On 15 October 1905 Joyce wrote to Grant Richards offering him Dubliners.
By the time Joyce offered Dubliners to Grant Richards, he still hadn’t written the last of the twelve stories he’d planned. In what turned out to be something of an epic publishing saga, Richards first agreed to publish Dubliners in February 1906, then refused to publish it only to accept it again. Richards finally published the first edition of Dubliners in 1914.
Joyce’s first contact with London publisher Grant Richards was through Arthur Symons in July 1904 when he was trying to find a publisher for Chamber Music. Symons wrote to Richards commending Joyce’s book of poems, but Richards’ initial reaction was noncommittal as he felt he would not make a profit on the book. By November 1904, just after Joyce had settled in Pola, Richards’ publishing firm had gone bankrupt.
Joyce wrote a couple of times to Richards asking for the return of his manuscript, and in the meantime he submitted Chamber Music to Heinemann (who rejected it) and to Elkin Mathews (who later agreed to publish it). In July 1905 Richards, back in business again, asked Joyce to resubmit Chamber Music as he had lost the original manuscript. However, having considered it again, he told Joyce that though he admired it he would not be able to assume all the financial risk of publishing it. Joyce, who couldn’t afford to finance even part of the publication out of his own pocket, asked Richards to return the manuscript again.
By September 1905, Joyce had offered his still-incomplete collection of stories to Heinemann (who rejected it) and then to Constable & Company (who rejected it and also Chamber Music). Finally on 15 October 1905 Joyce wrote again to Richards telling him about Dubliners and saying that he would like Richards to publish it.
A few days later, Joyce started work on ‘Grace,’ then intended to be the final story in the collection. He sent the completed twelve stories to Richards in December and in mid-February 1906, Richards agreed to publish. But that turned out to be the beginning of a long struggle that finally ended with Richards’ publication of Dubliners eight years later in 1914.
Ellmann, Richard: James Joyce – new and revised edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Norburn, Roger: A James Joyce Chronology, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.