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This portrait of Dublin and its people is not always a flattering one. Joyce never romanticizes poverty, and explores how need and social entrapment adversely affect character. He sees his hometown as a city divided, often against itself, and the aura of defeat and decline pervades every tale. He is often deeply critical of Irish provinciality, the Catholic Church, and the Irish political climate of the time. But the collection is called Dubliners, not Dublin. Joyce does not merely write about conditions. The real power of Dubliners is Joyce's depiction of the strong characters who live and work in this distinctive and bleak city.
Mr Gentry: I confess I didnu2019t read the linked article, as Iu2019ve been familiar with the u201cdirty lettersu201d for close to thirty years and donu2019t find them that interesting any longer. Of course I take your point that Nora was functionally Joyceu2019s u201cwife,u201d and I wouldnu2019t normally quibble about it (I myself have never been married in a formal sense, but routinely refer to a specific past partner as my u201cex-wifeu201d). In terms of strict accuracy, though, it isnu2019t correct, and I think that in pointing that out, I was mostly motivated by the writer of the Open Culture entryu2019s having passed up the opportunity to make an additional point about Joyceu2019s rebelliously nonconformist (and to my mind,nforward-thinking) life to Stephen Joyce, again, I didnu2019t read your linked article, and I should have done so before commenting, but my point, again, was to the writer of the Open Culture entry. I would agree that Mr Joyce has been narrowminded in the extreme. I think it would not be unfair to say that he is hostile to even the most respectful Joyce scholars and uninterested in any discussion of the Joyce legacy that leaves room for shades of grey. My point is that that doesnu2019t mean that his position in the matter can be dismissed as that of a crank any more than it means that his position should be the final word. It is a difficult question.