samster's adventures

An adventurous girl cooks, eats and explores in Europe.

Group Reading of James Joyce’s The Dead

Every year in Dublin, the reading group Sweny’s hosts a reading of Joyce’s short story “The Dead” from his book Dubliners. The name Sweny’s comes from the pharmacy Joyce wrote about in Ulysses and though it shut down a few years ago, this group volunteers to preserve and maintain the shop. They hold group readings six days a week, reading Ulysses or one of Joyce’s short stories. Every year on the Epiphany, January 6th, they gather and read The Dead.  The story takes place on the Epiphany in Dublin. One of the local radio stations came out to record it and will be playing it on air in March.

We decided it would be an interesting event. It was only 5 Euro, and a comforting activity for a rainy Sunday afternoon. They held the reading in the O’Callaghan Hotel at Merrion Square, the MonteClare. The hotel had a somewhat modern pub; there was dark wood and that cozy pub feel, but with some updates. We found that anyone attending was welcome and encouraged to read a piece of the story out loud. We declined. I did not want to read part of a story I did not know without at least time to practice. They handed out copies of Dubliners so you could follow along. They had tea and coffee with cookies out, so we had tea while we waited for the story.

We had a man join us at the table who was clearly very interested in Joyce. He had also said no to reading, but gave in when asked again. The reading began and we found they had groups of readers go up 5 at a time. I enjoyed the idea of the reading. It was nice to be in a group and listening to the story. However, the constantly changing voices were tough for me. I would adjust to someone’s voice just in time for a new person to take over. Sometimes readers switched in the middle of a character’s monologue, changing the character voice during their speech. Some readers were great and some were tough to follow. I understand that they wanted to include everyone and focus on the experience where you are a part of it, but it did not work very well for me. I still enjoyed the story, but it definitely took away from it. Maybe I would have felt differently if it was a story I’d known very well though.

Either way, it got us out of the house and on a nice walk. We took time after it to wander around the Merrion Square Sunday art gallery, where artists come and sell their work along the outside of the square. We wandered through the park some as well and looked for restaurants worth checking out as we made our way back home.

One comment on “Group Reading of James Joyce’s The Dead

  1. Gigi Halloran
    January 21, 2013

    Glad to read that you are getting your literary education along with all the culture! I love Joyce, “Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man” is one of my favorite books, and it is an easier Joyce read if you are interested. Take care!

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2013 by in Dublin Living, Ireland and tagged , , , , .

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