the inescapable Stephen Dedalus in the past, but Dubliners can be a tonic for those put off by Joyce's (often well-deserved) reputation for overblown, overinvolved, impenetrable writing. No tricks, no games, just amazing cameos and miniatures.

Treat yourself. (And maybe a friend, over a pint of Guinness.)

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