Writing Amid Chaos

Stanislaus Joyce wrote in his diary in 1903 that his brother James lived “on the excitement of events.” Until he began to find steady support for his work at the end of 1913, when Ezra Pound discovered him, James Joyce and his family lived in a moderate uproar. Like his father before him, Joyce found himself in poverty exacerbated by heavy drinking and free spending, with frequent changes of address as landlords or creditors caught up with him. In addition to the challenges of living abroad, he also had to endure the effects of World War I and unreliable publishers. His long and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Maunsel & Co. concerning Dubliners amounted to a particularly galling ordeal. But living on the edge stimulated Joyce’s creativity, and in the years from 1904–1913 he finished Chamber Music and Dubliners and wrote most of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Items Exhibited in the Writing Amid Chaos Section

James Joyce. Sketch for Portrait of the Artist. January 7, 1904.

James Joyce. Notebook on Banking. 1906-1907.

Lady Augusta Gregory. Letter to James Joyce. November 1902.

James Joyce. Note to Stanislaus Joyce. Trieste, February 12, 1910.

James Joyce. Circular letter to the editor. August 17, 1911.

C. Ruf. James Joyce. Zurich, ca. 1918. [view]
Toned gelatin silver print photograph

Stanislaus Joyce, n.d.
Gelatin silver copy print photograph

James Joyce. “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.” n.d.

View a photo of this exhibition case

Continue the tour