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The Dead

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,785 Ratings  ·  396 Reviews
He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of.

Often cited as the best work of short fiction ever written, Joyce's elegant story details a New Year's Eve gathering in Dublin that is so evocative and beautiful that it prompts the protagonist's wife to make a shocking revelation to her husband—closing the story
Paperback, 64 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Melville House Publishing (first published 1914)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 12, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing
snow was general all over Ireland

I am in DFW (the airport, not the author) on a layover eating an execrable meal from a forgettable airport restaurant. Punch drunk from too much air travel over the past 24 hours, emotionally frayed at having dropped my daughter off with her mother after spending a fabulous week with her in San Francisco, I'm chewing tasteless food while looking into the restaurant with the glassy-eyed, 1000 yard stare of the weary traveler.

A family of four takes the table direc
Sep 04, 2015 Jacob rated it it was amazing
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Younger me, the 18-year-old college kid in 2005 who was too scared to read this story for his film class and chose an alternate project, adapting a small scene from a then-favorite book into a short screenplay, instead...

...was an idiot.

Because this story is brilliant, and it knocks me senseless every time, and yet my stupid teenage fear of James Joyce's work kept me from reading it for years. Granted, it meant that I didn't have to write a dumb compara
Mar 12, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
The volumes of literary analysis of The Dead proclaim this as the perfect short story ever written. The instructor of a short-story writing workshop I attended recently made the same proclamtion. He admonished our gathering to read this at once and to reread it at least once a year, as an example of writing at its most sublime.

Hyperbole? I don't know that it matters. It moved me to tears.

I knew nothing of the story, nor have I read Joyce beyond an aborted attempt a dozen years ago at "A Portrait
Oct 06, 2007 brian rated it it was amazing
goddamn is this good. it's those last two pages... you hit those two pages and WHAM! if it doesn't destroy you, then you just ain't human.
Sep 24, 2015 Chrissie rated it liked it
One more try with James Joyce.

This short story is beautifully written. I appreciated more how Joyce draws a place - a party, laughter, songs and music, friends gathered, a well laden table, snow blanketing the streets - than the character portrayals.

An accurate snapshot of a time past. Pretty. Nostalgic, but too sentimental for me.
May 26, 2016 Kenchiin rated it liked it
I liked it, but it's a little bit too intellectual.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane S ☔
Mar 15, 2016 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
3.5 review to follow
Jan Rice
Apr 15, 2013 Jan Rice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Originally reviewed April 13, 2013
At first we see mainly the social persona of the main character, Gabriel. Then, the author shows us the person inside, at first partially, when some interpersonal contact makes him experience self doubt, and then more dramatically, through his affirming experience of his wife/lover as muse. Then even that latter narrative takes a hit.

All those shades of experience occur through the agency of other people, or, rather, through the story he experiences or lives in
Apr 13, 2016 Ophelia.Desdemona rated it it was amazing
Reading and thinking that it's a nice story and then BAM, those two last pages hits your guts out of nowhere! Read it.
That James Joyce and his final paragraphs. I have to hand it to the man, he sure knew how to end a book. The final passage of Ulysses is justly famous for Molly Bloom's orgasmic "Yes I said Yes I will Yes," but it's possible that the somnolent incantation of snow-blanketed Ireland in the final pages of The Dead is just as strong, with its repetitions and inversions ("falling softly"/"softly falling") and its vast but muted vistas. It's certainly one of those passages, like Mrs. Dalloway's "What ...more
“Why is it that words like these seem dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?”

This short story breaks my heart everytime I read.
Arief Bakhtiar D.
May 28, 2016 Arief Bakhtiar D. rated it it was amazing

"Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us."—Richard Siken, Scheherazade

DI beberapa halaman terakhir The Dead dari James Joyce, kita akan menemui sepotong cerita tentang Tuan Gabriel dan istrinya. Di sebuah kamar hotel di Dublin, pada suatu malam yang diselimuti salju, mereka sedikit cekcok tentang Michael Furey.

Kita tahu kenapa: Michael Furey adalah lelaki pertama yang dibayangkan istri Tuan Gabriel ketika dia mendengarkan lagu The Lass of Aughrim
Jan 13, 2012 Selena rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thebest, 2012
this little sixty page novel has completely changed my mind about joyce. i don't think i've loved a book this much since i read "a hero of our time."


i welcomed the new year in california. instead of a lavish and loud party the family went bowling then came home to play taboo. midnight came and without much fanfare, we went outside to light sparklers and look at the clear mount shasta sky. we went back inside to drink champagne. the boys started playing poker. i curled up by the fireplace with
Billy O'Callaghan
Dec 29, 2015 Billy O'Callaghan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ireland, classics
Gabriel and Gretta Conroy attend an annual party thrown by Gabriel's aunts, the Morkan sisters, to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany and the last of Christmas. The party starts off well but gradually seems to emphasise the disconnection between generations, and between political beliefs. And there is a further revelation awaiting, when Gabriel learns how little he knows about his own wife, her past and the love of her life, a young man named Michael Furey, who had given her literally everythin ...more
Diamond Cowboy
Jan 06, 2016 Diamond Cowboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dead is the last story in James Joyce's collection entitled the Dubliners. This story is a modern parable of the rivalry between the living and the dead. I enjoyed the whole collection.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Apr 16, 2011 Sonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have
I feel like I've just volunteered myself for a mafia hit by only rating this at three stars, but I stand by that choice. Still, my ego is prompting me to explain that decision.

Why did I read The Dead? I haven't heard a lot about James Joyce. In fact, earlier than about two months ago, I'd never even heard of The Dead. Of course, after hearing about it, I read that in many critical opinions, it is considered to be (drumroll please) THE BEST SHORT STORY EVER WRITTEN. That is why I decided to read
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
When their love was a newly bloomed flower, those early days when they could not hear enough of each other's voices, know enough of each other's thoughts, and get enough to fill each other's needful void by their physical closeness which was always magical, Gabriel had sent Gretta letters and in one of them he had written:

"Why is it that words like these seem to me so dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?"

But that was a long time ago. They married and had c
Adam Floridia
Dec 21, 2013 Adam Floridia rated it really liked it
I took an honors seminar on Ulysses at good ol' UMD, and certain chapters of The Dubliners was the introduction to Joyce. I thought the stories were okay and that Ulysses was great only because it was complicated and I knew I was supposed to think it was great.

In the many years that have passed since that course, my understanding and appreciation of literature have bloomed, matured. One of these days I will go back and actually read Ulysses, but I have re-read and even taught a couple of short s
Jul 12, 2016 Sarabvh rated it it was amazing
OMG! Joyce and his last paragraphs! Striking as hell! I have to read it again, for the little beautiful things, for some tricky words that don't seem significant in first reading. It's certainly the best short story I've ever read.
Nancy Oakes
Dec 23, 2015 Nancy Oakes added it
Shelves: gave-away
I have two copies of this book (Melville House, Art of the Novella edition) -- so if anyone in the US would like my extra one, it's yours. I'll pay postage.
Barbara A
Jun 18, 2012 Barbara A rated it it was amazing
I read this short story about once a decade, and it always evokes the deepest admiration--and emotion--in me. At this stage in my life, I think I will have to pick up the pace and read it every five years.

For kind readers of this review, may I commend to you the remarkable Par Avion Press? They print tiny, glorious, bespoke, and inexpensive paper editions of the most delicious titles, and one can read them and then pass them on in matching, gorgeously printed, mailing envelopes. They make the v
Hanaa Mansouri
Aug 12, 2015 Hanaa Mansouri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
"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."
A quite short story that captures beautifully and heartbreakingly the mortality of people, and their significance/insignificance.
Ahmad Sharabiani
داستان نیمه کوتاه، شرح یک میهمانی است که در شب کریسمس در دوبلین ایرلند است، نویسنده درون شخصیتها را میکاود، فضای بیرون مجلس را وصف میکند و به درون و روان زن و شوهری نفب میزند
Jan 22, 2016 Yasemin rated it really liked it
Shelves: oyku
Dublinliler adlı öykü kitabındaki bir öykü olan Ölüler'i ayrı basım olarak yayınlamışlar. Bu öykü kalabalık bir burjuva sınıfının içerisindeki bir partiden insan yalnızlığına doğru öyle süreğen bir şekilde yol aldı ki, inanamadım. Kentli bir arkadaş grubunu ince bir süzgeçten geçirerek onların o saçma sapan kaygılarını, amaçsız varoluşlarını ve anı yaşar tavırlarını gözlemlememize imkan verdi öncelikle. Sonrasında içerisinden iki karakteri çekip alarak yalnızlıklarına ve geçmişinyükünü ve hüznün ...more
Shaghayegh (Sherry)
Mar 27, 2016 Shaghayegh (Sherry) rated it it was amazing
I have to read it again. I'm still in shock.
Dec 18, 2009 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-authors
Put me in the column of those who count this among the greatest stories in the English language; it's certainly one I come back to time and again.

Joyce once said that one of his goals in Ulysses was to provide a blueprint for rebuilding Dublin, brick-by-brick. I would contend he started the process in "The Dead". From the old family home in Stoney Batter on the North Side to Ballsbridge (where Mary Jane had "the organ in Haddington Road") to the O'Connell Bridge and the statue of the Liberator,
Aug 31, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it
In Ireland, a New Year's party was in full swing. The three lady hosts were busy catering to their guests. All were reminiscing about the past, thinking of operatic singers and musical icons who entertained them through the years. Dances and songs were constantly playing. Gabriel Conroy, the hosts' nephew, braced himself for carving the goose and delivering the dinner speech. Everyone had some kind of issue in this annual party. The caretaker's daughter was feeling bitter about some kind of hear ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing
But what makes it all dead? The party is a bad play that’s at the end of its run. Everyone has his role, everyone has his lines down. Freddy Malins will turn up drunk and cause a row. Garbiel will offer a present to Lily and she will at first refuse; he will protest that it’s Christmastime and she will modestly accept. Browne will take a sip of whiskey and say, “God help me. It’s the doctor’s orders.” And the boldest girl will respond with mock naivety. Sister Kate will express ignorance about s ...more
Jan 02, 2008 stew rated it it was amazing
"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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James Joyce, Irish novelist, noted for his experimental use of language in such works as Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939). Joyce's technical innovations in the art of the novel include an extensive use of interior monologue; he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions ...more
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“Why is it that words like these seem dull and cold? Is it because there is no word tender enough to be your name?” 268 likes
“Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory.” 134 likes
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