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The Dead

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  8,410 ratings  ·  275 reviews
The Dead written by legendary author James Joyce is widely considered to be one of the top 100 greatest books of all time. This great classic will surely attract a whole new generation of readers. For many, The Dead is required reading for various courses and curriculums. And for others who simply enjoy reading timeless piees of classic literature, this gem by James Joyce...more
Paperback, 54 pages
Published February 26th 2009 by Createspace (first published 1914)
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Brian
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...more
Jacob
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...more
Julie
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...more
brian
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.
Jan Rice
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...more
Diane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kareena
“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.
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...more
Emily
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
selena
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...more
Sonia
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...more
Rise
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
Frank
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,...more
Barbara A
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...more
Adam Floridia
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...more
Benny
I found a copy of The Dead*, as one volume, used for a nickel at Goodwill. In a bout of insomnia, I pulled Dubliners off the shelf, but decided to go for the single volume just because the book is larger and feels better in my hands. Soon I remembered why—although slow in the beginning—this is one of the most powerful short stories I've ever read. What begins as almost social satire culminates in a revealing look at the complexity of love and the finite and infinite nature that connects the livi...more
janine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael
Kann es eine bessere Einstimmung auf die DUBLINERS geben, als sich von Christian Brückner DIE TOTEN vorlesen zu lassen?

Es heißt, DIE TOTEN sei die beste Kurzgeschichte (wenn es denn keine Novelle ist), die je auf Englisch geschrieben wurde. Diese Behauptung brilliert durch Anmaßung und Dummheit, denn wie sollte je der Wahrheitsbeweis angetreten werden? Es ist seit Jahrzehnten Mode, auf dem Buchumschlag zu Werbezwecken das Zitat eines Autoren oder Kulturredakteurs abzudrucken, der den jeweiligen,...more
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
stew
"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."
Bonnie
'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.'
Matthew Dunleavy
From spoilersliterature.blogspot.com *SPOILERS*-

I don’t usually write about all the short stories I read because this blog would get so boring and would take up way to much of my time (for example, I read seven just yesterday) but I fell obliged to write about this particular James Joyce story because I have it in a little bound book on its lonesome so it deserve some special attention!

This book is a masterpiece of character studies. From Joyce’s use of the character’s thoughts about each other,...more
Walk-Minh Allen
This is my first time reading anything by James Joyce, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his work. According to the back of this small paperback, The Dead is the last story in Joyce's collection "Dubliners".

Almost immediately I familiarized myself with Joyce's prose and became comfortable with its rhythm and syntax. To my 21st century American ears, the language in the story sounds charmingly archaic, which simply adds to the atmosphere of this tale of friendship, love and loss.

Joyce do...more
Nguyễn Vũ
Một truyện ngắn hay của James Joyce. Đọc xong mới biết truyện này (tựa tiếng Việt: Cõi chết, Trần Bình Nam dịch) được viết cách đây vừa đúng 100 năm. Chỉ vài chục trang thôi, tìm đọc đi! :)
Amanda
I've heard it said that this is the greatest novella ever written; I can say with certainty that it's the greatest novella I've ever read.
Taka
More like 3.5 (between "I liked it" and "I really liked it")--

The thing that amazes me about this novella/longish short story is the smoothness of the prose I can characterize only as "mellifluous." It's nothing flowery, but Joyce the author achieves complete invisibility from the world he creates--which is what authors should strive to do. The rhythm, the word choice, and everything mesh into one natural flow, which, I suppose, is the best instrument for the purpose of the story: natural descri...more
Elizabeth
One of the best and most beautiful ever though some of my students didn't like it - too many "old people." The passage at the end is gorgeous and so is the John Huston movie.
Nikki
This is a wonderful example of a well-written short story. So much imagery, so much detail, so many lessons and topics explored. It feels tedious and even boring at times, but I think the beauty of this book is in its reality. The ending is one of the more powerful endings I've ever read... beautiful and complex... exploring the significance of memories, family, love, intimacy and mortality. I thought I would hate this when I first cracked it open, but this was a really good story and I'd recomm...more
Daniel
Can't see this as "one of the best short stories ever written". I enjoyed it but for the most part it didn't grab me, I merely mildly enjoyed being the fly on the wall at that party. The Dead gets 4 stars fromme because of the end, where it all suddenly carries massive poetic weight - the final lines and thoughts are a thing of sheer beauty ... "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...more
Jeff
In regards to James Joyce my reading life has been a failure. A couple of attempts at Ulysses have ended in disaster and abandonment. It is not that I dislike a challenge. I love Faulkner. I will leave it to my betters who have read both to explain to me why one I love and the other I cannot suffer.

That said late last night, being well aware of the sterling reputation this short story has, started and completed this in the last hour before sleep. It was all that had been promised. Elegant langua...more
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Saigon Bookclub: Book 1 - The Dead (James Joyce) 15 11 Dec 21, 2011 12:42AM  
  • The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg
  • May Day
  • The Lifted Veil
  • The Duel
  • The Lesson of the Master
  • A Simple Heart
  • The Garden Party
  • Tales of Belkin
  • The Rocking Horse Winner (Travelman Classics)
  • The Horla
  • A Hunger Artist
  • The Lemoine Affair
  • The Touchstone
  • Bartleby, the Scrivener
  • The Devil
  • The Squabble
  • El duelo
  • The Decay of Lying
5144
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Joyce (1882-1941), 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 s...more
More about James Joyce...
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Ulysses Dubliners Finnegans Wake A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man/Dubliners

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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?” 242 likes
“Moments of their secret life together burst like stars upon his memory.” 111 likes
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