James Joyce: Notes - Textual History [3/4: Dubliners]

Textual History Literary Figures Joyce’s People Sundry Remarks


Notes on the Works (by Texts)

Epiphanies [1902]
“Day of the Rabblement” (1901)
“Portrait” Essay (1904)
“The Holy Office” (1905)
Stephen Hero (1907 [pub. 1944])
Chamber Music (1907)
Gas from a Burner (1912)

Dubliners (1914)
A Portrait [...] (1916)
Giacomo Joyce (1968)
Exiles (1919)
Ulysses (1922)
Finnegans Wake (1939)
Critical Writings (1959)
Joyce Papers (NLI)
Notes on various stories in Dubliners and the chapters of Ulysses are here filed under the title-headings of those works respectively - with occasionally links to particular items at other locations such as Joyce > Quotations and further afield in connection with other authors treated on this website. Further notes on “The Dead” occupy two additional files (File 4 & File 5).

See note on Joyce’s ‘experiment in living’ - infra

New Dubliners ...

A collection of new stories by leading Irish writers entitled Dubliners was published by Sarah Davis-Goff of Tramp Press in May 2014 to mark the centenary of Joyce’s book of the same title. Contributors include Patrick McCabe (The Sisters) and Peter Murphy (The Dead) as well as Donal Ryan, John Boyne, Eimear McBride, Paul Murray and others.

[ For information on The Cat and the Devil/The Cat of Beaugency, see attached. ]

Go to ..
The Works of James Joyce: A Chronology of Composition & Publication
.. in this frame or separate window.

Notes on the Works (by titles)

“The Sisters”
“After the Race”
“The Two Gallants”
“The Boarding House”
“A Painful Case”
“Ivy Day in the Committee Room”
“A Mother”
“The Dead” ...
[Notes on Dubliners occupy two files - this file and another one exclusively on “The Dead” - as infra.]
“Scylla & Charybdis”
“Oxen of the Sun”
Finnegans Wake
1st Draft of FW [1923]
FW - “The Hen” [first draft]
The Tunc page of FW
Latin me that! ... (FW)
Scribbledehobble (1961)
Sigla of Finnegans Wake
Finnegans Wake Notebooks
[ See also “Chronology of Works” - as attached ]

Joyce Papers 2000 Joyce Papers 2002 Joyce Papers 2005

James Joyce’s Notebooks 1904-07

John Kidd, ‘The Scandal of Ulysses’ - in NYRB (30 June 1988)

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Dubliners (1914) - story-by-story

[ See separate file for “The Dead” - as infra. ]

Chronology of composition: “The Sisters” (Irish Homestead, 13 August 1904, uniquely signed Stephen Dædalus [Daedalus] - see copy, as attached); “Eveline” [events of 1894] (Irish Homestead, Sept 10, 1904; rev. Oct. 1905); “After the Race” [based on an interview by Joyce, Irish Times, 7 par. 1903] (Irish Homestead, 17 Dec. 1904). Following revisions from June 1905 involving a pause in writing Stephen Hero after 25 chaps., Joyce supplied Grant Richards with the following stories in December 1905: “Araby” (begun 18 Oct. 1905); “An Encounter” [events of 1895] (rev. by 18 Sept. 1905); “The Boarding House” (rev. by 13 July 1905; MS dated 1 July 1905); “Counterparts” (rev. by 15 July 1905), “Clay” [begun late Oct. 1904 as “Christmas Eve” [abandoned]; completed Jan 1905, offered to Irish Homestead; rewritten spring 1905]; “A Painful Case” (orig. named “A Painful Incident”, rev. by 8 May 1905; MS dated 15 Aug 1905); “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” (fair copy dated 29 Aug 1905); “A Mother” (rev. Oct. 1905); “Grace” (rev. Oct. 1905 [var. early version 27 Nov. 1905; vide Michael Groden in Bowen, Companion, 1984]); added in 1906, “The Two Gallants” and “A Little Cloud”; added in 1907, “The Dead” (completed circa Sept.1907; further notes as infra). Dubliners was turned down by Richards, 1906; accepted by Maunsel, 1909; printed in 1910; sheets destroyed in 1912 [though Joyce secured one set ‘by a ruse’]; finally published by Richards, London, 15 June 1914, using Maunsel’s proof sheets as copy-text. (See Micheal Groden, Pref. to James Joyce, Dubliners, A Facsimile of Proofs for the 1910 Edition, NY: Garland 1977.)

See appendix with bibl. refs. in Marvin Magalaner, Time of Apprenticeship: The Fiction of Young James Joyce (New York: Abelard & Schuman 1959), Chapter 3 & Appendix C; Hugh Kenner, Dublin’s Joyce, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1956, pp. 50-53; “Christmas Eve” [abandoned story], in James Joyce Miscellany, ed. Malaganer, 1962, pp.3-7.

[ For a Chronology of the composition of the Dubliners stories - see “Chronology of Works” - as attached. ]

Dubliners publishing history - Maunsel and Grant Richards Edns.

He [Joyce] first submitted his book of (then) 12 stories to Grant Richards in late 1905. Richards agreed to publish the book, and Joyce added a thirteenth story (“Two Gallants”) in early 1906. Unfortunately, the printer chose to typeset this story first; liable under English law for prosecution, he refused to print what he perceived as obscenity. Spooked, Richards asked the young author to omit that story, and “An Encounter” - and to delete offensive words in “Counterparts”. Joyce refused, and the book was withdrawn.
  After numerous other rejections, in 1909 the Dublin firm of Maunsel & Company accepted the (now 15-story) collection. But this time the publisher, George Roberts, got cold feet about a passage concerning the late King Edward VII in “Ivy Day in the Committee Room”; after much legal wrangling and angry correspondence (Joyce, with marvelous chutzpah, actually wrote to King George V to ask if he found the "Ivy Day" passages objectionable), Maunsel destroyed the copies that had been set up.
 Although it was never published, the Maunsel edition went through three stages of proof, each of which survives in fragments. When Richards reconsidered and agreed in early 1914 to publish the collection, an early stage of the Maunsel page proofs (a copy of which Joyce had secured) became the copy-text for the first edition. Thus when Joyce read proof on the Richards edition, he reintroduced some of the changes he had made on a later-stage of the Maunsel proofs; but, since he did not have a copy of them at hand, he neglected to incorporate into the first edition 26 other changes he had made to those proofs. In addition, Richards’s printer ignored both a list of 200 corrections that Joyce had sent, and another fist of 30 misprints that Joyce had sent separately. Thus the first edition has come down to us as a corrupt text, not only because it did not incorporate more than 200 changes that Joyce expressly desired - including the use of dashes instead of quotation marks for dialogue - but also because it is based upon an early stage of the Maunsel proofs that lacks those 26 other changes Joyce made to the late-stage Maunsel proofs. As Gabler notes, the late-stage Maunsel proofs, therefore, represent the Dubliners stories “most close and consistently under [Joyce’s] control” (Garland edition 22; Vintage 232). When Robert Scholes prepared the 1967 Viking edition of Dubliners, he restored most of the changes made on the late Maunsel proofs, as well as the corrections Joyce provided in his two lists. Superseding the flawed first edition, the Viking edition has rightfully stood as the preferred text for almost 30 years.

- David. W. Madden (California State University)- Irish Literature [ENG 165A] , online; accessed 21.09.2017.

Joyce’s epistolary remarks on ‘truth’; chiefly in correspondence with Grant Richards about Dubliners during May-June 1906.`
- largely extracted from Jeri Johnston, Intro. to Dubliners [World Classics] (OUP 2000)

1] Beauty is the swerga of the aesthete; but truth has a more ascertainable and a more real dominion. Art is true to itself when it is deals with truth. Should such an untoward event as a universal revolution take place on earth, truth would be the very threshold of the house beautiful. (Drama and Life, 1900; Critical Writings [1966], 38-46, 43-44; Johnson, viii.)
2] I am nauseated by their lying drivel about pure me and pure women and spiritual love and love for ever: blatant lying in the face of the truth (LII, 191-92; Johnson, viii.)
3] What is wrong with all these Irish writers? - What the blazes are they snivelling about? O, blind, snivelling, nose-dropping, calumniated Christ, wherefore were these men begotten? (LII, 78; Johnson viii)
4] Am I the only honest person that has come of out Ireland in our time? How dusty these phrases are!' (LII, 171; Johnson, viii.)
5] It is not my fault that the odour of ashpits and old weeds and offal hangs toung my stories. (LII, 63-64.)
6] I fight to retain [these phrases] because I believe that in composing my chapter of moral history in exactly the way I have composed it I have taken the first step towards the spiritual liberation of my country. (LI, 62-63; Johnson, viii.)
7] On ‘bloody’ (Jack): 'the word, the exact expresion in the English language which can create on the reader the effect which I wish to create' (LII, 136; Johnson, ix.)
8] I have written it ... with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more deform, whatever he has seen and heard. I cannot do any more than this. I cannot alter what I have written. All of these objections to which the printer is now the mouthpiece arouse in my mind when I was writing the book. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot write without offending people. The printer denounces Two Gallants and Counterparts. A Dubliner would denounce Ivy Day in the Committee Room. The more subtle inquisitor will denounce The Encounter the enormity of which the printer cannot see because he is, as I said, a plain blunt man. The Irish priest will denounce The Sisters. The Irish boarding-house keeper will denounce The Boarding House. Do not let the printer imagine, for goodness' sake, that he is going to have all the barking to himself. (LLII, 134; Johnson, x.)
9] I am writing a series of epicleti - ten - for a paper. I call the series Dubliners to betray the soul of the hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city. (LI, 55; Johnson, p.xi.)
10] What is the matter with you is that you are afraid to live. You and people like you. This city is suffering from hemiplegia of the will (Reported in Stanislaus's MKB, 1958; rep. NY 1969, p.247.
11] Mother said I was ‘a mocker’. Am I? (LII, 194; Johnson xii).
12] I have tried to present [Dublin] to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in that order. (LII, 134; Johnson, p.xiv.)
13] 5 May 1906: My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present to an indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have written for the most part in a spirit of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still less deform, whatever he has seen and heard.’ (LII, 134; Johnson xvii.)*
14] allusions [to Edward VII] made by a person of the story in the idiom of his social class. (LII, 262; Johnson, p.xxii.)
15] I am one of the writers who are perhaps creating at last a conscience in the soul of this wretched race. (To Nora - SL, 204; Valente, Joyce and the Problem of Justice, 1995)

Johnson on Gabriel Conroy: ‘It has most frequently been read as a tale of the progress of Gabriel Conroy, a middle-class, educated Irishman, from a state of relative self-deception towards an epiphanic enlightenment. He comes to see that that he was deluded, misguided in thinking himself the centre of his own small universe, that his image lay deep in his wife Gretta's hear, that it was him she loved unreservedly and solely, that he had opened to this simple west-of-Ireland lass for the first time to the world not only of art, culture, civilization but also love and desire. During the evening festivities concludig the Christmas season at the sisters Morkan's home, Gabriel fusses and frets ove the speech he is to give later, concerned at every turn about his own image of himself - whether he will be seen as pompous, whether he can best Miss Ivors in a battle of the wits about Irishness, whether he can sustain his place as the favoured nephew, beloved husband, best deliverer of bon mots.’ [xxxv]

*Jeri Johnson remarks that, at the time of writing the letter to Richards of 5 May 1906, Joyce had completed all the stories except the still-unwritten “The Dead”.

Dubliners - epicleti [1]: Poss. an invocation to the Holy Ghost (epiklesis), still used in the Eastern Church but not in Roman Catholic ritual, related to the transubstantiation insofar as the Holy Ghost is called upon to transform bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ by invocation (epiklesis). Joyce’s use of the term to describe the Dubliners stories in a letter to Con Curran of early July 1904: ‘I am writing a series of epicleti - ten - for a paper [...] to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city’ (Letter to Curran of early 1904, in Letters, I, 1966, p.55; Selected Letters, 1975, p.22).

Note: This is commonly placed in relation to his remarks recorded by Stanislaus: ‘there is a certain resemblance between the mystery of the mass and what I am trying to do. [...] to give people a kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own. [...] for their mental, moral, and spiritual uplift.’ However, a cognate term epikleitos is used to refer to someone summoned before court possibly suggesting the intention to put Dublin on trial. [Q. source.]

Dubliners - epicleti [2]: And alternative reading of ‘epicleti’ as ‘epiclets’ [i.e., little epics] is advanced by Wright who quizzes the transcription Letters (Vol. 1), and Selected Letters, pointing out that Constantine Curran gave epicteti in place of the form of the word that occurs uniquely in the letter to him which Stuart Gilbert had copied - or miscopied - for Letters and which Ellmann followed in the Selected - along with the original footnote about the Greek liturgical meaning of epicleti. In James Joyce Remembered, Curran writes of quizzing Joyce about the meaning of the word though no answer was forthcoming, or has survived. In any event, the term appears to have been abandoned by Joyce immediately after and interpretations based on the Greek epiclesis (invocation) of the liturgy are now considered unfounded (See David Wright, ‘The Curious Language of Dubliners’, in James Joyce, ed. Sean Latham [Visions & Revision] (IAP 2010), p.48ff. for longer extracts, go to RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Major Authors”, via index, or attached.)

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The Sisters” was first published in Irish Homestead (3 August 1904) in a version commissioned for a ‘simple’ and ‘rural’ readership intended to appeal to ‘the common understanding and liking’. The story is uniquely signed Stephen Dedalus [sic] - see copy, as attached).

See Hélène Cixous, ‘Joyce: The (r)use of writing’, in Post-structuralist Joyce: Essays from the French, ed. Derek Attridge & Daniel Ferrer (Cambridge UP 1984) - of the first version of “The Sisters” published in Irish Homestead: ‘[T]his version contains no reference to the motifs of paralysis, simony, confession, the Persian motif, or the boy’s dreams. All the passages which connote “vacancy” are late additions. It ends: “God rest his soul!”’

See also note on T. C. Croker’s use of the term “paralytic affections” in Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland (1834 Edn.) > under Epiphanies - supra.

The Sisters” - Joyce added the word paralysis, simony and gnomon to the story in revision. Don Gifford’s note in Joyce Annotated (xx) makes it clear that paralysis was equivalent - at least in the Dublin of 1904 to the medical term for paresis in the phrase ‘general paresis of the insane’, a tertiary symptom of syphilis, citing Burton A. Waisbren & Florence L. Walzl, ‘Paresis and the Priest: James Joyce’s Symbolic Use of Syphilis in “The Sisters”’, in Annals of Internal Medicine, 80, June 1974, pp.758-62. (Gifford, Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait [... &c.], California UP 1982, p.29.)

Original & reprints: The original version of the story it appeared in The Irish Homestead (13 Aug. 1904) as [“Our Weekly Story”], pp.676-67. The text is reprinted as an appendix in Gifford, op. cit., pp.[289]-93, having previously appeared as a facsimile [photo] in Cyril Pearl, Dublin in Bloomtime (London: Angus & Robertson 1969), pp.[24-25].

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Araby” - vide the title-song is by W. G. Wills (set to music by Frederick Clay): ‘I’ll sing thee songs of Araby / And tales of far Cashmere, / Wild tales to cheat thee of a sigh, / Or charm thee with a tear. // And dreams delight shall on thee break, / And rainbow visions rise, / And all my soul shall strive to wake / Sweet wonder in thy eyes. [...; see further under Wills, infra; see also full text in Michael J. Seidel Joyce pages (Coursework) at Columbia University - online; accessed 10.06.2013.

See also Mangan’s “A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century”, and esp. the lines ‘Anon stood night / By my side a man / Of princely aspect and port sublime. / Him queried I -/ “O, my Lord and Khan, / What clime is this, and what golden time?”’ - with a footnote in FDA: ‘The Irish ceann means head or chief but Mangan uses the Oriental title as “really fancying myself in one of the regions of Araby the blest.”’ (Field Day Anthology of Irish Lit., Vol. 2. p.29.)

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Eveline” [1]: ‘The lass that loves a sailor’, which Frank sings to her pleasant confusion, is a line in a popular song by Charles Dibden (1745-1825) in which the love of sailors for lasses is not represented as a very trustworthy article - viz.,‘The gay jolly tars passsed the word for a tipple / And the toast, for ‘twas Saturday night. / Some sweetheart or wife he lov’d as his life, / Each drank and wish’d he could hail her; / But the standing toast that pleas’d the most, / was “The wind that blows, / The ship that goes, / And the lass that loves a sailor.” (See Gifford, op. cit., p.51.) The meaning and connotation of Derevaun Seraun are still unknown, in spite of several conjectures. For remarks on Eveline’s income and the economics of the Hill household, see Don Gifford, Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait [... &c.] (California UP 1982), Introduction, p.13-14 - or extract in RICORSO Library, “Major Irish Writers > James Joyce”, via index or as attached.

Eveline” [2]: St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90), member of the Visitation Order in France, experienced visions leading to a crusade for public devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; beatified 1864, canonised 1920. Don Gifford assumes that the coloured print in the story would depict the Sacred Heart and list the promises made through her to those who display it in their homes, enumerating 12 such promised (Gifford, op. cit., 1982, pp.49-50.) Note: In the Wikipedia article on Alcoque we hear: ‘In James Joyce’s short story “Eveline”, part of his Dubliners, a “coloured print of the promises made to Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque” is mentioned as part of the decorations of an Irish home at the turn of the 20th Century, testifying to her enduring popularity among Irish Catholics.’

Eveline” [3]: The ‘terrible Patagonians’ of whom Frank speaks are identified in Gifford (op. cit. p.51) as the Tehuelche of southern Argentina, a tribe said to be the tallest of the human races in Victorian travellers’ lore.

Eveline” [4]: See also the epigraph to the second set of stories in T. C. Croker’s Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, Pt. II (1828) - viz., Fairy Legends / The Dullahan: “Men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders.” Shakespeare; “Says the Friar, ‘tis strange headless horses should trot.” Old Song. (p.83) [BS]

Eveline” [5]: Hugh Kenner has identified Frank’s story with that told by Othello to Desdemona during his wooing of her, speaking of those men ‘men whose heads / Do grow beneath their shoulders’. Kenner draws the inference that Joyce intended us to see that Frank’s story is unreliable and similarly pointed out that the route from Dublin to Buenos Aires ([in Argentina] would necessarily involve embarkation on a liner from Liverpoo-on-Mersey, where prostitution was a desperate resort for stranded Irish women. [Kenner memorably used the Shakespearean allusion to explicate the story in an MA seminar at UCSB in 1973: BS].

Note: The Frank-Othello connection has been explored by Myron Taube in ‘Joyce and Shakespeare: “Eveline” and Othello’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 4, 2 (Winter 1967), pp.152-54 [available at JSTOR online; accessed 15.11.2010.] See also Sidney Feshbach’ rebuttal of Kenner’s thesis of the unfrank-Frank - as above - in ‘“Fallen on His Feet in Buenos Ayr: Frank in “Eveline”’, in James Joyce Quarterly 20:2 (Winter 1983), pp. 23-27 [Notes sect. - available at JSTOR online; accessed 04.11.2020.]

Kenner has commented on the story several times - citing JJQ, 10 [Fall 1972], 19; and JJQ, 13 [Summer 1976], 429.] ‘Hugh Kenner has commented on the story ‘Eveline’ several times. He has made a lot out of Frank’s saying ‘he fell on his feet in Buenos Ayres’ (JJQ, 10.)} Bernard Benstock tries to correct his interpretation of Frank as a liar and a seducer: ‘Frank may well have suddenly become rich enough to buy a house in Argentina and yet have no better means to express his condition that in such pat terms as having ‘fallen on his feet.’ Frank’s ‘windfall’ nonetheless stretches credibility and a more sophisticated Eveline might have reason to be suspicious.’ (JJQ, 13.) The discussion of Frank by Kenner is a flimpsy house of cards, and b yadding a few more cards I want to collapse his argument. Then, after summing up and evaluating Kenner’s approaches to Frank over the years, I suggest that his Frank changes from being a character in a short story by Joyce to an invention of his own.' (p.223.)

Eveline” [6]: See William York Tindall’s remarks on “Eveline”, in Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959] (1963): ‘The plot is simple. This girl, fretting at a dull job and leading a life of quiet desperation with a brutal father, is offered escape by a sailor. Marriage and flight across the sea promise life and “perhaps love too.” But Irish paralysis frustrates her bold design. The end is not a coming to awareness but an animal experience of inability. ‘ (See longer extract under W. Y Tindall in Commentary - infra.) [Note: the interpretation is obviously simplistic in view of the unlikelihood that Frank has ‘landed on his feet’ in Buenes Aires and other signs that her journey would probably stop in Liverpool if she boarded the boat with him: BS.]

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A critical commentary on “Eveline” [Bruce Stewart / Ricorso]  

 This is a tale of ‘adolescence’ in Joyce’s scheme of the book. It was first published in the Irish Homestead (10 Sept 1904; rev. Oct. 1905) and written after “The Sisters” which was accepted by Norman, the editor of Irish Homestead, on 23 July - and therefore after Joyce’s first meeting with Nora Barnacle on 10 June 1904.
 Commentators commonly say that Eveline fails the test when summoned her to go abroad with her sailor-boyfriend Frank but, in reality, the account he gives of ‘falling on his feet’ in Buenos Aires seems dubious and, in any case, their immediate destination is Liverpool in Britain, not South America. No need to emphasis what happened to lost girls in Liverpool or any British city at that time. With this in mind, it seems that the story involves a double-take regarding the predicament of its title-character: she may lack the courage to leave home and country but saves her life through that very failure. Thus the top layer of any reading immediately identifies her as an example of the “spiritual paralysis” Joyce complained about in Irish people while a second layer suggests that her predicament (and theirs) is actually much worse: they are damned if they stay and damned if they go.
 In a typical reading, Charles Peake compares her timidity with Stephen Dedalus’s show of courage where he says in A Portrait, ‘I do not fear to leave ... whatever I have to leave’ in speaking with his friend Cranly. This implies that he would leave Dublin if he were in her position as, in fact, he did in October 1904 - taking Nora with him. Yet the more daring choice was surely Nora’s, who - though unmarried - agreed to accompany him on his flight from Ireland, risking jeopardy and disgrace among those she left behind and the foreigners she was to live among thereafter.
 Since Joyce composed the story after he met her and revised it after they reached Trieste together, we can only suppose that he had Nora in mind when he created Eveline while the sailor Frank, who wears a yachting, is a good deal like Joyce himself in a photo of 1904 taken by his friend Con Curran. How ‘frank’ is Frank? Clearly he is a member of a profession that is notorious for having a sweetheart in every port. “I know these chaps,” says Eveline’s father. Aside from that, what really are the chances of stepping off a ship as a deckhand and making an instant fortune in Buenos Aires?
 By the time he revised the story, Joyce had already experienced the moment when he contemplated deserting Nora on a park-bench in London. The reaction of his brother Stanislaus when he learnt that in a letter is very telling: writing back, he told his brother that he took it as a sure sign that she would never leave him. She never did. Joyce later called her ‘my portable Ireland’ and used everything he learnt from her to create Molly Bloom in Ulysses – a character of whom Carl Jung said that Joyce knew more about women ‘than the Devil’s Grandmother’. [BS: 04.11.2020.]


Joyce in 1904 -in a photo by his friend Con Curran.

“Eveline” - is available at YouTube online

Eveline” [7] - remarks on the phrases, “derevaun seraun, derevaun seraun” (D.31.135)

Barry McCrea, ‘A Note on Joyce and the Irish Language’, in Dublin James Joyce Journal
[James Joyce Research Centre / UCD ] Nos. 6/7 (2013-2014), pp.148-57.

Partial transcription [McCrea]:

In “Eveline”, the senile mother of the eponymous protagonist repeats on her deathbed the words “derevaun seraun, derevaun seraun” (D.31.135), apparently meaningless babble, which haunts her daughter ever after. There is no doubt, from the rhythm of the words, and from the common Irish suffix ‘-aun’ (-án) that it was Joyce’s intention to make these phrases mimic the sound of Irish; whether it is pretend Irish invented in a state of dementia by a non-Irish speaker, or a genuine scrap of Irish distorted in phonetic rendering by the hearer (in this case the daughter listening at the bedside), we do not know. [...] Any attempt to trace them [i.e., the syllables] back to a precise phrase in the language is futile; the point of the phrase is its lack of meaning. It is a fragment of a lost language and culture, unmotivated signs that cannot signify in the world they find themselves in. Whatever context in which they could signify - a vanished historical past when the forgotten language was a vernacular, or the distorted, equally unreachable mental landscape of the senile mind - is gone. There are the form of Irish stripped of its content, and they represent a pure, radical loss of language.

- Available at Project Muse - online; accessed 11.08.2020.

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After the Race” [1] The central character, Jimmy Doyle, is said to be based on the career of Jimmy Fields, son of Wm. Field, butcher and Nationalist MP up to 1918, who established a chain of shops in Dublin and supplied on contract to the police; called ‘merchant prince’ sent his son to English public school and Cambridge. Doyle divided time between musical circles and motoring. (See Peter Costello, James Joyce: The Years of Growth, 1992, p.106.)

[ Note the damning phrase used for the watchers of the motor-race in the opening paragraph: ‘gratefully oppressed’ ]

Source: The story stems from an interview Joyce conducted with drivers in the Gordon Bennett Race - a motor-car event which represented modernity and - but also risk for young Irishmen not used to such cosmopolitan affairs and prone to be cast aside when their money was all used up. (For his reportage on the event, see ‘The Motor Derby (1903)’, in Critical Writings, 1957, pp.106-09.)

Note: the general similarity of his circumstances with those of Oliver St John Gogarty - education and indulgence in motor-sport - suggest that Joyce may have had another target. [BS]

After the Race” [2]: Cadet Roussel was a French army marching song originating in the 1790s, and endlessly improvised, concerning a cadet who is unfairly derided and bears his lot with heroic stoicism. The phrase ‘Ho! Ho! Ho Hé! vraiment!’ belongs to the two-line refrain, of which the second is ‘Cadet Roussel est un bon enfant [i.e., a good chap]’.

The Two Gallants”: this story is roughly based on case of Brigid Gannon, a housemaid found in the Dodder [river] at Newbridge Rd., on 23 Aug. 1903; her body identified by a policeman called Henry Flower who had actually been with her on the night of her death; Flower tried with his associate Sergeant Hanily, who subsequently cut his own throat in Irishtown barracks; acquitted on ‘No True Bill’; Flower resigned from the force and emigrated; in the 1940s another servant-girl confessed that she had drowned Brigid Gannon. Note that Henry Flower becomes the nom de plume of Leopold Bloom communicating with his Martha of ‘;other word’ fame. (See Peter Costello, James Joyce: The Years of Growth, 1992, pp.168-69.)

Letter to Stanislaus on “Two Gallants”: ‘It is one of the most important stories in the book. I would rather sacrifice FIVE of the other stories (which I could name) than this one. It is the story (after “Ivy Day in the Committee Room”) which pleases me most.’ (Letters, [Vol. I], 88.) He later said that one page of that story ‘gives me more pleasure than all my verses.’ (Idem., p.121; quoted in Magda Velloso Fernandes de Tolentino, “Dubliners: The Journey Westward” [MA] UFMG 1989 - see longer extract as supra.]

The Boarding House” [1]: Joyce wrote to Stanislaus - ‘There is a neat phrase of five words in “The Boarding House”: find it.’ (Selected Letters, 1975, p.63.) Ellmann endorse Robert Adams’ suggest that it may be the description of Polly as being ‘like a little perverse madonna’ (ibid., p.63.) Further, on the word ‘bloody’, Joyce wrote to Grant Richards at the time when the publisher was intent on terminating the contract in view of the printer’s misgivings about the stories: ‘the exact expression I have used, is in my opinion the one expression in the English language which can create on the reader the effect which I wish to create. Surely you can see this for yourself? And if the word appears once in the book it may as well appear three times [viz, also in “Two Gallants” and “Ivy Day”]. Is it not ridicilous that my book cannot be published because it contains this one word which is neither indecent nor blasphemous?’ (Letter of 31 May, 1906; Selected Letters, 1975, p.85.)

The Boarding House” [2]: Polly’s song, “I’m a naughty girl, you needn’t sham: You know I am” includes the lines: ‘Sometimes I’ve had the fun / I repent of what I’ve done, / But not for long! / But not for long!’, and ‘If some youth with manners free / Dares to snatch a kiss from me, / Do I ask him to explain? / No, I kiss him back again! ... I’m a naughty girl, &c.’ (Quoted in Don Gifford, Joyce Annotated [... &c.], California UP 1982, pp.64-65; rep. from Zack Bowen, Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce, NY 1974.) Note: Reynold’s Newspaper was a radical London-based political scandal-sheet of the period (fnd. 1850).

See also Gordon Bowker, James Joyce: A Biography (Hachette 2011): ‘[Of May Joyce [née Murray]: ‘May had two elder brothers, John and William, who did not get on [...] Brother John, a journalist with the Freeman Journal, was forced into marriage when he impregnated the sixteen-year-old daughter of his lodging landlady, something John Joyce, who disdained his brother-in-law, never allowed to go unmentioned. John Murray’s plight - a young man inveignled into marriage - became the basis for his nephew’s story, "The Boarding House". William, the younger of the brothers, a self-employed cost accountant, married the convent-educated Josephine Giltrap, who became James’s favourite aunt. Kind and emphateti though she wasy, William was a martinet who bullied his children, providing James with more material for a story - "Counterparts" - in which a browbeaten cleark in turn browbeats his own son. (q.p.; Chapter 1; searchable at Google Books - online; accessed 09.08.2017.) ‘

Counterparts”: Jordan Burr suggests that Joyce modeled his story “Counterparts” on Homer’ Iliad, exemplifying in an embryonic form the complex ways in which he would appropriate Homer’s characters, narrative structure, and language in Ulysses - a method spoken of by T. S. Eliot as the ‘mythic parallel’ - and that Joyce intended the method to be the antithesis of the nationalistic approach advocated by Irish cultural nationalists in the Fenians movement and the Irish Literary Revival. (See Burr, ‘“Counterparts”, the Iliad, and the Genesis of Joyce’s Mythic Method’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 49, 3-4, Spring-Summer 2012, pp.493-510; available at MUSE - online; accessed 310.05.2014.)

Note: Heather Ingman suggests that “Counterparts” is a re-working of George Moore’s story about Edward Dempsey. (Ingman, A History of the Irish Short Story, Cambridge UP 2009, q.p. [?78; available in part online.)

See also Gordon Bowker, James Joyce: A Biography (Hachette 2011): ‘[Of May Joyce [née Murray]:) ‘[...] William, the younger of [her] brothers, a self-employed cost accountant, married the convent-educated Josephine Giltrap, who became James’s favourite aunt. Kind and empathetic hough she was, William was a martinet who bullied his children, providing James with more material for a story - /Counterparts” - in which a browbeaten clerk in turn browbeats his own son. (q.p.; Chapter 1; searchable at Google Books - online; accessed 09.08.2017.) ‘

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Clay” is probably based on character of Maria O’Donohoe, a guest at John Murray’s Hallowe’en party in Drumcondra who was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour. She was living in the Flynn’s home at 15 Usher’s Island and died at the Hospice in Harold’s Cross, 8 Dec. 1899. She was associated in Joyce’s mind with the superstitious “clay” tradition of the Hallowe’en season. (Costello, James Joyce: The Years of Growth, 1992, 1992, p.163.) Note that Maria cannot remember the second stanza of her party-piece “I dreamt that I dwelt ...”. [For full-text version, see under Balfe - as attached.)

A Painful Case” is based in an entry in Stanislaus Joyce’s Dublin diary in which he records sitting beside a concert given by Clara Butt, who spoke to him in the interval; he recorded her ‘fair skin and large pupils and very pure whites of her brown eyes’ also included in the story are two sentences of Stanislaus’: ‘Every bond is a bond to sorrow’ and, ‘Love between men and woman is impossible becase there must not be sexual intercourse, and friendship between a man and a woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse.’ Joyce called his brother’s aphorisms ‘bile beans’. (See Stan Gebler Davies, James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist, 1975, p.67.)

Ivy Day in the Committee Room” - Joyce spoke of this as his favourite story in the collection. Why? Was it his intractable loyalty to Charles Stewart Parnell and his enmity towards the Healyites and all committee men whose political machinations could be compared with the members of the Irish Parliamentary Party who abandoned him after the O’shea divorce case? Was it the writing per se? ...

A Mother”: According to Stanislaus Joyce, his brother James often spoke of his distaste for ‘puling Irish traditional music, too often heard’. (Quoted in Martin Dowling, ‘“Thought-Tormented Music”: Joyce and the Music of the Irish Revival’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 45, 3/4 [Biographical Joyce] Spring-Summer 2008, p.445, citing My Brother’s Keeper: James Joyce’s Early Years, NY: Viking Press 1958, p. 16.)

Note: Dowling writes extensively about the story in the context of a wider discussion of the ambiguous place of traditional Irish music in the Literary Revival. He also draws attention to allusions to the events of the story in Ulysses - viz., when the Sirens recall ‘that horrible night in the Antient Concert Rooms,’ and Simon mentions O’Madden Burke (U11.138-39, 270) - remarking [Dowling] that ‘both references seem to have no purpose in the episode except perhaps to recall the earlier story’ (Dowling, op. cit., p.456 [Notes].)

Grace”: The story is follows the tri-partite pattern of the Divine Comedy of Dante - Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso - to narrate the fall and redemption of Tom Kernan, a down-at-the-heel businessman who falls down the lavatory stairs of a pub, is resuced by Jack Power - a younger associate, induced to attend the religious retreat for businessmen (‘keeling the pot’) given by Father Purdon - in real life Fr. Arnott (?), here endowed with the name of a prominent brothel street in Dublin’s Nighttown. “Grace” is the first of Joyce’s stories in which the use of a narrative framework taken from a literary classic is employed, in anticipation of the same in Ulysses. That Fr Purdon offers his clients a debased interpretation of the Parable of the Unjust Steward to preach an economic doctrine of salvation suited to their occupation - eschewing the ‘two masters’ theme of the original - is central to the ironic critique of Irish commercial life involved in the story, whose Roman Catholic characters are wildly inaccurate in their allusions to Church history and Christian doctrine.

Parable of the Good Steward (Gospel According to St. Luke, 16:1-13)

1. He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.
2. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
3. Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.
4. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
5. “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6. And he said, ‘A hundred measures[a] of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’
7. Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures[b] of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’”
8. So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
9. “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.
10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
11. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12. And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
13. “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

See also Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper (Oxford 1958): ‘Mr. Kernan’s fall down the steps of the lavatory is his descent into hell, the sickroom is purgatory, and the Church in which he and his friends listen to the sermon is paradise at last. In “Grace’ the pattern is ironical with a touch of suppressed anger.’ (p.228; quoted in Michelle L. Lecuyer, Dante’s literary influence in Dubliners: James Joyce’s Modernist allegory of paralysis, MA Litt., Iowa State University - available online; accessed 12.04.2017.)

Michelle L. Lecuyer (writing of the sin of simony or corruption of priestly office, in “Grace”): ‘Dante, in the canto of the simoniacs, stands over the souls “like a priest who is confessing / some vile assassin” (Inf. XIX.49-50). Dante regards simony as a particularly grievous and unforgivable sin. This is evident from his angry rebuke of Pope Nicholas III’s tortured soul and lengthy lecture on the evil nature of simony. Dante the Pilgrim rarely demonstrates such outspoken anger and repulsion in the Inferno; Dante the Poet even reflects, “I do not know, perhaps I was too bold here” (XIX.88). Joyce, too, devotes extra attention to simony in Dubliners. The sin reappears in more explicit detail in “Grace,” when Father Purdon, reputed to be a man of business, advises his parishioners that he is their “spiritual accountant” and they must “open the books of [their] spiritual [lives], and see if they tallied accurately with conscience” [Dubliners]. The corruption of the Catholic Church as portrayed in these stories and throughout Dubliners is a theme often commented on, but there is a crucial difference between Dante and Joyce. Dante, although disgusted by [it], still believed in its divine authority and power. Joyce, on the other hand, had in his early twenties so thoroughly lost his faith in the Irish Catholic Church that he refused entirely to acknowledge that institution’s authority. Because he is a figure of the Catholic Church, the priest in “The Sisters” serves a central role in Joyce’s subversion of Dante’s allegory of salvation; associated with the sin of simony, he is an allegorical representation of the Church’s corruption and inability to serve as a spiritual guide in the modern world.’ (accessed 13.04.2017.) Note: Lecuyer’ remarks departure from a discussion of the priest in “Two Sisters”, of whom she now goes on to say: ‘But there is something else troubling about the character of the priest [...]’. (Idem.)

Note: Lucuyer further quotes Lucia Boldrini who speaks of Joyce’s parody of The Divine Comedy in the story as an example of his ‘playful and complex relationship with Dante’ (“The Artist Paring His Quotations: Aesthetic and Ethical Implications of the Dantean Intertext in Dubliners”, in ReJoycing: New Readings of Dubliners, ed. Rosa M. Bollettieri Bosinelli & Harold F. Mosher Jr., Kentucky UP 1998, pp.228-46; orig. printed in Style, 25.3, 1991, p.10; Lucuyer, idem.)

See also remarks on the term grace in Margot Norris, ‘Setting Critical Accounts Right in “Grace”’, in Suspicious Readings of Joyce’s Dubliners Pennsylvania UP 2003) [Chap. 14] - here p.198ff.


For more pages, see attached.

[ See separate file for “The Dead” - as infra. ]

Experiment in living’: Joyce’s oft-quoted phrase ‘experiment in living’ is attributed to him in Stanislaus’s My Brother’s Keeper (1958. p.121). It is quoted without attribution in Eric Bulson’s Introduction to James Joyce (Cambridge 2006), remarking that ‘Joyce soon realised [in Paris] that his first experiment in living was a failure’ (p.5) In the extant pages of Stephen Hero, Joyce used a cognate expression where he talks of his ‘experiment with himself’ (Chap. XXI) and this implies an earlier lost passage in which the phrase is used for the first time. It is picked up in Brendan Kennelly’s essay on Joyce in Augustine Martin’s collection, James Joyce: The Artist in the Labyrinth, A Critical Revaluation (Dublin: Ryan Publishing 1990). In expounding on it, Kennelly uses the phrases cosmic solitude .. happy arrogance .. natural anarchy - all epithets of his own. (In Martin, op. cit., pp.130-31.) [BS]

Issy’s religion: In the Nightlessons [chapter] of Finnegans Wake, Issy apparently writes in a footnote - ‘Neither a soul to be saved nor a body to be kicked’ - which sounds very like a profession of disbelief in the last things of Christian religion - Death and Judgement. Maybe so, but the words were first employed by Lord Chancellor Edward, 1st Baron Thurlow (1731-1806) who remarked, ‘Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned, and no body to be kicked?’ (See John C. Coffey, ‘“No Soul to Damn: No Body to Kick” An Unscandalized Inquiry into the Problem of Corporate Punishment’, in 79 Mich. L. Rev. 386 [Columbia Law School] (1981); available at Columbia Law School Scholarship Archive - online; accessed 30.01.2023.)

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