Some of Ireland's most promising and critically praised writers are paying homage to James Joyce by reimagining his famous short story collection Dubliners as we head towards the book's 100th anniversary.
Joyce described Dubliners, his first book of fiction, as "a chapter in the moral history of my country." In this new version, a who's who of Irish literary talent -- including Patrick McCabe, Peter Murphy, and Donal Ryan -- will rewrite and offer their own interpretations of the classic Joyce stories, according to the Irish Times.
"The calibre of writers on board is exceptional -- world-class," publisher Sarah Davis-Goff told the newspaper. "The new stories are brilliant in and of themselves, and the way these writers have engaged with this classic work is fascinating and exciting. Besides which it's a brilliant read."
While Joyce's Dubliners was looked at as capturing life in Ireland's capital during the early 20th century -- a period that featured the rise of Irish nationalism along with the struggle of traditional industries -- Dubliners 100 will "provide a beautiful snapshot of Irish writing in 2014," according to commissioning editor Thomas Morris.
5 interesting facts about James Joyce
Joyce's writing and poetry is hugely influential, but his own life and mythology has been studied extensively.
- As a young boy, Joyce was attacked by a dog, which resulted in a lifetime struggle with cynophobia -- the fear of dogs. He was also afraid of thunder and lighting. He explored both those phobias in his works.
- In 1909, Joyce opened Ireland's first dedicated cinema in Dublin. He started the venture because he was so beguiled by the Italian and European films he saw during his extensive travels. However, he ceased his involvement after a few months when it became clear that Dubliners weren't interested in those kind of movies.
- On May 18, 1922, he took part in one of the most epic dinners in the history of art. His dining companions included Marcel Proust, Picasso, and composer Igor Stravinksy. The dinner was reportedly an awkward affair, however, with Joyce and Proust spending much of their time discussing their various illnesses and then admitting they hadn't read each other's books.
- Joyce created the word "quark." It comes from his epic poem Finnegans Wake, when three seabirds offer this cheer to King Mark: "Three quarks for Muster Mark!". American physicist Murray Gell-Mann, the man credited with discovering the elementary particle, was fond of the word and appropriated it.
- Joyce spent time in Paris during the 1920s where he engaged in a prodigious, alcohol-fueled bromance with Ernest Hemingway. As legend has it, when the two were out drinking together, the frail and thin Joyce would rely on his tall, burly, boxing-trained friend to be his bodyguard. Check out this vintage news clip.