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Dead Meet

This is a new one on me. Along with the worldwide celebration of Bloomsday on June 16 every year, there’s a Dead Dinner.

On the January night James Joyce’s story “The Dead” takes place, Joyceans in New York and Washington dress up in period clothes and reenact the big Christmas dinner and the singing at the center of the tale.

… [Stella] O’Leary recalls starting her Dead dinners the year John Huston’s film came out. It takes [guest] Ambassador Michael Collins just a few seconds to find the year of Huston’s film on his iPhone. O’Leary gasps and crosses herself, saying “‘87, 97 . . . so it’s 22 years”. Guests sing the lyrics of Thomas Moore’s Endearing Young Charms from their iPhone screens.

As [a guest] reads Gabriel Conroy’s closing speech, a website news photo on a phone of snowy Ireland is passed around the table.

… In New York, consul general Niall Burgess and his wife Marie also hold an annual Dead dinner.

… O’Leary’s guests were from the business and diplomatic community. New York is the capital of culture, though, and Burgess’s friends include the novelist Colum McCann, who won the National Book Award in November, the Tony award-winning actor Jim Norton and Gabriel Byrne.

… “Just as the English have A Christmas Carol and the Welsh have A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Dead is our Christmas story,” [says] Burgess…

A few years ago UD wrote about the final paragraph of “The Dead.”

Margaret Soltan, January 11, 2010 11:32AM
Posted in: james joyce

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