Friday, March 18, 2016

Dear Great Book Guru,  This weekend I will be attending my first ceilidh- a celebration of Irish songs and poetry with acclaimed minstrel Joe Hughes leading the festivities.  I would like to do some reading ahead of time to get in the spirit of things. Any suggestions?  Lover of All Things Irish

Dear Lover of All Things Irish,  This time of year I always take out my copy of James Joyce’s THE DUBLINERS,  a collection of fifteen short stories set in early twentieth century Ireland. All are linked by a common theme: the spiritual and economic paralysis of Ireland brought on by English rule. The stories are divided into the three stages of life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood with the concluding piece entitled “The Dead.”  Each of the characters in each of the stories faces a moment of decision but is unable to act. Pitilessly, Joyce judges Ireland and the Irish people and finds them guilty because of their failure to throw off the domination of England and its agent- the Church.  In each story, a character is allowed a moment of revelation – an epiphany. That they cannot act on their epiphanies only furthers the tragedy that Joyce sees as Ireland.  The songs and poems at your ceilidh will seem to bear little resemblance to these stories, but listen closely and you will hear Joyce’s angry, soulful message.  Highly recommended !

Check out the lecture Tuesday, March 22 7pm on James Joyce by esteemed Irish Studies expert Maureen Murphy at the Sea Cliff Village Library....

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