Sunday, 17 June 2012

Book 51 of 2012: Dubliners

Having finished my linguistics strand of my degree (well, almost finished, still awaiting my results) I decided to turn my attention to my next course, this time a literature one. I’ve actually been preparing for this course since last year (I was originally hoping to do the second level literature course alongside the third level linguistics one), getting hold of the necessary copies of the required reading texts and reading them in preparation for studying them.

I’ve had James Joyce’s Dubliners on my shelf for months and I’ve been meaning to get around to it for ages but I have been rather lacking in enthusiasm for it. I’m not entirely sure why, for a long time I was very wary of certain books which were required reading at school mainly because I either found them incredibly dull, or what I had enjoyed we then studied into oblivion which dampened any enthusiasm I had originally felt for them. However, I have since learnt my lesson; after avoiding To Kill A Mockingbird for a very long time, it was chosen by Josephine for a Book Tree and I just fell in love with it.

So when I started Dubliners it was a very pleasant surprise. I’d intended to read it as my next book-book after having read Thud! but then it was overlooked and I slotted it in as the next book-book after I’d read Bones to Ashes. I have to admit, my first thought was at least it’s nice and thin, before panicking when I realised just how small the print was, hehe. But almost as soon as I opened the book I found myself marking a quote with a bookmark. There’s something lovely about the way that it’s written.

One story at least was familiar to me; Eveline was used to demonstrate a particular type of linguistic analysis in E301. It’s quite nice that there’s that little link between the two courses, hopefully it’s a good sign, if I enjoy the next course half as much as the last one I’ll be happy.

Having studied three different forms of analysing a text for E301 (inherency – the creativity/literariness found in the text, cognitive – how reading it impacts on the reader, and sociocultural – the social or cultural influences which affect how the text is read or written) I found myself thinking a great deal about what we’d learnt about sociocultural analysis. Dubliners is not only dealing with a time period which, although I’m interested in I don’t actually know as much as I’d like to about, and is set in a country which I know even less about. Having read Dubliners I feel like I need to read up more about the time and the place, hopefully it’s something which will actually come up in the course.
There were only a couple of stories that I didn’t enjoy very much. Funnily enough, when I read Eveline during my last course I didn’t really think much of it. Although the stories are all standalones, putting them together in the one book kind of ties them together. While I didn’t enjoy it so much the first time I read it, the second time, seeing it in context, it made a little more sense for me.

Other stories I enjoyed were Clay, A Painful Case and A Mother. I think A Mother was a more complete story than some of the ones in this book. My one problem with the stories was that they were more snapshots than actual stories. I would just be getting into them when they would end. I liked the way that they would give you a little glimpse of life and then that was it, you could imagine the stories going on after you stopped looking at the players.

I’m quite glad that I’m becoming more open-minded about the books I’m going to be studying. At school I disliked what we called ‘textual analysis’ but having learnt about it more in my last course, I’m actually looking forward to what’s coming. I’ve already got the next book that I need on order so hopefully once it arrives I’ll get into that as much as I enjoyed this.
He had an odd biographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the first person and a predicate in the past tense.
Pages 73-73

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