In James Joyce's early work, as in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, meanings are often concealed in obscure allusions and details of veiled suggestive power. Consistent recognition of these hidden significances in Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man would require an encyclopedic knowledge of life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Dublin such as few readers possess. Now this substantially revised and expanded edition of Don Gifford's Notes to Joyce: "Dubliners" and "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" puts the requisite knowledge at the disposal of scholars, students, and general readers.
An ample introductory essay supplies the historical, biographical, and geographical background for Dubliners and Portrait. The annotations that follow gloss place names, define slang terms, recount relevant gossip, give capsule histories of institutions and political and cultural movements and figures, supply bits of local and Irish legend and lore, explain religious nomenclature and practices, and illuminate cryptic allusions to literature, theology, philosophy, science and the arts.
Professor Gifford's labors in gathering these data into a single volume have resulted in an invaluable source-book for all students of Joyce's art.