James Joyce (1882–1941)
London: Grant Richards Ltd., 1914
The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Sean and Mary Kelly, 2018; PML 197779


James Joyce’s first book of fiction was a book of stories called Dubliners. He began to compose the stories in Dublin in 1904 when he was twenty-two and he finished the last one, The Dead in Trieste in 1907. He wrote to a publisher about the style of the book and his ambition for it, “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 be the center of paralysis. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness.”

Joyce had very bad luck with publishers, who refused to publish the book for various reasons, including that some of the descriptions were far too frank for the Dublin of the early twentieth century. The book was finally published in June 1914.