On this day…16 July

On 16 July 1912 Joyce visited George Roberts at Maunsel and Company.

Despite having met with Joseph Hone in London en route to Dublin, the issues in relation to the publication of Dubliners had not been resolved and Joyce met George Roberts at Maunsel and Company on 16 July.

After meeting Roberts, Joyce took his son Giorgio to Galway where Nora and Lucia were staying with Nora’s family. From there, Joyce sent a postcard to his brother Stanislaus in Trieste, telling him what had transpired at the meeting with Roberts, and asking Stanislaus’ advice.

Roberts had started by complaining that the basalt stone of the Giant’s Causeway in the north of Ireland was like putty compared with Joyce! Roberts offered Joyce two alternatives for resolving the outstanding problems in relation to Dubliners could be dealt with. There were passages in ‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’ and in ‘An Encounter’ that Maunsel and Company objected to and wanted Joyce to delete. Joyce was refusing to delete them, and Roberts’ latest suggestion was that the passages would be deleted, replaced with asterisks to make it obvious that there were deletions, and Joyce would be allowed to write a Preface, presumably to explain his objections to the deletions.

The alternative Roberts offered was that the book, printed and bound in Dublin, would be bought by Joyce himself who would send it to Simpkin Marshall and Company in London. Simpkin Marshall would publish the book in London and deal with the distribution of the book. The assumption was that the Irish printer, John Falconer, who had printed the sheets in 1910, would agree to the sheets being sold to Joyce and published in England.

At the end of the postcard to Stanislaus, Joyce asks his advice on the alternatives Roberts was offering. Grimly, he added the Dublin was very discouraging.


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 Elllmann, London: Faber & Faber, 1966.

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