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‘Do you think you're at the Gresham?’: Accepting Imperfection in ‘The Dead’

‘Do you think you're at the Gresham?’: Accepting Imperfection in ‘The Dead’ <jats:p> Dublin's Gresham Hotel, where Gabriel and Gretta Conroy end their evening in Joyce's most famous short story, has a fascinating history. It was founded in 1817 by Thomas Gresham, who began life as a foundling rescued from the steps of London's Royal Exchange and was thereby given the name of the Renaissance statesman who built that exchange. This sixteenth-century Thomas Gresham was even better known, however, for his eponymous ‘Gresham's Law’. Both Gresham's Law and the hotel setting and history enter into and help to shape ‘The Dead’. Questions of value and valuing suggested by Gresham's Law are shown to be more complicated than they initially appear, as they intersect with the various forms of hospitality traced in the story. The ‘secondary’ quality of the famous Dublin hotel (built by the second, unknown Thomas Gresham) underscores – and ultimately redeems – the theme of secondariness that runs through ‘The Dead’. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

‘Do you think you're at the Gresham?’: Accepting Imperfection in ‘The Dead’

Modernist Cultures , Volume 10 (2): 159 – Jul 1, 2015

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2015
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2015.0107
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> Dublin's Gresham Hotel, where Gabriel and Gretta Conroy end their evening in Joyce's most famous short story, has a fascinating history. It was founded in 1817 by Thomas Gresham, who began life as a foundling rescued from the steps of London's Royal Exchange and was thereby given the name of the Renaissance statesman who built that exchange. This sixteenth-century Thomas Gresham was even better known, however, for his eponymous ‘Gresham's Law’. Both Gresham's Law and the hotel setting and history enter into and help to shape ‘The Dead’. Questions of value and valuing suggested by Gresham's Law are shown to be more complicated than they initially appear, as they intersect with the various forms of hospitality traced in the story. The ‘secondary’ quality of the famous Dublin hotel (built by the second, unknown Thomas Gresham) underscores – and ultimately redeems – the theme of secondariness that runs through ‘The Dead’. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2015

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