As he neared the end of his University studies, Joyce began announcing himself to members of the Irish literary aristocracy. His confidence in his own abilities, and his fearlessness in approaching those who might advance his interests, would serve him well throughout his life. For a young man of ambition but unproven talents, he attracted powerful support. On the evidence of only a few published articles and some unpublished poems, discerning writers and critics reached out to help him. Lady Gregory, George Russell, Arthur Symons, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, all lent money, made introductions, or gave advice. Yeats put him up in London upon his first journey to Paris, introducing him to useful contacts at the Academy and the Speaker. Lady Gregory wrote letters of introduction and worried about his welfare. Arthur Symons wrote to publishers on Joyce’s behalf, and J. M. Synge, another emerging Irish writer, supplied advice and companionship during Joyce’s first trips to Paris. This remarkable network of early support bears witness to the young Joyce’s singular talents.

As Joyce slowly but steadily built his reputation as a writer, even more powerful friendships came into play. No other writer would provide greater and more consistent backing than Ezra Pound, who for decades would serve as a tireless advocate for Joyce and his work. The Cornell Joyce Collection contains 58 letters between Joyce and Pound, as well as extensive correspondence between Joyce and other supporters, such as W.B. Yeats, Arthur Symons, Harriet Weaver, and the attorney and collector John Quinn.

Items Exhibited in the Network Section

Elkin Mathews. Letter to Arthur Symons. October 11, 1906.

Ezra Pound. Letter to James Joyce. December 15, 1913.

Alvin Langdon Coburn. Ezra Pound, 1913.

W.B. Yeats. Letter to James Joyce. September 7, 1915.

Society of Authors, Playwrights & Composers. Letter to Ezra Pound. June 14, 1916.

James Joyce with Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, and John Quinn, ca. 1923. [view]
Gelatin silver print photograph
Courtesy of The Poetry Collection, SUNY At Buffalo

Ezra Pound. Letter to James Joyce. April, 1918.

Harriet Shaw Weaver. Letter to James Joyce. March 8, 1917.

Harriet Shaw Weaver. Letter to James Joyce. March 8, 1918.

John Quinn. Telegram to James Joyce. December 8, 1919.

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