Dubliners: Composition and publication

Writing the stories

Joyce began writing the stories that became Dubliners in 1904 and completed the first three in that year:

  • The Sisters (revised in 1906)
  • Eveline
  • After the Race

These three stories were published in the magazine the Irish Homestead in August, September and December 1904.

During 1905 he wrote nine more stories: 

  • Clay (revised in 1905-6)
  • The Boarding House
  • Counterparts
  • A Painful Case
  • Ivy Day in the Committee Room
  • An Encounter
  • A Mother
  • Araby
  • Grace

Towards the end of 1905, therefore, he was in a position to submit to the English publisher Grant Richards a manuscript consisting of all twelve stories.

Over the next two years he wrote the three final stories for the volume:

  • Two Gallants (1906)
  • A Little Cloud (1906)
  • The Dead (1907)

The struggle to publish, 1904-14

Dubliners title pageThe stories written in 1906-7 were added to the manuscript submitted to Grant Richards, making fifteen stories in all. But Richards did not go ahead and publish the book. From the very beginning of his negotiations with Joyce, Richards had been concerned that the content of the volume might cause public outrage, both because of its relative outspokenness and because it made reference to real people and places. Joyce, however, refused to make any significant changes to his text: to do so would be to compromise both his artistic integrity and his moral intentions.

The publication of Dubliners

When negotiations with Grant Richards came to an end in 1909, Joyce submitted the manuscript to an Irish publisher, Maunsel and Co, who accepted it for publication and went so far as to print the volume. Shortly before it was due to be issued, however, both the publisher and the printer decided to destroy the entire printing for fear that its references to real people would result in libel actions.

It was nearly five years before the volume finally appeared, without any legal consequences, published by Grant Richards, to whom it had originally been submitted in 1905!

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