Publishing History

Joyce's first attempt at publication was in October 1905. At this stage Dubliners included twelve stories and, promising a thirteenth, he found a sympathetic London publisher in Grant Richards. Richards was unsure of the book's commercial prospects: the fact that it contained short stories and the fact that it was about Ireland both stood against it. However, Richards held the work in high esteem and proceeded with publication. It was upon sending the work to the printers that any further progress was halted. The printers objected to various 'obscenities' of language and subject matter, insisting on numerous cuts and the outright omission of the story Two Gallants. Joyce protested in defence of his rights to free expression, but Richards, financially vulnerable at the time, dropped the book.

He tried again in 1909 with a different publishing house, Maunsel. The collection had a new centrepiece, The Dead, which was much longer than any of the other stories, and his most accomplished piece of writing yet. Its composition followed a short, unhappy visit to Rome, from which Joyce returned with a somewhat softer attitude towards his Dubliners. However, George Roberts, a director at Maunsel, objected to the treasonous remarks against Edward VII in Ivy Day in the Committee Room and once again it became impossible for Joyce to get his work published without tampering by the censor's blue pen. It was not until 1913 that Grant Richards finally agreed to publish the book.

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