James Stephens (?1880-1950)


b. [prob. at Rotunda Hosp., Dublin; 9 Feb. 1880 [var 1882 by his own account]; son of Francis Stephens and Charlotte [née] Collins [b. circa 1847 ; his father, a vanman and stationer’s messenger who died two years later [1883 or 1883]; after which his mother joined [remarried] the Collins’ family home, Dublin, 1886; and was henceforth called Mrs Collins]; Stephens found begging and committed to the Meath Protestant Industrial School for Boys (Blackrock), 1886-96; competed keenly in athletics with his two brothers, in spite of his diminutive size (4’6”); ran away persistently; ed. with his Collins brother Tom and Dick; competed with them in a gymnastics team which won the Irish Shield, 1901 - despite James’s tiny stature (4’10”; affectionately known as “Tiny Tim”); enthralled by tales of military valour in his adoptive family; first worked as clerk in the firm of Wallace (solicitor) and later for Reddington & Sainsbury, (solicotors).;

publishes his earliest story, 1905 ("My life began when I started writing" - rem. to step.dg. Iris]; took work as clerk-typist [stenographer] T. T. Mecredy & Son, solicitors, 1906; announced his marriage to “Cynthia” [fam.; prop. Millicent Josephine Gardiner] Kavanagh shortly after the birth of a step-daughter, Iris (b. 14 June 1907); becomes friendly with Arthur Griffith, 1906 and contribs. unambiguously nationalist poems, stories, and essays to Sinn Féin; also contrib. to Irish Worker; George Russell [“AE”] reads a poem by JS in Sinn Féin, and seeks meeting, heralding him as a new Irish genius, 1907; a son James Naoise, b. 26 Oct. 1909 [d. in an accident, 1937]; issues Insurrections (1909), his first collection of poems - ironically sharing a title with his later memoir of the Dublin Rising of 1916 [viz., The Insurrection in Dublin, 1916];
travels to Paris on advice of Thomas Bodkin, accompanied by Cynthia, 1912-15; contribs. “Mary, A Story” to Irish Review (April 1911-Feb. 1912), afterwards issues as The Charwoman’s Daughter (1912), ded. to the Dublin gynecologist Bethel Solomons; issues The Crock of Gold (1912), mixing whimsy, theosophy, and folk-tale; issues Here Are Ladies (1913), a realistic story-sequence narrated by a garrulous old man - the model for the Philosopher in The Crock of Gold - and mostly about ‘the extraordinary debate called marriage’ ([excepting “There is a Tavern in the Town” and two others]; issues The Demi-Gods (1914), a refinement of the amalgam first seen in The Crock of Gold; learns of post at National Gallery and applies; appointed Registrar, 1915-25 [var. 1924];
issues diary account of the Easter Rising as Insurrection in Dublin (1916) - first published as extract in The Green Book; in it he writes of the executions that it was ‘like watching blood oozing from under a door’; m. Cynthia Kavanagh, 1919, for reasons of Irish conventionality [as Registrar at NGI]; engages in long-term project translating of Irish saga material conceived as an Irish comèdie humaine; issues Irish Fairy Tales (1920) - based on the Fiannaíocht; settled in Kingsbury, London and works successfully as a BBC broadcaster, 1922;

issues In the Land of Youth (1924), a novel dealing with Maeve’s [Mebhdh] war with the men of Ulster (i.e., the narrative of Táin Bó Cuailgne); issues Collected Poems (1926; rev. edn. 1954); undertakes the first of several lecture tours to the USA in America under patronage of W.T.H. Howe of Kentucky [Cincinnati; Pres. of the American Book Company]; suffered with his health and was hospitalised - Cornelius Sullivan (a stockbrocker) attending to the cost of his return to Ireland; meets James Joyce in Paris, 1927 - learns that Joyce believes they shared a birthday on 2 Feb. 1882 by his own account; Joyce suggested that Stephens complete Finnegans Wake if failing eyesight prevented him from doing so himself; JS visits Romania and meets Queen Marie; continues to broadcast with BBC during World War II, professing himself English, and gives more than seventy radio-talks during 1937-50; settles in cottage on Cotswolds estate of Sir William Rothenstein [patron];

issues A Rhinoceros, Some Ladies, and A Horse (1946), being the sole part of a commissioned autobiography; passes last years in ill-health and depression; received D.Litt. from TCD [Trinity Coll.], 1947; d. London; Mary Makebelieve successful drama revived in 1982 Dublin Theatre Festival; The Crock of Gold went through 46 American editions between 1912 and 1947, incl. 3 special editions for the America forces in WWII; Cynthia survive until 1960; there is a bronze head of Stephens by Arthur Power (1914); his step-daughter Iris m. Norman Wise [see McFate, Uncoll. Prose, Vol. II - Acknows.]. NCBE DIW DIB DIL OCEL KUN FDA OCIL

Note on JS’s date of birth: ‘Behind the humorous recollections, however, is a painful reality: no one (perhaps not even Stephens) knew the date of his birth. He used a birthdate of 2 February 1882, also the birthdate of James Joyce, who made much of this symbolic connection when he discovered it. Oliver St John Gogarty and Hilary Pyle have sought to prove that he was born on g February 1880 (and that his father died when Stephens was two), but they have only circumstantial evidence to present. Some critics believe that he changed his birthdate to coincide with that of Joyce; but his stepdaughter states that his birthday was always celebrated on 2 February, and his friendship with Joyce came fourteen years after his use, in 1913, of the birthdate generally accepted for him. It may also be the case that his family name was not Stephens, that he selected the name to [3] do honour to the great Fenian leader James Stephens. He may have been the James Stephens who was an orphan living in the Meath Protestant Industrial School for Boys in Dublin from 1886 to 1896. He certainly was the Stephens on the Dawson Street Gymnastic Club when it won the Irish Shield in 1901. He worked as a stenographer in a variety of offices - most of which are unknown from 1896 to 1906. It is only in 1907, when Stephens became a published author and the head of a household, that his life can be traced. In later years, he continued to spin stories of his youth. The fragment of a manuscript which follows is undated. It may be viewed as autobiography or fiction; in either case it is an interesting glimpse of the artist as a young man.’ (Patricia McFate, Preface, Uncollected Writings of James Stephens, Gill & Macmillan 1983), Vol. I, pp.3-4.)

[ See James Stephens - A Chronology - infra. ]

Patrick Tuohy
Fine Art of America
Unknown bronze
Arthur Power (1914)

Oil by Patrick Tuohy

Photo-port (q.d.)

Granger Art (NY)

Bronze (Artist Unknown)
Head by Arthur Power (1914)
[ See also portraits ports. by William Rothenstein, Mary Duncan, and Mervyn Peake. There is a photo-series in the National Portrait Gallery (London), with Sir Peter Courtney Quennell, Gilbert Spencer, the Eliots (TS & Vivien), Lady Huxley, Samuel Solomonovich Koteliansky, et al., all taken Lady Otteline Morrell in 1993 - online. ]

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Poetry (Collections)
  • Insurrections [Verses] (Dublin: Maunsel; London: Macmillan 1909,1912,1915), 55, [1]pp., 8o. [ded. “AE”], and Do. [6th edn. (Maunsel 1917), [4], 63, [1]pp.;
  • The Hill of Vision (Dublin: Maunsel; London: Macmillan 1912, 131pp.; 3rd edn. Macmillan 1922, 124pp.);
  • Songs from the Clay (London: Macmillan 1915);
  • Green Branches (Dublin & London: Maunsel 1916), 16pp [elegy to leaders of 1916] [18 [1] ltd. edn. 500] [“Autumn 1915”, “‘Spring 1916”, “Joy Be With Us”], and Do. [new edn] (1917) [poems two and three of these included as single longer poem under one title “Spring 1916” in Collected Poems];
  • Reincarnations (London: Macmillan 1918);
  • A Poetry Recital (1925);
  • Strict Joy (London & NY: Macmillan 1931);
  • Kings and the Moon (London & NY: Macmillan 1938).
Collected Edition
  • Collected Poems of James Stephens (London: Macmillan 1926, 1931, 1941), xiv, 268pp., and Do. [another edn.] (NY: Devin-Adair 1954), 390pp.;
  • The Poems of James Stephens, ed. by Shirley Stevens Mulligan, intro. by A. N. Jeffares (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe [2001] 2006), xlii, 343pp.

Samuel Adler, Four Poems of James Stephens: For High voice and Piano (NY & London: OUP [1963]), score 4 vols.; see others by Samuel Barber and by Michael Bowles.

Note that many of the fiction works listed below are accessible in full-text form either in RICORSO Library > Irish Classics or on internet - as listed lower down this page - as infra.
  • The Charwoman’s Daughter (London: Macmillan 1912), 228pp. [see list of editions];
  • The Crock of Gold (London: Macmillan 1912), 311pp. [see editions and extract];
  • Here Are Ladies (London: Macmillan 1913), 348pp [see details & text];
  • The Demi-Gods (London: Macmillan 1914); Do., [another edn.] intro. by Augustine Martin (Dublin 1982).
  • [as James Esse,] Hunger: A Dublin Story (Dublin: Candle Press 1918);
  • Irish Fairy Tales, retold by James Stephens (London: Macmillan 1920) [see details], ill. by Arthur Rackham [inc. “The Story of Tuan MacCairill”, 1923 edn. pp.1-33]; Do. [ facs. rep.] (London: Godfrey Cave Assoc. 1979), x+318pp, 16 pls.; Do., rep. (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1995);
  • In the Land of Youth (London & NY: Macmillan 1924), 303pp.;
  • Etched in Moonlight (London & NY: Macmillan 1928), 198pp.;
  • Deirdre (London & NY: Macmillan 1923), 286pp., and Do. [in French trans. as Deirdre] (Paris: Stock 1947);
  • How St. Patrick Saved the Irish (priv. 1931)
  • Julia Elizabeth: A Comedy, in One Act (NY 1929) [orig. developed as a dialogue in “Three Lovers Lost” in Here are Ladies);
  • The Optimist (q.pub. 1929)
  • The Outcast [Ariel ser.] (London: Faber & Faber1929)
Selected & Collected Edns.
  • Lloyd Frankenburg, ed., James Stephens: A Selection (London & NY: Macmillan 1962);
  • Frankenburg, ed., James, Seumas and Jacques: Unpublished Writings (London & NY: Macmillan 1964;
  • Augustine Martin, ed., Desire and Other Stories ([q. pub.] 1981);
  • Patricia McFate, ed., Uncollected Prose of James Stephen, 2 vols. (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1983) [Vol. 1, 1907-15, 128pp., front. - see contents; Vol. 2, 1916-48, xvi, 131-299pp.];
  • Shirley Stevens Mulligan, ed., The Poems of James Stephens (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 2007), 361pp.
  • The Insurrection in Dublin (Maunsel/Macmillan 1916), xiv+111pp. [details];
  • Arthur Griffith, Journalist and Statesman (Dublin: Wilson, Hartnell & Co. [1924]);
  • On Prose and Verse (NY: Bowling Green Press 1928);
  • Themes and Variations (NY; The Fountain Press 1930) [ltd. 850 copies.]
  • “How the Husband of the Thin Woman Lost his Brother”, in Irish Review (Aug 1912), pp.396-03.
  • Richard J. Finneran, ed., Letters of James Stephens (London & NY: Macmillan 1974), with listing of published writings, xxiv+481pp., 8[pp.] plates, facs., ports.;

A BBC talk on W. B. Yeats (London 1948) - see further under Yeats, infra).

Note: Etched in Moonlight (London: Macmillan & Co. 1928), ltd. edn. [presentation copy ‘For James Joyce with affectionate regards. James Stephens’; Kings and the Moon (NY: Macmillan Co. 1938) [presentation copy: ‘For James Joyce from James Stephens on our birthday 2nd Feb. 1939]’; see The Personal Library of James Joyce; ed. Thomas E. Connolly (Buffalo UL 1953), p.35.

Electronic editions

Ricorso Editions of the Works (in-window & download)
Title Available as ..
The Charwoman’s Daughter (1912)
The Crock of Gold (1912)
Here Are Ladies (1913)
Irish Fairy Tales (London: Macmillan 1920)
Insurrection - (Dublin: Maunsel 1916)
NB: .doc files will download; others appear in frame.

Internet Editions of the Works at Internet Archive
The Crock of Gold (NY Macmillan [1912])
The Demigods (NY: Macmillan 1917)
Irish Fairy Tales (1920), ill. Arthur Rackham
Collected Poems (London: Macmillan 1926)
Insurrection in Dublin (Dublin: Maunsel & Co 1916)
The Gutenberg Project Editions of the Works
Here Are Ladies (NY 1914)
Irish Fairy Tales (London: Macmillan 1920)

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Bibliographical details
The Charwoman’s Daughter (1912)
    • The Charwoman’s Daughter (London: Macmillan 1912), 228pp. [first serialised in The Irish Review, ed. Thomas MacDonagh, April 1911-Feb. 1912], publ. in America as Mary, Mary (Boston: Small, Maynard 1912); Do. [viz., Charwoman], rep. with intro. by Hilary Pyle (London: Sceptre Books 1966); rep., with intro. by Augustine Martin (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1972), 128pp.; French trans. as Mary Semblant (Paris: Rieder 1927), with French preface in by Stephens; another edition [facs. of London 1917] (USA: Andesite Press n.d.) [/ Creativemedia.io - www.ICGtesting.com); also available at Gutenberg Project [Aus.] - online.

The Crock of Gold (1912)

Macmillan edition

    • The Crock of Gold (London: Macmillan [Oct.] 1912), [2], v, [1], 311, [5]p. ; 19cm.; Do. [2nd imp. Nov. 1912; also 1913, 1914, 1916, 1918), [3pp.], v-[vi], 311, [1]pp., 19 cm.; Do (London: Macmillan 1922), 298pp., ill. [drawings by Wilfred Jones, some col.]; Do. [Macmillan Facsimile Classic Ser.] (London: Macmillan 1926), [3], v-[vi] 1-311, [1]pp. [227pp.]; Do. [printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh] (NY: Macmillan 1926), [10], 227, [5]p., ill. [12 colour pls. and decorative headings & tailpieces by Thomas Mackenzie]; Do. (London: Macmillan 1928), v, 311pp.; Do. (NY: Macmillan [St. Martin’s Press] 1953, 1965), v-311pp.; Do. [facs. of London 1926 Edn.] (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1980, 1995), 227pp.

Pan edition*

    • Do., foreword specially written for the Pan edition by Walter de la Mare (London: Pan Books 1953), 190pp., and Do. [reps. of 1953 edn.] (1965, 1973, 1978), 190pp.
*Note: Pan is the paperback division of Macmillan, London.

Other editions

    • Do., With an introduction by Clifton Fadiman (NY: The Limited Editions Club New York 1942), ill. [by Robert Lawson], [10], 163, [3]pp., 29.7 cm. [1,500 copies].†

†See The Monthly Letter of The Limited Editions Club, No. 146 (June 1942), published to coincide with distrib. of an illustrated edn. of The Crock of Gold , which includes a preface to The Crock of Gold by Clifton Fadiman.]


    • Do., trans. as Götter, Menschen, Kobolde: eine irische Erzählung [übertragen von Herta Hartmanshenn] (Wiesbaden: Bu¨chdruckerei Reinhold Witting 1947), 160pp.;
    • Do., trans. as Le pot d’or [traduit de l’anglais par A. et M. Malblanc] (Paris: F. Rieder et Cie. 1925), 240pp.
Note: The Crock of Gold (1912) went through 46 American editions between 1912 and 1947, incl. 3 special editions for use by the America forces in WWII. In America the work was generally read for its Irish folklore without reference to the satirical line of the story. (See Eamon Kelly, review of After the Flood: Irish America, 1945-1960, ed. Matthew J. O’Brien & James Silas Rogers, 2009, in Books Ireland, March 2011, p.49.) See also extracts and plot summary, infra; for full-text version, see RICORSO Library > Classics > James Stephens - as .pdf [in-frame] or .doc [download].

Here are Ladies (London: Macmillan 1913), 348pp - Contents: “Women”; “Three Heavy Husbands”; “A Glass of Bee”; “One and One”; “Three Women Who Wept”; “The Triangle”; “The Daisies”; “Three Angry People”; “The Threepenny Piece”; “Brigid”; “Three Young Wives”; “The Horses Mistress”; “Quiet Eyes”; “Three Lovers Who Lost”; “The Blind Man”; “Sweet-Apple”; “Three Happy Places”; “The Moon”; “There Is a Tavern in the Town” (70pp.). [See full-text copy in RICORSO Library > Irish Classics - via index & direct or attached].

The Insurrection in Dublin (1916)
The Insurrection in Dublin [1st edn.] (Dublin & London: Maunsel & Company Ltd 1916), xiv+111pp. [also a 2nd impression]; Do. (NY: Macmillan 1916), 148pp.; Do. [6th edn.] (Dublin: Maunsel & Company Ltd 1917); Do. (NY: The Macmillan Company 1917). 148pp.; Do. (Dublin & London: Maunsel & Company Ltd 1919). 111pp.; Do. [3rd edn.] (Chicago: Scepter Books 1965). 100pp. [copyright Iris Wyse]; Do [rep. edn.], with an introduction & afterword by John A. Murphy [ facs. of Maunsel Edn of 1916] (Gerrard’s Cross, Bucks.: Colin Smythe 1978; rep. 1992). xxxiv, 116pp., ill. (See extracts, infra; for full-text version, see RICORSO Library > Classics > James Stephens - Insurrection - in this window, or attached; also as .doc [download])

Irish Fairy Tale (1920)

Irish Fairy Tales, by James Stephens, ill. by John Rackham (NY: Macmillan 1920), 318pp. CONTENTS: The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill; The Boyhood of Fionn; The Birth of Bran; Oisin’s Mother; The Wooing of Becfola; The Little Brawl at Allen; The Carl of the Drab Coat; The Enchanted Cave of Cesh Corran; Mongan’s Frenzy. [Available at Sacred Texts online; accessed 25.10.2010; also at Gutenberg Project online- and see copy in RICORSO - direct or attached; also separately as .doc. and .pdf.]

[Note: A signed copy of Collected Poems of James Stephens (Macmillan 1926) [ltd. edn. 500 large paper copies], 260pp. [ded. “AE”; is in the possession of Joan Bullock, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh - a grand-neice of Shan Bullock, q.v.]

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Uncollected Prose of James Stephens, ed. Patricia McFate, 2 vols. (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1983)
[Vol. 1 128pp; Vol. II, 71pp. - but notice that the 2 volumes are page-numbered continuously]
Vol. 1: 1907-15
Autobiographical Fragment, pp.5-9; PROSE WRITINGS - UNDATED The Seoinin [i.e., Shoneen/West-Briton, pp.17-20; Builders Pages, pp.20-23; Patriotism and Parochial Politics, pp.23-26; Irish Englishmen pp.26-29; Poetry, pp.29-32; Mrs Maurice M’Quillan, pp.32-36; Tattered Thoughts, pp.37-41; The Insurrection of ’98, pp.47-54; Success, pp.55-58; The Old Philosopher Discourses on the Viceregal Microbe, pp.58-61; The Old Philosopher Discourses on Government. pp.61-64; Imagination, pp.64-67; Irish Idiosyncrasies, pp.67-76; Good and Evil, pp.76-78; On Politeness, pp.78-81; Facts, pp.81-84; A Gaelic League Art Exhibition, pp.84-85; Caricatures, pp.86-87; The Old Philosopher Discourses on Lawyers, pp.87-90; The Populace Mind: I, pp.97-98; The Populace Mind: II; pp.99-101; The Populace Mind: III, pp.102-103; The Populace Mind: IV; pp.104-106; In Shining Armour, pp.106-109; Come Off That Fence!, pp.109-112; Going to Work, pp.112-115; An Essay in Cubes, pp.115-125; The Old Woman’s Money, pp.125-128. [Available as readable text at Springer - online; accessed 26.09.2020.]
Vol 2 - 1916-48
Portrait of the Author as a Celebrity Frontispiece [phot.], ix; Preface [ix]; Acknowledgements [x]; Chronology [xii]. PROSE WRITINGS -1916-25: God Bless the Work [135]; In the Interval [139]; In the Silence [139]; Conscription and the Return of the Dog [141]; Phamphlet [143]; Crèpe de Chine [144]; Sawdust [149]; The Birthday Party [154]; Dublin/A City of Wonderful Dreams/Silent and Voluble Folk [158]; Mythology/Quaint Tales of Origination/The Cult of Death [163]; The Thieves [170]; Ireland Returning to Her Fountains [177]; And Adventure in Prophecy [181]; The Outlook for Literature with Special Reference to Ireland [185]; An Interview with Mr James Stephens by our Special Correspondent [James Esse]; Tochmairc Etaine: The Immortal Hour, I [199]; Tochmairc Etaine: The Immortal Hour, II [202]; The Novelist and Final Utterance [204]]; Growth in Fiction [208]. PROSE WRITINGS - 1926-37: London Woos a Man [215]; Trying to Find the Strand [218]; How St Patrick Saves the Irish [22]; For St Patrick’s Day [223]; A Poetry Reading with Comments [226]; The Passing of “Æ” [230], PROSE WRITINGS - 1938-48: Thomas Moore: Champion Minor Poet [239]; The “Period Talent” of G K. Chesterton [243]; W. B. Yeats: A Tribute [248]. TWO PLAYS, 1921 & 1929: The Demi-Gods [255]; Julia Elizabeth: A Comedy in One Act [289]; Select Bibliography [ 297]. Includes other titles. [Available at Google Books - online; accessed 04.06.2020; TOC and some pages available at Springer - as download; accessed 26.09.2020.] Note: Many of the individual pieces works are by-lined James Esse.
Patricia McFate, ed., Uncollected Prose of James Stephen (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1983), Vol. 2 - Contents [available at Google Books online - with links to texts in blue; accessed 04.06.2020]

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  • Patricia McFate, Writings of James Stephens (London: Macmillan 1979), xiv, 183pp. [chaps. Stephens: the Man, the Writer, the Enigma [1-22]; The Dance of Life [23-57]; The Quest That Destiny Commands [58-87]; Make it Sing/Make it New [88-119 - see extract]; The Art and Craft of Prose [120-41].
  • Margaret Black, James Stephens: Creative Artist and Irish Nationalist (Kent State University, Department of English 1976). Masters thesis 116pp.
  • Birgit Bramsbäck, James Stephens: A Literary and Bibliographical Study [Upsala Irish Studies, No. 4] (Upsala and Cambridge, MA: Lundequist and Harvard University Press 1959);
General studies

Early reviews incl. Rebecca West, review of The Charwoman's Daughter, in Freewoman: A Weekly Feminist Review, 1: 20 (4 April 1912), pp.358-88 [cited in Werner Huber, 1995, infra].

  • I. A. Williams, Bibliographies of Modern Authors: J. C. Squires and James Stephens (Folcroft 1922), and Do. [facs. rep.] (1973) [ltd. edn. 100 copies];
  • Benedict Kiely, ‘Clay and Gods and Men: The Worlds of James Stephens’, in The Irish Bookman (October 1946), [q.p.], rep. in ‘A Raid into Dark Corners and Other Essays (Cork UP 1999), pp. 84-94;
  • Vivian Mercier, ‘James Stephens, His Version of Pastoral’, in Irish Writing, 14 (March 1951), pp.47-59;
  • Oliver St John Gogarty, ‘James Stephens?’ in Colby Library Quarterly [‘A Tribute to James Stephens (1882-1950)] (March 1961), pp.203-15 [available online; accessed 2409.2020; afterwards printed in Gogarty’s The Nine Worthies];
  • Richard Cary, ‘James Stephens at Colby College’, in Colby Library Quarterly, 5: 9 (March 1961), pp.224-53 [Catalogue of memorabilia].
  • Birgit Bramsbrack, ‘James Stephens: Dublin - Paris - Return’, in Colby Library Quarterly [‘A Tribute to James Stephens (1882-1950)] (March 1961) , pp.203-15.
  • Augustine Martin, ‘The Crock of Gold: Fifty Years After’, in Colby Library Quarterly, 6, 4 (1962), pp.148-58 [see extract];
  • Augustine Martin, ‘The Short Stories of James Stephens’, in Colby Quarterly, Vol. 6 (Dec. 1963), ppp.343-53 [see extract & copy - as attached].
  • Hilary Pyle, James Stephens, His Work and An Account of His Life (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1965), xi [1], 196pp. [2 lvs of pls.];
  • Patricia Ann McFate, ‘James Stephens’s Deirdre’, in Éire-Ireland, 4, 3 (Autumn 1969), pp.87-93 [see extract];
  • Birgit Brämsback, James Stephens: A Literary and Bibliography Study (Uppsala/Dublin Hodges Figgis 1959); Do. (Folcroft Lib. Eds. 1973), 209pp. [see details]; and Do. (Philadelphia, PA: R. West 1977), 209pp.;
  • Richard Finneran, ‘James Joyce and James Stephens: The Record of a Friendship with Unpublished Letters from Joyce to Stephens’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 11, 3 (Spring 1974), pp.279-92 [see extract; available at JSTOR - online; accessed 02.09.2020];
  • Robert Hogan, ed., The Journal of Irish Literature, Vol. IV, 3 [, “James Stephens Special Number”, ed. and intro. by Richard J. Finneran & Patricia McFate], 4, 3 (Sept. 1975), 200pp.; play-version of The Demi-gods, 3 acts; also ‘Uncollected Early Writings’, ed. Patricia McFate, pp.47-61 - incls. fiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews.
  • Augustine Martin, James Stephens, A Critical Study (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1977), xii, 177pp. [see extract];
  • Richard J. Finneran, Letters of James Stephens: with an appendix listing Stephens’s published writings (London: Macmillan 1974). 481pp.
  • Richard Finneran, ‘Literature and Nationality in the Work of James Stephens’, in South Atlantic Bulletin, XL: 4 (Nov. 1975), pp.18-25.
  • Jochen Achilles, ‘The Charwoman’s Daughter and the Emergence of National Psychology’, in Irish University Review, XI: 2 (Autumn 1981), pp.184-97.
    Richard Finneran, The Olympian and the Leprechaun, W. B. Yeats and James Stephens [New Yeats Papers 16] (Dublin: Dolmen 1978), 36pp.;
  • John A. Murphy, intro. & afterword to James Stephens, The Insurrection in Dublin [rep. edn.] (Gerrard’s Cross, Bucks.: Colin Smythe 1978), xxxiv[35]pp.
  • Alan Warner, ‘James Stephens’, in A Guide to Anglo-Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1981), pp.121-131;
  • Jochen Achilles, ‘The Charwoman’s Daughter and the Emergence of National Psychology’, in Irish University Review 11, 2 (Autumn 1981), pp.184-97 [see first page - infra.]
  • Anthony Cronin, ‘James Stephens: The Gift of the Gab’, in Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language (Dingle: Brandon 1982), pp.147-55;
  • Steven Putzel, ‘James Stephens‘s Paradoxical Dublin’, in The Irish Writer and the City, ed. Maurice Harmon (Gerrards Cross 1984), pp.103-14.
  • Steven Putzel, ‘Portraits of Paralysis: Stories by Joyce and Stephens,’ Colby Library Quarterly, 20: 4 (Dec. 1984), pp.199-205 [available online];
  • Léon Ó Bróin, Protestant Nationalists in Revolutionary Ireland (1985), p.129 [see extract];
  • John Cronin, ‘James Stephens, The Crock of Gold’, in The Anglo-Irish Novel, Vol. II (Belfast: Appletree Press 1990), pp.47-60;
  • Brigit Bramsback: ‘James Stephens and Paris: Insight […] from Letters to Thomas Bodkin’, in Ireland and France - A Bountiful Friendship: Essays in Honour of Patrick Rafroidi, ed. Barbara Hayley & Christopher Murray (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1992), pp.93-106 [being an enl. vers. of Bramsback, ‘James Stephens: Dublin-Paris-Return’, in Colby Library Quarterly, ed. D. Archibald (March 1961), pp.21-224.
  • [...]
  • Michael F. Hart, ‘The Sign of Contradiction: Joyce, Yeats, and “The Tables of the Law”’ Colby Library Quarterly, 30: 4 (Dec. 1994), pp.237-42;
  • Werner Huber, ‘Towards a “Comédie Humaine of Ireland” The Politics of James Stephens’s Early Novels’, in Troubled Histories, Troubled Fictions: Twentieth-century Anglo-Irish Prose, ed. Theo d’ Haen, José Lanters [The Literature of Politics and the Politics of Literature, Vol. 4] (Amsterdam & Atlanta, GA: Rodopi 1995), pp.95-104 [see extract].
  • Joseph Lennon, ‘James Stephens’s Diminutive National Narratives: Imagining an Irish Nation Based on the “Orient”’, in The Comparatist, ‘Postcolonial Theory and Irish Literature’ [Special Issue, guest ed., Michael R. Molino], Vol. XX [Virginia Commonwealth Univ.] (May 1996), pp.62-81.
  • William Sayers, ‘Molly’s Monologue and the Old Woman’s Complaint in James Stephens’s The Crock of Gold’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 36: 3 (Spring 1999), pp.640-50; available at JSTOR - online];
  • Derek John, ‘James Stephens (1880-1950)’, in The Green Book: Writings on Irish Gothic, Supernatural and Fantastic Literature, 12 [Swan River Press] (Samhain 2018), pp.80-88 [see extract].

See also numerous references in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (OUP 1959), cp.1,930; introductions to The Charwoman"s Daughter, by Hilary Pyle (London: Sceptre Books 1966) and Augustine Martin (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1972)

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Bibliographical details
Birgit Brämsback, James Stephens: A Literary and Bibliography Study (Folcroft Lib. Eds. 1973), 209pp., ill. [1p. pl., front.]. Photo port. courtesy Lady Glenavy. CONTENTS: Manuscript material of James Stephens work, except letters; Unpublished letters; Separate publications of James Stephens; Books containing publications by Stephens; Contributions by JS to periodicals and Newspapers; Biography and Criticism; addenda; chronological table of separate publications; lists of newspapers and periodicals; BBC recordings; index. [See extract.]

[Note: Lady Glenavy, wife of the Free State senator, was formerly Miss Beatrice Elvery and a graduate of the Dublin Metropolitan College of Art.]

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See separate file [ infra ]

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See separate file [ infra ]

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Stephen Brown
, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists The Charwoman’s Daughter (1912); The Crock of Gold (1912); Here are Ladies (1913); The Demi-Gods (1914).

Mark Storey, Poetry and Ireland since 1800, A Source Book (1988), pp.178-88, reprints ‘The Outlook for Literature with Special Reference to Ireland’, from Century Magazine (1922).

Georgian Poetry 1911-1912 (The Poetry Bookshop MCMXVIII [1918]), incls. poems by Stephens, viz., ‘In the Poppy Field’; ‘In the Cool of the Evening’; ‘The Lonely God’ [all from The Hill of Vision]. Note: edn. printed by W H Smith with title facing ‘published December, 1912’.

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2; selects from The Hill of Vision “Light-O’-Love”; from Songs of the Clay, “The Ancient Elf”; from Collected Poems, “The Snare”, “A Glass of Beer”, “I Am a Writer”; also, extracts from The Crock of Gold (Bk. 1, Chap. VII); and Hunger (1918), based on the Lock-Out Strike of 1913. REFS & REMS, 521, 781, 1010, 1023, 1025, 1026, 1220; 1219, BIOG, WORKS & CRIT.

Hyland Books (Cat. 214) lists The Crock of Gold [first illustrated edn.] (1922), ill. b Wilfred Jones [Hyland 214]; another edn. 1926, ills. in colour and decorative headings and tailpieces by Thomas Mackenzie; Deirdre, Do., French trans. (1947); another edn. (NY 1970), ills. Nonny Hogrogian

Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast, holds Green Branches (London 1917)); Irish Fairy Tales, ill. Arthur Rackham (London 1920); The Charwoman’s Daughter (London 1912); Where There are Ladies (London 1913); In The Land of Youth (London 1914); The Demi-Gods (London 1914); The Adventures of Seamus Beg (London 1916); The Insurrection in Dublin (Dublin 1916); Insurrections (London 1917); Reincarnations (London 1918); The Hill of Vision (London 1922); Deirdre (London 1923); The Crock of Gold (London 1923); The Crock of Gold (London 1926); Etched in Moonlight (London 1928); The Outcast (London: Faber & Faber, 1929), col. fp. by Althea Willoughby; Strict Joy (London 1931); Kings & The Moon (London 1938).

Belfast Public Library holds Adventures of Seumus Beg (1915); The Charwoman’s Daughter (1912); Collected Poems (1912); Crock of Gold (1913); Deirdre (1923); Here Are Ladies (1913); Hill of Vision (1912); Insurrection in Dublin (1919); Irish Fairy Tales (1920); Kings and the Moon (1938); The Outcast (n.d.).

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The Crock of Gold (1912) is an amalgam of existential whimsy, theosophy and folk-tale with a cast of leprechauns, talking animals, the god Angus Óg as well as two philosophers married to the Grey Woman of Dun Goftin and the Thin Woman, ending with a magnificent hosting of the Sidhe. The story begins when Meehawl MacMurrachu’s skinny old cat kills a robin redbreast on the roof one day, thus setting in motion a long and peculiar chain of events since the robin is the particular bird of the Leprecauns of Gort na Gloca Mora, causing them to retaliate by stealing Meehawl’s wife’s washing-board - whereupon Meehawl turns to the Philosopher who lives in the centre of Coilla Doraca (a pine-wood) for advice on how to find it. The chain of events leads on further until Angus Ó, the god, becomes involved and ends up marrying Caitilin, the daughter of a local farmer. Stephens returned to this a mythological formula though handling it more effectively in The Demi-Gods (1914). [Notes in part from Fantastic Fiction website, online; accessed 20.08.09.)

W. B. Yeats: Yeats’s personal library, now held in the NLI (Dublin) contains a copies of The Hill of Vision (MS 40,568 / 231; O’Shea Cat. 2002: 6 shts); Reincarnations (MS 40,568 / 232; O’Shea Cat. 2004: 2 shts).

James Stephens and James Joyce

James Joyce (1): Joyce envisaged when the met that he might complete Finnegans Wake; but see Stephen’s opinion of Joyce on the publication Dubliners, to the effect that “we in Dublin knew the poet to be the real Joyce”]. In James Stephens’s view, reported in Ellmann’s James Joyce, ‘Anna Livia Plurabelle is the greatest prose ever written by a man (James Joyce [159], p.617; quoted in John Bishop, The Book of the Night 1989 [q.p.].)

James Joyce (2): Joyce translates “St Stephen’s Green” into French, German, Latin, Norwegian and Italian to celebrate his joint-fiftieth anniversary with Stephens in May 1932; further, ‘He hoped to have Stephens translate it into Irish, but Stephens did not know the language well enough’ (Ellmann, James Joyce, 1959; 1965 Edn., p.668.) Ellmann quotes Stephen’s ‘modest poem’ and asserts that it ‘scarcely demanded such linguistic virtuosity’: ‘The wind stood up and gave a shout. / He whistled on his fingers and // Kicked the withered leaves about / And tumbed the branches with his hand // And said he’d kill and kill and kill / And so he will and so he will.’ (Ibid., ftn.)

James Joyce (3) - letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver [following her dismissal of FW as ‘wasting [your] genius’]: ‘As regards that book itself and its future completion, I have asked Miss Beach to get into closer relations with James Stephens. [...] He is a poet and Dublin born. Of course he would never take a fraction of the time or pains I take but so much the better for him and for me and possibly for the book itself. If he consented to maintain three or four points which I consider essential and I showed him the threads he could finish the design. JJ and S (the colloquial Irish for John Jameson and Son’s Dublin whiskey) would be a nice lettering under the title. it would be a great load off my mind.’ (Letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 20 May 1927.) Further: ‘The combination of his name from that of mine and my hero in (A Portrait) is strange enough. I discovered yesterday, through enquiries made in Paris, that he was born in Dublin on 2 February 1882.’ (Letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 31 May 1927; given in Peter Chrisp, “Happy Birthday, Mr Joyce”: Wake Blog dated 2 Feb. 2014- online; accessed 24.09.2020.)

Further - Chrisp writes: ‘He spent a week in November (1929) explaining to James Stephens the whole plan of Finnegans Wake. Stephens promised him 'if I found it was madness to continue, in my condition, and saw no other way out, that he would devote himself heart and soul to the completion of it.’ (Letter to HSW, Nov. 1927; quoted in Chrisp, op. cit.)

SignedS”: ‘The attribution of “The Greatest Miracle”, signed “S” in the United Irishman (16 Sept. 1905), to Stephens is a canard: Seumas O’Sullivan wrote it and republished it in Essays and Recollections (Dublin: Talbot Press, 1944), pp.141-43.’ (See Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis”’, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982, p.66, n.)

Austin Clarke reports in A Penny in the Clouds (Chap. 3) that Stephen McKenna ‘taught Irish to James Stephens, and to his enthusiasm and help we owe Reincarnations [1918].’

F. R. Higgins told Austin Clarke how he mistook James Stephens for a bundel of rags in the wind as he walked through Rathgar, drowned in an outsized French cavalry officer’s cloak.

Portraits: oil portrait by Patrick Tuohy, now in the National Gallery of Ireland, shows him in his ‘candle-extinguisher’ coat; an early portrait was made by Estelle Solomons, while a third, by William Rothenstein, is in the possession of Iris Wise, who holds the copyright of his works. Solomons was a neighbour with a studio in the flat above him on Brunswick St. (see Hilary Pyle, Estelle Solomons, Patriot Portrait, 1966). The Rothenstein portrait of Stephens was lent to the Irish Portraits Exhibition in 1965.

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James Stephens - A Chronology (I)

1880 9 Feb.; possible date of birth of James Stephens in Dublin.
1882 (2 February) Date of birth used by Stephens.
1886–96 Meath Protestant Industrial School for Boys.
1896 Clerk for Mr Wallace, a solicitor.
1901 Clerk for Reddington & Sainsbury, solicitors; Member of gymnastic team which wins the Irish Shield.
1906 Clerk-typist for T. T. Mecredy & Son, solicitors.
1907 Regular contribs. to Sinn Féin; a step-daughter, Iris, b. 14 June, soon after calling her mother Cynthia is wife [Millicent Josephine Gardiner Kavanagh; 22 May 1882–18 Dec. 1960); meets George “Æ” Russell.
1909 Insurrections [poetry]; appears in two productions of The Shuiler’s Child by Seumas O’Kelly’s play (Theatre of Ireland Co.); a son, James Naoise, b. 26 Oct.
1910 Appears in The Spurious Sovereign by Gerald Macnamara (Theatre of Ireland); assoc. with David Houston, Thomas MacDonagh, and Padraic Colum in The Irish Review (March 1911-Nov. 1914).
1911 Appeared Bairbre Ruadh by Pádraic Ó Conaire; his The Marriage of Julia Elizabeth produced by Theatre of Ireland.
1912 The Charwoman’s Daughter serialised in The Irish Review and then by Talbot; pub. The Crock of Gold [fiction; The Hill of Vision [poetry].
1913 Here Are Ladies [short fiction]; and Five New Poems; commissioned by The Nation (London) to write a series of short stories; moved to Paris; The Marriage of Julia Elizabeth revived at the Hardwicke Street Theatre; The Crock of Gold awarded Polignac Prize.
1914 The Demi-Gods.
1915 Songs from the Clay and The Adventures of Seumas Beg/The Rocky Road to Dublin; elected Unestablished Registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland.
1916 Green Branches [poetry]; The Insurrection in Dublin.
1918–24 Appointed Registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland.
1918 Reincarnations.
1919 m. Cynthia on death of her husband, 14 May (London).
1920 Irish Fairy Tales; The Wooing of Julia Elizabeth [formerly The Marriage of Julia Elizabeth] produced by the Dublin Drama League at the Abbey Th.; underwent surgery for for gastric ulcer.
1922 Arthur Griffith: Journalist and Statesman.
1923 Deirdre.
1924 Little Things, and In the Land of Youth; Deirdre wins Medal for Fiction at the Aonach Tailteann Festival; resigns from the National Gallery.
1925 A Poetry Recital, Danny Murphy and Christmas in Freelands; two lecture tours in the USA; settled in Kingsbury, London.
1926 Collected Poems.
1927 Became friendly with James Joyce.
1928 Etched in Moonlight and On Prose and Verse; made a BBC broadcast; lectured at the Third International Book Fair in Florence.
1929 Julia Elizabeth: A Comedy in One Act; The Optimist, and The Outcast [Faber’s Ariel pamphlets, ill. Althea Willoughby);
1930 Theme and Variations.
1931 How St Patrick Saves the Irish; Stars Do Not Make a Noise, and Strict Joy [poetry].
1937 Began regular series of BBC broadcasts; accidental death of his son James, 24 Dec.
1938 Kings and the Moon [poetry].
1940 Moved to Woodside Chapel in Gloucestershire.
1942 Awarded a British Civil List Pension.
1945 Returned to London.
1947 Awarded honorary DLitt by Trinity College, Dublin.
1950 Final BBC broadcast; d. Eversleigh, 26 Dec. [St. Stephen’s Day].
Note: The above chronology is closely based on that given in the Wikipedia entry on the writer - online; accessed 03.08.2020. See below the Chronology given in Patricia McFate, ed., The Uncollected Prose of James Stephen, ed. Patricia McFate (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1983), Vol. II, pp.[vii-]viii, as infra.

James Stephens - A Chronology (II)

Given in Patricia McFate, ed., The Uncollected Prose of James Stephen, ed. Patricia McFate (1983), Vol. II.
—McFate, ed., Uncoll. Prose of James Stephens (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1983), pp.vii-viii - available as download; accessed 26.09.2020.

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