Harriet Shaw Weaver and her Printers

Harriet Shaw Weaver, who took over the editorial reins of the Egoist shortly after Portrait's first excerpts appeared, confronted resistance from the magazine's printers over subsequent extracts from the novel. Similar to the opposition provoked by Dubliners, some of the language and subject matter in Portrait was viewed as unconventional by pressmen and potentially obscene. Weaver, dedicated to publishing Joyce's text exactly as he had written it, had to fire several of her magazine’s printers for their censoring of words such as “ballocks” and references to bodily functions. Those redactions were made after the printers had produced faithful type settings, however, which allowed the New York publisher B. W. Huebsch to restore the language for the book’s first edition in 1916. Weaver started the imprint Egoist Ltd. in order to publish Portrait in England. Although British printers persisted in their unwillingness to involve themselves in Joyce’s controversial work, Weaver was able to issue her edition by binding sheets that had been printed in America.

James Joyce (1882–1941)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
London: Egoist Ltd., 1917 [i.e., 1918]
Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987; PML 135606