Sunday, May 9, 2010

"The Dead" in Dubliners by James Joyce

The Dead is generally considered James Joyce's finest short story. I revisited this story anticipating watching the recent DVD release of John Huston's final (1987) film, The Dead, starring his daughter Angelica. I had not read this story since high school, and remember Dubliners as a very cerebral exercise, to say the least.

The story revolves around a Christmas dinner party in Dublin in 1904 and the subtle interaction between Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta, who is reminded of a long deceased lover Michael Fury, by one of the party goers rendition of "The Lass of Aughrim." Gabriel's realization that he had never experienced the love that his wife had with Fury is troublesome to him. He realizes that "Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age."

This has it's modern version in Neil Young's "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)," appearing on his album Rust Never Sleeps, where he sings "My my, hey hey, Rock and roll is here to stay, It's better to burn out, Than to fade away, My my, hey hey."

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