The Dead by James Joyce @fahrenheitpress #ReadingIrelandMonth23 #TheBegorrathon23 @cathy746books

Reproduced here in this beautiful Día De Los Muertos edition and published by Fahrenheit Press “just because we can”.

The Dead by James Joyce


The Dead details a New Year’s Eve gathering in Dublin that is so evocative and beautiful it prompts the protagonist’s wife to make a shocking revelation to her husband that reveals an emotionally powerful epiphany regarding the intersections between life and death.

This story first appeared in Joyce’s collection The Dubliners, published in 1914, and is now widely considered one of the best short stories in modern literature.

The title might make you think this couldn’t possibly be a Christmas story but you’d be wrong – it’s as uplifting a story as you’re ever likely to read.

Fahrenheit Press

My thoughts

This copy of The Dead by James Joyce was published in Oct 2021, hence the comment above. I left it waning on my eReader TBR until now and Reading Ireland Month ‘23 seems to be the right time to pick it up.

Was the quote correct?

Well the story begins with three women, two sisters Kate and Julia and their only niece Mary Jane, readying for a Christmas-time celebration. A party! What could be better? A gathering of people making merry.

There is dinner, dancing and a speech. Even though there has been snow, which lays deep on the ground, it has not stopped the revellers arriving. Gabriel has come with his wife. He is the sisters’ nephew and highly regarded by them. He will be making the speech, carving the goose and keeping an eye on Freddie.

There is laughter, music which is a great love of the three women and the usual chit chat is made over drinks and through dinner. One such conversation between Gabriel and Miss Ivors reveals that Gabriel has been writing for The Daily Express and she states he must be a ‘West Briton’.

It was true he wrote a literary column every Wednesday in The Daily Express, for which he was paid fifteen shillings. But that did not make him a West Briton surely. The books he received for review were almost more welcome than the paltry cheque. He loved to feel the covers and turn over the pages of newly printed books.

The Dead by James Joyce

Gabriel is rather put out, how could reviewing books be considered political and brand him so? He now worries that his speech will not go down well and mentally begins to amend it.

It is thinking about his speech which has Gabriel thinking of his aunts, ageing and death. If there’s one thing guaranteed in life it’s death! He’s not maudlin, indeed not! If he becomes sentimental over anything it’s his wife that stirs up his emotions and his feelings of love for her are an endearing element in the story.

Miss Ivors departs rather abruptly, without supper despite her hosts’ pleas to stay, refusing to be escorted home and with “Beannacht libh,” she bids them goodbye.

This brings Gabriel some relief although it ultimately seemed rather rude to him and he is inspired in his speech which is well received. The gathering went well and each leaves having enjoyed it.

In the end it is a conversation with his wife, once they have left the gathering, regarding her thoughts and recollection of past that will leave Gabriel deeply affected.

What a wonderfully descriptive piece The Dead is! It brings to life not only the characters but the gathering itself. It is charming yet not mawkish. It is packed with thoughts on nationalism, music, friendship, love and death. Such a lot that could and has filled many an essay, blog, book and so much better than I could dream of doing. It will continue to endure as all great writing does.

This is my penultimate post for Reading Ireland Month ‘23 . My last post on Reading Ireland Month’23 will be a roundup tomorrow.

Book: Purchased

Reading Ireland month, or The Begorrathon as it is affectionately known, returns for the seventh year between Wednesday 1 and Friday 31 March 2023. So I am reading a book or two for this challenge. You can find out all about it from the host Cathy on 746books

This year Cathy is, once again, theming her weeks and wants you to feel free to join in with this, or just read what you want, when you want!

Intro Week: 1 – 5 March | Irish Classics Week: 6 -12 March | Contemporary Irish Week: 13 – 19 March | Short Story Week: 20 – 26 March | Non- Fiction Week: 27 – 31 March

Grab the new badge for your Ireland themed reading or viewing. Like the Facebook page here and then between 1 and 31 March, post as much as you like about any aspect of Irish literature and culture – anything at all!

If you need some inspiration, check out Cathy’s list of 100 Irish Novels and 100 Novels by Irish Women Writers. Why not join in with A Year with William Trevor and treat yourself to one of his short story collections or novels?


Published: Fahrenheit Press | (28 Oct. 2021) |55 pages | ISBN10‏ 1914475208 | ISBN13‏ 978-1914475207

Buy: Fahrenheit Press |Your library | Your local independent bookshop

Jacques-Emile Blanche, oil on canvas, 1935.
NPG 3883
© National Portrait Gallery, London

Author: James Joyce was born in Dublin on 2 February 1882, the eldest of ten children in a family which, after brief prosperity, collapsed into poverty. He was none the less educated at the best Jesuit schools and then at University College, Dublin, and displayed considerable academic and literary ability. Although he spent most of his adult life outside Ireland, Joyce’s psychological and fictional universe is firmly rooted in his native Dublin, the city which provides the settings and much of the subject matter for all his fiction. James Joyce died in Zürich, on 13 January 1941.

James Joyce was an Irish novelist, short story writer, poet, teacher, and literary critic. He contributed to the modernist avant-garde movement and is regarded as one of the most influential and important writers of the 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles, most famously stream of consciousness. Other well-known works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His other writings include three books of poetry, a play, his published letters and occasional journalism.

Books (fiction)


A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)
Ulysses (1922)
Finnegans Wake (1939)
Stephen Hero (1944)


The Holy Office (poems) (1905)
Chamber Music (poems) (1907)
Gas from a Burner (poems) (1912)
Dubliners (1914)
Pomes Penyeach (poems) (1927)
Collected Poems (poems) (1936)
Best-loved Joyce (2017)

Novellas and short stories

Araby (1914)
The Boarding House (1914)
The Dead (1914)
Two Gallants (1914)
Anna Livia Plurabelle (1930)

May Goulding (1921) | What is a Ghost? (1921)

Play – Exiles (1918)

Picture book – The Cat and the Devil (1957)

Anthologies containing works by James Joyce

Points of View (1966)
Great British Short Stories (1974)
A Century of Short Stories (1977)
The Book of Fantasy (1988)


Blue plaque, 28 Campden Grove, Holland Park, London W8 4JQ

James Joyce Centre, Dublin, Ireland

James Joyce in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The James Joyce Society

James Joyce – Poetry Foundation

James Joyce – British Library

Lecture/Exam Notes about James Joyce’s “The Dead” (2nd part)

Where does the term West Brit come from? | All kinds of things can get you called a West Brit these days

3 Comments on “The Dead by James Joyce @fahrenheitpress #ReadingIrelandMonth23 #TheBegorrathon23 @cathy746books

  1. Pingback: #ReadingIrelandMonth23 Roundup and links #TheBegorrathon @cathy746books – Love Books, Read Books

  2. Pingback: Reading Ireland Month ’23: That’s a wrap!

  3. Pingback: It’s Reading Ireland Month 2023!


Looking for thoughtful discussions about books and beverages? Well, you've come to the right place.

Taking On a World of Words

Homepage for fledgling writer Sam A. Stevens

Books, Cats, Etc.

A place to share my love of books, old and new


Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...


Book reviews by someone who loves books ...

Just One More Chapter

Book Reviews & More

Years of Reading Selfishly

Life is too short to read books you don't love

Crime Cymru

The Welsh Crime Writing Collective

Sharon Dempsey

First Chapter

Beverley's Reads

Book Reviews & The Joy of Reading

the dead authors club

a classics club blog


The poetry and writing of Ailsa Cawley. Welcome!

The Last Word Book Review

Musings about books and a blog journal

Crime Writer Margot Kinberg

...a crime-fictional site

Hugh's Views & News  

WordPress & Blogging tips, flash fiction, photography and lots more!

The Classics Club

A Community of Classics Lovers

Reading Matters

Book reviews of mainly modern & contemporary fiction

Raven Crime Reads

Criminally good reads

The book review café

Book reviews and the occasional ramblings of a book blogger

A crime readers blog

A place for crime fiction reviews and occasional ramblings of a 40 something in York

A Fangirl's Opinion

One Girl, Too Many Books

Jen Med's Book Reviews

Musings and Ramblings of a Disorganised Blogger

Digital Reads Media

Shalini's Digital Reads & Promotions

KayCKay Book Reviews

No one ever reads the same book. We all react to the written word differently. The following are my opinions regarding the books I have read.

Being Anne...

Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting

What Cathy Read Next...

For book lovers everywhere

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Book related stuff in English and Dutch!

Nordic Lighthouse

Spotlight on Nordic / Scandinavian crime fiction... and connections

Novel Deelights

Escaping reality one book at a time

Jess Bookish Life

Reader | Writer | Blogger

Scribbling Clouds

The place where I put down all my thoughts and observations

Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

A book blog with a speculative focus

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Reading under the light of a Carolina moon



Ah Sweet Mystery!

Celebrating the Golden Age of Detection in books and on screen

Bibliophile Book Club

Books, reviews and more...


Life in Newcastle and beyond...

Reviews by Chloé

Feast your eyes on all the books that I have absolutely LOVED


Book reviews and random musings

%d bloggers like this: