Early Prose in Print

Joyce had trouble with publishers from the beginning. He took unconventional positions, did not respect either church or state to the extent commonly expected, treated human sexuality frankly and realistically, and used the kind of language that might be heard in informal, uncensored conversation. For all of these reasons, he was bound to meet resistance when he tried to get his work into print in the early twentieth century. This was all the more true because under British law, both the publisher and the printer could be held liable for any obscenity in a book they published.

Joyce took an interest in every aspect of the publication of his books, and his treatment of the writing and publication process was increasingly unusual. In the process of writing Exiles, he made extensive notes that amount to a commentary on the play. In the case of Ulysses, as much as a third of the final text was added at the proof stage, which obliged the printer to produce several successive versions of each proof.

Items Exhibited in the Early Prose in Print Section

James Joyce. “The Day of the Rabblement.” In Two Essays. Dublin: Gerrard Bros., 1901.

Edward Arnold, publisher. Receipt and rejection slip for Dubliners. July 16, 1908. [view receipt] | [view rejection slip]

Grant Richards, Ltd. Contract with James Joyce for Dubliners. March 20, 1914.

James Joyce. Dubliners. First edition. London: Grant Richards, 1914. [view]

James Joyce. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. London: The Egoist Ltd., 1916.

James Joyce. “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.” In The Egoist. February 2, 1914. [view]

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