Though their life was modest, they believed in eating well.
Dubliners (Arabia) by James Joyce


James Joyce was born in 1882 in Dublin. He is best known for his experimental use of language and especially the stream of consciousness technique. He studied modern languages in Dublin and medicine in Paris. He spoke 17 different languages including Sanskrit, Greek and Italian. In 1904 Joyce left Dublin and although he spent much of his adult life away from Ireland, most of his work is centred in his hometown. He once said, “I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world.”

In 1914 he published a collection of short stories Dubliners that paint a portrait of the city and the characters that lived there, at the turn of the last century. The stories are all united by the paralysis that his characters feel as they carry out their boring, repetitive lives. Although many of them experience what Joyce called, an epiphany: a moment of life-changing clarity, they are unable to act on it and improve their situation. From childhood to old age, the stories follow the different stages of life, showing characters trapped in a world of disappointment, frustration and failure.


Illustration by ​Libero Gozzini and Ivan Canu, taken from A Selection from Dubliners by James Joyce, Reading and Training, Step 5 (B2.2)