On this day…5 March

On 5 March 1903 EV Longworth sends books to Joyce for review.

Longworth was the editor of a newspaper group that included the Dublin Daily Express. Joyce, who arrived back in Paris in January 1903, had given up his plan to study medicine there, and hoped instead to earn a living writing book reviews, so Longworth’s offer was very welcome.

Joyce met Longworth before he left for Paris for the first time in December 1902. Lady Gregory had already written to Longworth about Joyce, thinking that Longworth’s French connections might be of use to him. Joyce wrote two reviews for Longworth, published in the Dublin Daily Express on 11 December 1902, and another review was published at the end of January 1903.

Joyce seems to have had difficulty getting payment from the Express for his reviews. In a letter home at the beginning of March 1903, Joyce wants Stanislaus to go to the Express offices to see about payment for reviews that had already been published, and to suggest a further list of books that Joyce might review.

The next review was of a book by Lady Gregory and was published in March 1903, shortly before Joyce left Paris. Joyce didn’t write any more reviews for the Express until September 1903. In all, he published twenty reviews in the Express between December 1902 and November 1903. After that, Joyce and Longworth quarrelled and Longworth apparently threatened to throw Joyce down the stairs if he ever turned up at his office again. Though Joyce was sorry to lose the income, he never liked reviewing books and never wrote reviews again.


Sources & Further Reading:

Ellmann, Richard: James Joyce – New and Revised Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Joyce, James: Letters of James Joyce, vol. II, edited by Richard Ellmann, London: Faber & Faber, 1966.

– -: Occasional, Critical and Political Writing, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Kevin Barry, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Norburn, Roger: A James Joyce Chronology, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.