Dubliners (First Edition) by James Joyce

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2015-06-26 10:55:15

Dubliners is a short story collection from Irish author James Joyce (1882-1941). The first edition of this collection was published in 1914 by Grant Richards, London. Background

Joyce wrote these stories at the height of Irish nationalism, when the Irish people were displaced from a unified national identity, and when influences and ideas were warring constantly in the public consciousness. Joyce intended Dubliners to be sketches of typical Irish middle class life in Dublin during this time in the early 1900s.

Joyce first sent his manuscript of these stories to a publisher in 1905. It was rejected 18 times by 15 publishers. Grant Richards agreed to publish it in 1905, but backed out over various issues of controversy, and a similar story occurred with Dublin publishers Maunsel and Roberts in 1909. Eventually Grant Richards agreed once again to publish it in 1914.

Plot, Characters, Themes

Each of the stories involves some moment of epiphany or revelation for the characters they involve. The first stories in Dubliners are narrated by children, and as the collection goes on, the perspective becomes increasingly older, until the last story, ‘the dead’.

Joyce avoids hyperbole and attempts a simplistic realism to evoke the environment and characters. He also avoids any kind of didacticism, even to the point of lacking any opinions.

The stories are titled: The Sisters, An Encounter, Araby, Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants, The Boarding House, A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay, A Painful Case, Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother, Grace, and The Dead.

Many of the characters appear as minor roles in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

Author

Early 20th century Irish novelist and poet James Joyce was one of the most significant Modernist and avant-garde writers.

Notable auction sales and collecting tips

The original dust jacket of the first edition of Dubliners (1914, Grant Richards, London) is extremely scarce, and so if present, increases the value of a copy significantly. They are also worth more when not restored, and retaining their original bindings. Copies are infinitely more valuable when signed or inscribed by Joyce.

Inscribed first editions of Dubliners sold by Sothebys for £84,000 in December 2006, and by Christie’s for $262,500 in October 2002.

Unsigned first edition copies sold for $6,500 at Bloomsbury Auctions in March 2010, for $9,150 at Bonhams in February 2011, and for $13,750 at Christie’s in June 2011.

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