Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-c47g7 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-19T16:47:27.103Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

1 - Haunted by Hospitality in “The Dead”

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2023

Richard Rankin Russell
Affiliation:
Baylor University, Texas
Get access

Summary

Joyce’s cast of characters in Dubliners, often from the margins of society, gives credence to Frank O’Connor’s claim in The Lonely Voice that rather than heroes, who often feature in novels, the short story has instead highlighted “submerged population groups,” and thus, that “[a]lways in the short story there is this sense of outlawed figures wandering about on the fringes of society,” resulting in “an intense awareness of human loneliness.” Vicki Mahaffey has cogently argued that “[e]ach of Joyce’s works reflects an increasingly sharper awareness that an appreciation of otherness … is only enhanced through encounters with the unfamiliar,” and we see this process of appreciating otherness beginning in Dubliners, most richly and deeply in “The Dead.” Immersing himself in so many lives, real and imagined, different from his own gave Joyce immense insights into appreciating the importance of hospitality toward others.

The two final stories in Dubliners, “Grace” and “The Dead,” celebrate Irish hospitality, the former through recourse to the Good Samaritan parable, the latter by affirming Irish hospitality more generally, through a New Year’s feast of food, conversation, music, and drink, and more specifically, through Gabriel Conroy finally allowing himself to imaginatively, empathetically enter into the life of a dead teenager whom his wife had cared for many years before. As we will see in Chapter 3, “Grace” actually reproduces the main lineaments of the Good Samaritan parable in its opening pages when the drunken Mr. Kernan falls down the steps of a pub into the men’s toilets and is rescued by a kindly cyclist and a helpful crowd. More startlingly, Joyce then reproduces verbatim parts of that parabolic opening in the “Circe” chapter of Ulysses to narrate the Good Samaritan Leopold Bloom’s rescue of the wounded traveler, Stephen Dedalus. Joyce criticism has tended to argue that the paralysis that runs throughout the volume is suddenly replaced with the theme of hospitality in “The Dead,” which was written after Joyce had come to appreciate Irish hospitality while living in Italy—as if the question of hospitality appeared suddenly, Athena-like, out of his head. Instead, he had been meditating upon aspects of hospitality in his life and his work for years.

Type
Chapter
Information
James Joyce and Samaritan Hospitality
Postcritical and Postsecular Reading in Dubliners and Ulysses
, pp. 19 - 41
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×