London, South Kensington
30 November 2005
JOYCE, James (1882-1941). Dubliners. London: Grant Richards, 1914. 8° (192 x 124mm) (spotting, staining to pp130-131, top edges and rear endpapers). Publisher's dark red cloth, gilt stamped, without dustjacket. Provenance: Robert Hall (bookplate).
THE FIRST EDITION OF JOYCE'S EARLIEST MASTERPIECE AND ARGUABLY THE
GREATEST COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH. Grant Richards
accepted the collection -- then numbering only twelve stories -- as
early as February 1906, but publication was abandoned because of the printer's objections to some of the language used in the story, 'Two Gallants'. Richards eventually agreed to publish the collection in March 1914, but on the harshest terms: Joyce received neither advance nor royalties on the first 500 copies, and he was contractually obliged to purchase 120 copies. His persistence has been vindicated: the stories, 'written for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness' (Joyce to Richards, 5 May 1906), stand beside those of Chekhov and De Maupassant, and the final story, 'The Dead', is regularly cited as the greatest work of short fiction in English. Slocum & Cahoon A8.
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