Rethinking Joyce’s Dubliners (New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature)
Edited by Claire A. Culleton and Ellen Scheible
This collection of essays is a critical reexamination of Joyce’s famed book of short stories, Dubliners. Despite the multifaceted critical attention Dubliners has received since its publication more than a century ago, many readers and teachers of the stories still rely on and embrace old, outdated readings that invoke metaphors of paralysis and stagnation to understand the book. Challenging these canonical notions about mobility, paralysis, identity, and gender in Joyce’s work, the ten essays here suggest that Dubliners is full of incredible movement. By embracing this paradigm shift, current and future scholars can open themselves up to the possibility of seeing that movement, maybe even noticing it for the first time, can yield surprisingly fresh twenty-first-century readings.
“It has been a staple of Dubliners criticism that Joyce’s stories are all about moral paralysis, personal emptiness, and social enervation. But, as this new and dazzling collection suggests, Dubliners stories are alive with movement, and are poised on the brink of the social upheavals that would soon change Ireland irrevocably. In them, the contradictions of nation, politics, domesticity, sexuality, and gender are not paralysing but explosive.” (Tony Thwaites, The University of Queensland, Australia, and author of Joycean Temporalities: Debts, Promises, and Countersignatures)
“As part of the rethinking of Easter 1916 occasioned by its centenary observations, this fine collection finds evidence of what was rising historically amid the paralysis that has been so exhaustively studied in Dubliners. Readers confront the tension between inaction and action, the significance of geographies traversed, and the availability of gesture and expression amid transitioning patriarchal, hetero-normative, colonial, and religious forces.” (Bonnie Kime Scott, Professor Emerita, San Diego State University, USA, and the University of Delaware, USA, and author of Joyce and Feminism and New Alliances in Joyce Studies)
“After over one hundred years of scholarship, Dubliners criticism has tended to become overly set in its ways. Rethinking “Dubliners” sets out wary of this problem and is determined not to yield to the influence of established stock readings. We have here a set of ten excellent, fresh essays, contributed by eminent Joyceans, treating a variety of issues with originality and vitality.” (John Matthew Morgan, author of Joyce’s City: History, Politics, and Life in Dubliners)