That James Joyce's ""The Dead"" forms an extraordinary conclusion to his collection Dubliners, there can be no doubt. But as many have pointed out, ""The Dead"" may equally well be read as a novella-arguably, one of the finest novellas ever written.
""The Dead,"" a ""story of public life,"" as Joyce categorised it, was written more than a year after Joyce had finished the other stories in the collection, and was meant to redress what he felt was their ""unnecessary harsh[ness]."" Set on the feast of the epiphany, it is a haunting tale of connection and of alienation, reflecting, in the words of Stanislaus Joyce (James's brother and confidant), ""the nostalgic love of a rejected exile.""
The present volume highlights ""The Dead"" for readers who wish to focus on that great work in a concise volume-and for university courses in which it is not possible to cover all of Dubliners. But it also gives a strong sense of how that story is part of a larger whole. One story from each of the other sections of Dubliners has been included, and a wide range of background materials is included as well, providing a vivid sense of the literary and historical context out of which the work emerged.
James Joyce (1882-1941), author of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and of Ulysses as well as of Dubliners, was one of the towering figures of twentieth-century literature. Melissa Free, an Assistant Professor of English at Binghamton University, USA has published widely on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century English, Irish, and colonial literature.