New Acquisition: James Joyce’s “The Dead” illustrated by Robert Berry

The University of Tulsa and the McFarlin Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives would like to announce the acquisition of a new edition of James Joyce’s short story “The Dead.” “The Dead” is the final short story in Joyce’s 1914 collection Dubliners. This particular edition, published by Stoney Road Press, is illustrated by Detroit graphic artist Robert Berry, and has an introduction by Irish Independent Senator David Norris.

“The Dead” is the longest story in the collection and, at 15,672 words it has also been considered a novella by a number of critics. It was adapted as a one act play of the same name by Hugh Leonard in 1967. “The Dead” was made into an eponymous film in 1987, directed by John Huston. In 1999 it was adapted into a musical by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey, originally starring Christopher Walken. With the benefit of Berry’s illustrations, this edition captures the essence of Joyce’s modernist experiment and adds a visual component to a masterpiece, creating a new kind of aesthetic experience for Joyce enthusiasts.


“The Dead” by James Joyce and illustrated by Robert Berry

The story revolves around the character of Gabriel Conroy on the night of the Morkan sisters’ annual dance and dinner in the first week of January 1904, perhaps the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Typical of the stories in Dubliners, “The Dead” develops towards the moment of painful self-awareness Joyce described as an epiphany, and explores the themes of routine, escape and the intersections of life and death. The narrative generally concentrates on Gabriel’s insecurities, his social awkwardness, and the defensive way he copes with his discomfort, culminating in Gabriel’s discovery that, through years of marriage, there was much he never knew of his wife’s past.

It should be noted that this is not Robert Berry’s first foray into the works of James Joyce. He is already well-known by Joyce scholars as the creator of the Ulysses “Seen” project, a digital comics adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses that serves as a gateway to comprehension, exploration, and explication of the great novel. Using a patent-pending digital screen structure, the comic provides an organizing principle for other kinds of content (including and especially various learning resources) by layering that content behind each page of the comic. The Ulysses “Seen” project has attracted the attention of the academic, technology, and popular culture communities.


The staff McFarlin Library’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives is proud to hold this new addition to James Joyce’s scholarship. This book is an example of how Joyce’s work remains relevant after more than a century. Our staff would like to extend an invitation to our students, faculty and general community to come and take a look to this new addition.

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