James Joyce: the Dubliners

Hi, everybody! After reading Oscar Wilde, I’m here to introduce you to another great Irish modern writer, James Joyce. Ever wondered why I love Ireland so much? 🙂

IN CLASS: WHY should we read Joyce? Watch the video & write down 10 words used to answer the question. Then share with your classmates.

In this post, we’re going to discover the importance and the personality of this AUTHOR & HIS COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES “THE DUBLINERS”.

James Joyce deserves our ongoing interest for his momentous discovery of the Stream of Consciousness (see Svevo’s Flusso di Coscienza) Watch the video as an introduction to his work. The second part is devoted also to the novel Ulysses, you’ll deal with later on.

Interesting and full of original photos of the time, is also the following video on his biography (6m’) & integrate the info from your textbook.

To know more about Joyce you can browse his official website.  You can find all the short stories from the collection The Dubliners here. 

TASK 1: READ  EVELYN as homework in your textbook. You can also watch it & hear it in this video read with the Irish accent I love so much 🙂

Now, I’d like to give you a little help to understand Joyce’s short story better.

1) Derevan Seraun is a word of unknown origin one of the many Joycean nonsense words but the most frequent translation if considered from latin is, “The end of pleasure is pain” but many other critics believe it has a Gaelic origin, therefore most prefer not translating it.
2) The Bohemian Girl is a light opera written by the Irish composer M.Willian Balfe and not the Bohemienne. The plot is based on Cervantes “La Gitanella” and is set in Bohemia (check it out!!)

The most important aria is “ I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls that has also been sung by Enya ( I discovered it 2 years ago myself!! This is the power of Youtube. When I read the story some years ago it wasn’t that easy to hear and find this kind of info. Lucky you!! There are also the lyrics on the right)

Those who’re interested in translation and in hearing how the original short story sounds in Italian, can now watch a video of the short story read in Italian with the written text below. It can help you after having read it in English.

Should you go to Dublin it’s definitely worth visiting the James Joyce Centre.They’ve even created a graphic novel of his masterpiece!

Our next video is a short extract from the video JOYCE TO THE WORLD that I bought while living in Dublin; it’s a documentary celebrating James Joyce’s Ulysses, the greatest novel of the 20th century that no one’s actually read 😉  Have you ever heard about BLOOMSDAY? Watch the video AND DO THE QUIZ I’ve created for you while watching. No log-ins, nor names are required. Hope you’ll understand the video better 🙂
You’ll share what you’ve discovered in class with your classmates and your new substitute teacher.  You can also watch it full screen if you prefer.

Could I end a post without some music? Of course not! Our story has reminded me of a beautiful song by Glen Hanzard, the soundtrack of the Irish movie ONCE. I think the lyrics can evoke the atmosphere of the story and Evelyne’s frame of mind. Enjoy!

I don’t know you /But I want you /All the more for that /Words fall through me /And always fool me /And I can’t react /And games that never amount /To more than they’re meant /Will play themselves out /Take this sinking boat and point it home /We’ve still got time /Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice /You’ve made it now /

Falling slowly, eyes that know me /And I can’t go back /Moods that take me and erase me/ And I’m painted black /You have suffered enough /And warred with yourself /It’s time that you won /Take this sinking boat and point it home /We’ve still got time /Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice /You’ve made it now /Take this sinking boat and point it home/ We’ve still got time /Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice /You’ve made it now /Falling slowly sing your melody I’ll sing along

I really hope you’ll appreciate this writer and study it well, even if I won’t be in class with you for a while. 🙁

Orwell’s DYSTOPIA 1984

Orwell part 1: Last week, with my presentation, you entered a new world, a totalitarian state as foreseen by George Orwell’s 1984. “Don’t speak, don’t show your emotions! Big Brother is watching you!” The following video is a very effective supplement for studying 1984, with footage taken from the movie by M.Radford.

The next video is a quick and easy 1984 synopsis, analysis, and discussion of major characters and themes in the novel.

The man who wrote this prophetic novel was George Orwell. Watch this video to integrate the biography you have studied in your text-book.

To integrate the extracts you have in your textbook, read here some more chapters from the novel 1984. Then, to check how much you know of the novel try doing the QUIZ on 1984, you’ll discover some new things you didn’t know unless you’ve read the novel.

As, in these days, the term “Orwellian” is rather abused, I found very interesting and knowledgeable the following video by TedEd. After watching it can you now define what the correct meaning of the word Orwellian is?

Here’s the trailer of 1984, the movie from Orwell’s novel. Is this the future we want?

In order to reflect on the meaning and relevance of Dystopic novels, I’ve adapted a previous TedEd lesson  How to recognize a dystopia – Alex Gendler. Go to the given link and do the activities as home assignment TASK ONE.

I now cannot help embedding the stunning, mind-blowing Apple’s commercial that introduced the Apple Macintosh Computer to the world by explicitly referring to Orwell’s novel. It was shown & broadcasted during the Superbowl in 1984. Apple is always one step beyond the others! 😉


  1.  What do you think is the message of the advertisement?
  2. Is the ad effective also for those who don’t know the novel or does it need a certain amount of…education? LEAVE A COMMENT.

One of the best novels I’ve read in the last years is without any doubts, The Circle by Dave Eggars.(2013)  If you like this genre you must read it, I highly recommend it. (The New York Times’ review). While writing this post I’ve just discovered that they’ve  made a movie from it. I cannot wait to see it at the movie theatre!

Last but not least for those who love the Eurythmics and Annie Lennox as much as I do, theirs is the soundtrack of the movie and the song SEXCRIME. Enjoy!

Lyrics:  Can I take this for granted/With your eyes over me?/In this place/This wintery home/I know there’s always someone in/Sexcrime/Sexcrime

Nineteen eighty four/And so I face the wall/Turn my back against it all/How I wish I’d been unborn/Wish I was unliving here/Sexcrime/Sexcrime

Nineteen eighty four/I’ll pull the bricks down/One by one/Leave a big hole in the wall/Just where you are looking in.

I want to end this post by adding an excerpt from the movie “Detachment  (2011) American drama film about the high school education system directed by Tony Kaye,  the director of American History X. I think this scene is fantastic to remind us of the importance of education & knowledge to avoid the dangers of a totalitarian society and regime, like the one depicted by G.Orwell. It can also help you comment & reflect on the novel we’re reading in class and Apple’s advertisement.