On this day…30 July

On 30 July 1904 a poem by Joyce was published in the Speaker.

The poem, now Chamber Music xviii, had been sent earlier in the summer, and was published on 30 July 1904 in the English magazine, the Speaker.

When Joyce was about to leave for Paris late in 1902, Yeats suggested that he could almost certainly get Joyce’s poems accepted for publication by the Speaker. As Joyce travelled through London en route to Paris, Yeats took him to the offices of the Speaker to introduce him and to see about getting work for him as a reviewer of French literature.

In December 1902, with Joyce already in Paris, Yeats again went to the offices of the Speaker, soliciting work on Joyce’s behalf. Trying to help Joyce find the right outlet for his writing, Yeats told him it was best to send his poetry to the Speaker, and his prose reviews to the Academy.

However, the Speaker invited Joyce to review a French translation by de Colville and de Zepelin of Ibsen’s early play Catilina. In February 1903 Joyce complained to his mother that he had no money and was going hungry. He blamed the Speaker in part for this because though he’d written the review of Catilina, it hadn’t been published and he hadn’t been paid for it. The review was finally published late in March 1903, but the Speaker paid little for it, and paid slowly.

During the summer of 1904 Joyce submitted two poems to the Speaker and another to Dana. As a rule, Dana did not pay for poetry, but Joyce persuaded the editor John Eglinton to part with a guinea for his poem. The Speaker published the first poem on 30 July 1904, and the second on 8 October. As his brother Stanislaus pointed out, the second poem (Chamber Music vi) was published wrongly when it appeared in the Speaker, with lines 2 and 3 transposed.


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.

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