Chamber Music

There is a young boy named Joyce, who may do something.
He is proud as Lucifer and writes verses perfect in their technique.
—George Russell

The influential critic and poet Arthur Symons met Joyce in 1902. Like other well-known writers, such as W. B. Yeats and George Russell, Symons praised Joyce’s poetry for its beauty and audacity. Eager to assist, Symons sent Joyce’s Chamber Music manuscript to many publishers, though all of them turned it down. By the time Elkin Mathews agreed to print the book, Joyce was more invested in writing fiction. His brother Stanislaus sequenced the poems, though Joyce later claimed he had devised the order himself as a carefully constructed piece of music.

James Joyce (1882–1941)
Chamber Music
London: Elkin Matthews, 1907
The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Sean and Mary Kelly, 2018; PML 197774-75
© The Estate of James Joyce.