Dubliners: An Illustrated Edition with Annotations – James Joyce, ed. John Wyse Jackson, 1995

Irish Writers selection. I first read Dubliners in college and have re-read “The Dead” several times since—love it, as many do—but I don’t think I’d revisited the other stories, and this edition provided so many interesting details that it took me a long time to get through it! Each story has a sidebar of dozens/hundreds of references explained (sometimes dwarfing the original text in total length), plus there are pages of commentary, alternate versions, and wonderful supporting photos and reproductions. Here are some great little tidbits I learned:

  • “jerry hat” in “Encounters” is explained as a “hard round hat, popular in the mid-nineteenth century” but then the footnote elaborates that the full name was “Tom and Jerry hat,” after Corinthian Tom and Jerry Hawthorn, characters in Pierce Egan’s Life in London (1821). A play called Tom and Jerry was adapted from it in 1822, which a) must be the original of the cartoon names and b) was advertised as an “entirely new classic, comic, operatic, didactic, moralistic, Aristophanic, localic, analytic, terpsichoric, panoramic, camera-obscura-ic extravaganza burletta of fun, frolic, fashion and flash.” Whoa!
  • “Araby” references “The Arab’s Farewell to His Steed” [sic–actually it’s Horse] which I recited over-dramatically in character as part of a skit celebrating the Susquehanna County Historical Society & Free Library Association‘s 100th anniversary.
  • Hugh Kenner’s “Uncle Charles Principle“—how Joyce subtly uses a character’s idiom in what appears to be objective narration
  • The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk: The Hidden Secrets of a Nun’s Life in a Convent, Exposed: ILLUSTRATED . Wikipedia quotes Richard Hofstader claiming it was “[p]robably the most widely read contemporary book in the United States beforeĀ Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
  • the Yankee Rubber Baby
  • Joyce’s satirical poems “The Holy Office” and “Gas from a Burner,” with the great couplet “I printed poets, sad, silly and solemn; I printed Patrick What–do-you-Colm”
  • “Among Joyce’s books was an 1893 copy of Jerome K. Jerome’s Novel Notes, with the telling inscription ‘Stolen from Stanislaus Joyce by the present owner.’ Either brother might have written it.”
  • About “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” Stanislaus commented, “My brother was never in a committee-room in his life.”


  • “Rapid motion through space elates one; so does notoriety; so does the possession of money.”
  • “[he was] conscious of the labor latent in money”
  • Poor Little Chandler in “Little Cloud” starts thinking about maybe writing poetry, and jumps right to “invent[ing] sentences and phrases from the notices which his book would get” and planning what version of his name would look best
  • Mrs. Kearney “respected her husband in the same way as she respected the General Post Office, as something large, secure and fixed.”
  • “At the crest of the hill at Inchicore sightseers had gathered in clumps to watch the cars careering homeward and through this channel of poverty and inaction the Continent sped its wealth and industry. Now and again the clumps of people raised the cheer of the gratefully oppressed.”

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