I remember it so well. I was a student in Oxford – lonely, bored, disappointed. I had thought of Oxford as the Promised Land but Waugh’s “low door in the wall” leading to that “enchanted garden … not overlooked by any window” had failed to reveal itself to me. One evening I wandered into the cinema on Walton Street. They were showing a film called ‘The Dead.’ I had no idea about the film, I just wanted somewhere warm to sit for an hour, and a few moments of oblivion. But immediately the film started, I was captured. By the end of it I was crying and I didn’t stop crying for hours. I’m not the kind of person who cries in films. Immediately, I found a copy of Dubliners and read the story. I still think it is perhaps the greatest short story ever written.
First published in Dubliners, Grant Richards, 1914. Published in the Melville House Press Art of the Novella series. Available online including here