Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories written by James Joyce between 1904 and 1907 and published for the first time in 1914.
The 15 short stories are divided into 4 consecutive sections:
1) The stories of childhood(The sisters, Araby, An Encounter)
2) The stories of adolescence(Eveline, After the Race, Two Gallants, The Boarding House)
3) The story of mature life(A Little Cloud, Counterparts, Clay, A Painful Case)
4) The story of public life(Ivy Day in the Committee Room, A Mother, Grace).
N.B The last and longest story is The Dead, which forms a sort of coda to the whole collection.
The titles of the stories give a sense of anonymity and insignificance, which is reflected also in the protagonists, a large number of whom have no name or are known by a single name, as though they have not yet developed an identity worthy (degno) of a name.
Joyce’s tales have a thematic development, which reflects their symmetrical organisation, so they can form a chapter in the “moral history” of the country.
Dubliners is considered a portray of a whole community because of the combination of stories, in fact, the merging of different voices creates an orchestral effect. So, Dubliners is not only a series of sketches of Dublin, but also a book about human fate, in which the microcosm described is a model of all human life.
In a letter to a friend, Joyce says 2 things:
1) That he wants to transform ordinary events, daily gestures, into something different, something more meaningful. In this point of view, seemingly insignificant details acquired a symbolic value.
2) That Dublin is the portray of the immobility and of the paralysis of a city. By using the word paralysis, Joyce reveals that the main subject of his stories will be the immobility of a city. In fact, he thought that Ireland, at the time, was Britain’s neglected little sister, a colony which had increasingly lost its influence and was failing to achieve independence.