Dubliners. First Edition (1914)
Book ID: 64996
Dubliners. London: Grant Richards, 1914. First Edition. Publisher’s original dark red cloth, with title ‘Dubliners’ gilt stamped on front cover, and on spine. Covers lightly stained & faded, gilt remains good; scattered spotting to contents pages, but generally in nice condition throughout. Housed in custom made solander box. [Slocum 8].
THE FIRST EDITION OF JOYCE’S EARLIEST MASTERPIECE AND ARGUABLY THE GREATEST COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES IN ENGLISH. Approximately 746 copies published.
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.
There is quite a publishing history of this volume. Joyce first offered it to Richards in late 1905 (thus actually preceding CHAMBER MUSIC), at which time there were only twelve tales. Richards accepted it and planned it for release, but a dispute arose (partly over references to the British royal family), and the edition was never actually published. The book was declined by several other publishers, until in late 1909 Maunsel of Dublin agreed to publish it; 1000 copies were printed, to be issued in mid-1910, but the entire printing was burned by the printer, again due to objectionable passages. In early 1914, Richards again agreed to publish the book (using the Maunsel proofs, provided by Joyce) — printing a total of 1250 copies. Of these, Richards (in late 1916) sold 504 remaining sets of sheets to B. W. Huebsch of New York for an American edition. (According to Albert and Charles Boni, publishers in New York, Richards had earlier (mid-1915) sold 500 sets of sheets to them, but all but one copy went down on the S.S. Arabic, torpedoed in August 1915; if this is true, it means that only 257 of the 1250 copies wound up issued to the public with a Richards title page.) In any event, Joyce’s problems were still not over: Richards was extremely remiss in passing royalties along to him, and Richards also refused to print a second edition even though demand was healthy (To satisfy Joyce’s demands Richards finally imported just enough sheets from the American edition from B.W. Huebsch and printed a second edition in 1918).