On this day…3 November

On 3 November 1902 Joyce was invited to dine with Yeats and Lady Gregory.

The invitation came from WB Yeats, then staying at the Nassau Hotel on South Frederick Street, asking if Joyce would join him and his father for dinner with Lady Gregory at the hotel the following evening at 6.45.

It is a mark of Joyce’s extraordinary ability to impress people with his own importance that he had, in a short period, attracted such attention of some of the leading figures of the Irish Literary Revival. All Joyce had to show for himself was his 1900 essay on Ibsen, published in the Fortnightly Review; his 1901 essay ‘The Day of the Rabblement,’ which was critical of Yeats and Russell; and some of his poems, carefully hand-written on large sheets of parchment, which he brought everywhere with him.

Joyce had met George Russell first, on 18 August 1902, and Russell quickly alerted Yeats and Lady Gregory about the newcomer. It was a period of flux for Joyce who was just about to sit his final exams at University. Though he had decided to study medicine, Joyce had already given up his studies by the time he met Yeats and Lady Gregory at the beginning of November.

Between the dinner on 4 November and another meeting with Lady Gregory ten days later, Joyce had made up his mind to go to Paris, to pursue his medical studies there. In a diary entry on 15 November Lady Gregory noted: ‘I think he has genius of a kind and I like his pride and waywardness…. The more I know him the better I like him, and though I wish he could remain in Ireland still I would like to see him prosper somewhere. I am sure he will make a name somewhere.’

Having made up his mind, Joyce had no hesitation in writing to Gregory asking for her assistance in his move to Paris. Writing from Coole Park on 23 November, she said she would be happy to do whatever she could for him, but felt it would not be much. She did contact Yeats and Synge to ask them to assist him, and also contacted EV Longworth, editor of the Daily Express, asking him if he might send Joyce books for review.

One of the first books Longworth sent Joyce to review was Gregory’s Poets and Dreamers which Joyce slated. Longworth even published the review with Joyce’s initials at the bottom, to make sure that it was clear who had written it. Though she was offended by the review she doesn’t seem to have taken it to heart, and when Joyce was leaving Dublin in October 1904 Gregory gave him £5.


Sources & Further Reading:

Joyce, James: Letters of James Joyce, vol. I edited by Stuart Gilbert, vol. II edited by Richard Ellmann, London: Faber & Faber, 1957, 1966.

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

Saddlemyer, Ann: ‘James Joyce and the Irish Dramatic Movement’, in James Joyce: A Joyce International Perspective, Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (eds), Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1982.

One thought on “On this day…3 November

  1. Dear Sir, dear Madam,
    I am currently working on a small study concerning James Joyce’s passage during the months August and September 1926 in Ostend, my hometown.
    Thanks to photographs and letters Joyce met a certain Patrick J. Hoey in Ostend who worked at the Pharmacie anglaise, square Marie-José, Ostend.
    He was an Irishman, probably from Dublin. In a letter to Sylvia Beach or Harriet Shaw Weaver Joyce mentioned that this person assisted at a dinner in 1902 before Joyce left Dublin for France.
    On one photograph (New York University, Buffalo) we can see James and Nora Joyce with Patrick Hoey laying down on the grass in Ostend. There must have been close connections between Joyce and Patrick Hoey. But almost nothing is mentioned concerning this relationship in the many Joyce studies….
    I have contacted the population register of Ostend to find any traces of this person. But in vain! And unfortunately for us the City Hall has been bombed in May 1940, losing an art collection and the city archives and population register. The National Library of Ireland (Dublin) owns a copy of “Gens de Dublin”, dedicated by Joyce to Patrick Hoey. I think Patrick Hoey was born around 1882, the same year of Joyce’s birth. A certain Patrick J. Hoey has been librarian at the Charleville Mall Public Library in Dublin, beginning 1900. I wonder if this man is not same man Joyce knew… I consulted also the Census 1901 and 1911.
    Do you know anybody (in Dublin) who could help me in identifying this Patrick J. Hoey or his descendants?

    Many thanks in advance for your eventual and precious help!

    Kind regards,

    Xavier Tricot

    Xavier Tricot
    Rietstraat 72
    B-8400 Oostende
    xx 32 59 50 97 26
    xx 32 487 680 720

Comments are closed.