SIGNED AND INSCRIBED BY JAMES JOYCE IN LONDON
JOYCE, James. Dubliners. London: Jonathan Cape, 1930. Seventh edition. 255, , [32 (Publisher’s List)]. pp. 278. Blue cloth, title, author and publisher’s device in gilt on spine. Corners a trifle bumped, usual wear to spine ends. Inscribed and signed to John Dulanty on front endpaper: To / John Dulanty / James Joyce / London / 17.7.931. A very good copy.
A collection of fifteen short stories written by Joyce over a three year period (1904-1907). Difficulties in finding a publisher and Joyce’s initial refusal to alter any passage thought to be objectionable kept it from being published until 1914. In a letter to his publisher written in May 1906, Joyce clearly stated his overall purpose and design in writing the stories: “My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis. I have tried to present it to the indifferent public under four of its aspects: childhood, adolescence, maturity and public life. The stories are arranged in this order. I have written it for the most part in a style of scrupulous meanness and with the conviction that he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard”.
Provenance: From the Dulanty family.
John Whelan Dulanty CB CBE (1883-1955), Irish diplomat, he represented Ireland in London for twenty years, first as High Commissioner and then as Ireland’s first Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Dulanty was born in Manchester to a working-class Irish family. His father was from
Tipperary and his mother from Limerick. He was educated at St. Mary’s, Failsworth, and at Manchester University where he read law. In 1906 he supported Winston Churchill’s campaign as a Liberal to win the Manchester North West seat. This connection with Churchill was to prove important in Dulanty’s later diplomatic career as High Commissioner in London.
In 1913 he entered the British civil service. He worked in the Ministry of Munitions during World War I. He later served as Assistant Secretary in the Treasury. In 1920 he left the British civil service because of his opposition to British policy on Ireland. By the time he left he had been awarded C.B. and C.B.E.
For the next six years he served as deputy chairman and managing director of the department store Peter Jones, Ltd. In 1926 he joined the Irish civil service and was appointed Commissioner for Trade in Great Britain. At that time he had not lived for any length of time in Ireland, but in the words of The Times, “There was no mistaking that he was an Irishman. He had been a leader of the United Irish League of Great Britain under John Redmond and had been busy behind the scenes at the time of the treaty of 1922.” In 1930 he became High Commissioner in London. On Ireland leaving the Commonwealth and becoming a republic, he became Ireland’s first ambassador in London in 1950. He retired in September 1950.
When Joyce was in London, he often enjoyed evenings with Irish-Londoners, including the Irish Free State High Commissioner John Dulanty, the musician Herbert Hughes, and the writers Robert and Sylvia Lynd. Among the restaurants they dined at was the Monico by Piccadilly Circus, a favourite haunt of London’s Fin de siècle writers and Kettner’s in Soho, frequented by Oscar Wilde.
In 1994, an English Heritage blue plaque was placed on the wall of 28b Campden Grove in Kensington, London, to commemorate the fact that James Joyce had lived there in 1931. Even if Joyce’s stay in London was short-lived, the blue plaque symbolizes how important the metropolis of the British Empire was to Joyce’s goal of becoming a published writer.
The marriage of James Joyce and Nora Barnacle, more than 25 years after they first met, caused a sensation in the press and scandal in Ireland. But when Joyce’s father fell gravely ill, the writer’s dread of returning to his home country would lead to terrible regrets. On June 29th, 1931, James Joyce was handed the lease on 28b Campden Grove, in Kensington in London, thus becoming a UK resident, a voter and a potential juror. The following day, on the advice of Fred Monro, his solicitor, he applied for a special licence to marry Nora Barnacle, his partner of more than 25 years, arranging the ceremony for July 4th (also his father’s and brother George’s birthdays).
He and Nora dined with T.S. Eliot, Padraic Colum, John Dulanty, the Irish High Commissioner, and the Lynds, and they attended concerts and theatrical events. It is most likely that at such an occasion two weeks after his marriage that Joyce signed and inscribed this copy of Dubliners for John Dulanty. A week after the wedding, the writers Robert and Sylvia Lynd threw a great literary party at their Hampstead home, on Keats Grove, where the garden was festooned with fairy lights and night lights in coloured jars. Just after midnight everyone moved indoors, to the drawing room, where Joyce went to the piano and sang ‘Phil the Fluther’s Ball’ and the sadly poignant ‘Siúil a Rúin’. For the first time Joyce found himself among leading lights of English letters, including Goronwy Rees, J.B. Priestley, Victor Gollancz, Norman Collins, Max Beerbohm, Arthur Ransome, Humbert Wolfe and Isaiah Berlin, some of whom performed their own party pieces. But Joyce stole the show, as the Lynds’ daughter recalled. “Against his own low accompaniment he recited . . . Anna Livia Plurabelle. He neither spoke it nor sang it: he used something like the [S]prechstimme, or pitch-controlled speech, familiar from Moses [u]nd Aaron, and other works by Schoenberg. And the sound of it was lovely beyond description.” Priestley also recalled the evening, comparing Joyce’s easy presence in Hampstead with the “heroic” Joyce he had found among his American idolaters in Paris.