Fiction Spotlight: Joyce: James Joyce

The plague of joint honours undergraduates worldwide; ‘the ones people finish’: Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce’s first and second books represent some of the twentieth century’s finest fiction.

We’ve recently released new digital editions of both of these titles that, while maintaining the central texts, add an exciting (well, exciting for us) new feature: line-numbering.


In these new editions there are subtle numbers in the margin so you know where you’re situated in a story. Whether you’re reading on an e-reader, tablet, or your phone, you’ll be in alignment with your peers. And I guarantee – the line numbers are very inconspicuous once you’re Joyce-deep in an ending such as, ‘How my heart beat as he came running across the field to me! He ran as if to bring me aid. And I was penitent; for in my heart I had always despised him a little.’ Always makes me shudder slightly, that one.

You can resize and rescale the text or reorient the device you’re reading on and the line numbers will adjust to correctly relocate themselves. While this may sound like a simple addition, it required some not-so-simple tinkering around, which was performed in-house by our very own Koko Ekong, who talks more about the books, the code behind them, and how poetry turned out to have a very practical purpose here:

Combine this with the search function built into your e-reader and you have some very accessible and easy-to-reference Joyce. Perhaps you want to find every instance of Michael Furey’s name because you’re writing an essay on, say, the presentation and function of nostalgia in The Dead* (in which case, drop me a line, I’d love to read it). Wait no longer! In the Portsmouth University car-park-turned-library of 2008 an endeavour like this took hours; now, seconds.

The new editions of Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are available now.

*speaking of which, when concern for the misuse of ‘literally’ is abounding, what are we to make of the first line of The Dead, ‘Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, was literally run off her feet’, written by one of the world’s greatest authors over a hundred years ago?

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James Joyce Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
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James Joyce Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
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An editorial about new ebook versions of James Joyce's classics Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. These are the first editions to feature line numbering that is accurate on all devices and at all text sizes. There is an audio segment where Michael Halmshaw and Koko Ekong from the Penguin Random House ebooks department discuss the books.
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Penguin Random House
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