The Trotskyite Joyce!

Dubliners & Portrait


James Joyce’s Dubliners – An Illustrated Edition with Annotations

John Wyse Jackson & Bernard McGinley

1. St. Martin’s Press, 1993, ISBN 0-312-09790-5; Hardcover $35.00. Out of print. [Browse/Search for a Copy]

2. St. Martin’s Press, 1995, ISBN 0-312-11779-5; Paperback $19.95. Out of print. [Browse/Search for a Copy]

This impressive and quite large book contains the entire text of Dubliners tucked away amidst a storm of pictures, photos, sketches, newspaper articles, cartoons, annotations, handbills, letters, song sheets, and advertisements. The sheer density of the reference materials is staggering – you get the idea that the authors were striving to recreate nineteenth century Dublin right around your head. And as a reference source, it indeed serves its purpose most admirably; but allow me to repeat this bit of cautionary advice: use it only if you’ve already read Dubliners at least once. If you wish to approach the text for the first time, the extra material can be too distracting, as it tends to interfere with the delicate mood that Joyce paints with the palette of language alone – this book, though delightful, is simply too cluttered to use as a first-time reading. But for an enthusiast, you would have to work very hard to beat it as the ultimate Dubliners annotation. (ABR)

Joyce* Annotated

Don Gifford
University of California Press, 1982, ISBN 0-520-04610-2, Paperback $21.95. [

Annotations for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, this useful volume starts with an introductory section on life in Dublin at the turn of the century, including education, history, commerce, and social customs. The book then lists thousands of annotations, including explanations of slang and foreign languages used, relevant song lyrics, literary references, historical notations, and explanations of places and institutions mentioned in the text. Maps are sprinkled throughout the book, and it ends with a reprinting of “The Sisters,” by “Stephen Daedalus,” as it appeared in the Irish Homestead on August 13, 1904. Overall, a very thorough job that illuminates both works quite nicely. (ABR)

Dubliners – Viking Critical Library Edition

Robert Scholes & A. Walton Litz, Editors
Penguin, 1996, ISBN 0-14-024774-2; Paperback $17.00. [

A good chronology and two useful maps are part of the front matter. The text of the stories is corrected by Robert Scholes. The second part of the book is called “The Author and His Work.” It contains two pages from manuscript copies of “A Painful Case,” a description of the revisions to “Eveline” and “The Boarding House,” and the entire early version of “The Sisters,” a short description of epiphanies and epicleti and letters that detail the agony that Joyce suffered in the process of getting Dubliners published. The third part contains critical essays by various writers, some of which are more useful than others. Of the eleven critical papers, six concern “The Dead.” Annotations to the stories are in the back.
This is an ambitious and carefully considered project with so many merits that it would be churlish to find fault. My own copy shows those signs of wear that speak eloquently of constant use. (BW)

Dubliners – Modern Critical Interpretations

Harold Bloom & William Golding, Editors
Chelsea House, 1988, ISBN 1-55546-019-4; Hardcover $34.95. Out of Print. [
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Part of Harold Bloom’s “Modern Critical Interpretation” series, this edition of Dubliners contains Joyce’s text with additional notes and critical essays. If you’d like submit commentary or a review to the Brazen Head, please send us email! The publisher has this to say:

According to Bloom, James Joyce’s Dubliners is a more aesthetically mixed work than much criticism of the author acknowledges. Bloom calls the collection of short stories “admirable and unified,” lauding “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” as a masterpiece. Many critics deem “The Dead” as the first piece to represent the mature Joyce. [A]lso contains an introductory essay by Harold Bloom, critical biographies, notes on the contributing critics, a chronology of the author’s life, and an index.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Penguin Critical Studies

John Blades
Penguin, ISBN 0-14-077174-3. Out of Print. [
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This analysis of Joyce’s first novel contains some interesting insights, but the cost for the reader is too high, as John Blades skates repetitiously over the novel’s surface. The effect is numbing and ultimately not very instructive. He repeats the generally received but questionable opinion that Father Conmee was a villain, although he elsewhere cautions against interpretations not supported by the text. Along the same lines, he uses Stephen Hero without the proper cautions to explain Portrait. The over-meticulous heaping up of detail in a somewhat wooden style produces a book that is more wall than window. (BW)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Modern Critical Interpretations

William Golding, Editor
Chelsea House, 1988, ISBN 1-55546-020-8; Hardcover $37.95. [

Part of Harold Bloom’s “Modern Critical Interpretation” series, this edition of Portrait contains Joyce’s text with additional notes and critical essays. If you’d like submit commentary or a review to the Brazen Head, please send us email!

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Voices of the Text

Marguerite Harkness

1. Twain Publishing 1989, ISBN 0805780645; Hardcover, $29.00. Out of print. [Browse/Search for a Copy]

2. Twain Publishing 1989, ISBN 0805781250; Paperback, $18.00. Out of print. [Browse/Search for a Copy]

The Twayne series – often more laudable in intent than result – here justifies itself. It’s a short book, written with vigor and economy. Among the opening chapters is a particularly fascinating history of critical writings regarding A Portrait. This book concentrates on the variety of transactions that the careful reader negotiates with the author. As a result of these negotiations and of Joyce’s authorial reticence, it becomes necessary to collaborate with him in the fictional world that he creates. On this basis A Portrait continues, despite many differences, what was begun with Dubliners and continued with Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. This short book is important for the information that it provides and for the quality of its perceptions. (BW)

Go To:

Joyce Criticism Main Page – Back to the main criticism page, where you will find the standard Brazen Head menu.

Notes and Annotations on UlyssesGuides and criticism on Ulysses.

Notes and Annotations on Finnegans WakeGuides and criticism on Finnegans Wake

General Criticism – General literary criticism or commentary on Joyce and his works.

Specific Criticism – Joycean criticism with an angle: Feminist, Marxist, Post-structural, Postquailist, etc.

Biography: Life and Times – Biographies about Joyce, or books about Ireland during his epoch.

The sissymusses and the zossymusses in their robenhauses quailed to hear his tardeynois at all – Send email to the Great Quail – comments, suggestions, corrections, criticisms, submissions . . . all are welcome!

–Allen B. Ruch
& Bob Williams
23 June 2003