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Course 10—Reading

Eveline
by James Joyce (1882-1941)


In Brief
course10-book Young Eveline sits by the window in her Dublin home, contemplating her elopement later that day with Frank, who becomes her avenue of escape from a dreary existence. This story comes from Joyce's The Dubliners (1914), a collection of short stories about the spiritual "paralysis" of the Irish, who were unable, he believed, to extricate themselves from the bonds of oppressive routine, superstition, and hopelessness. Read the selection.

About the Author
Joyce is the seminal writer of the 20th century, especially of Modernism, a movement that rejected many of the moral truths and absolutes of 19th-century realism (See LitCourse 2). His innovative masterpiece, Ulysses (1922), covers a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, a Dubliner, and incorporates stream-of-consciousness, a way for readers to experience characters' thoughts unfiltered by narration. The work was highly influential for writers such as Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, T.S. Elliot, and Ezra Pound.

Stylistic innovations continued with Finnegan's Wake (1939), an even more complex work set in a dream world. Earlier, Joyce had published a semi-autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), his most accessible novel. Joyce lived in Paris among writers and artists for most of his adult life, returning only occasionally to Ireland.

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