chapter
19 Pages

INTRODUCTION

The time devoted to the writing of Dubliners, culminating in "The Dead," was the gestation period of a fundamentally new conception for the autobiographical novel. Suspending it in 1905 had, as became apparent by 1907, been tantamount to aborting the 63-chapter project of Stephen Hero in favour of beginning afresh the five-chapter novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Chapter I was written between 8 September and 29 November 1907. Reworked from Stephen Hero, it omitted entirely the seven initial chapters of that novel-those dealing with Stephen's childhood-and opened with Stephen going to school (cf. J J 264). We may assume6 that the Chapter I version of autumn 1907 included neither the overture of the novel as eventually published, nor the Christmas dinner scene (which at first apparently belonged with material taken from Stephen Hero to construct Chapter II of A Portrait). By 7 April 1908, the new novel had grown to three chapters, but was making no further progress. In early 1909, it was sections of a work he had become despondent of that Joyce gave a fellow writer to read. Ettore Schmitz, or Italo Svevo-he was, at

the same time, Joyce's language pupil —in a letter of 8 February 1909 proffered supportive criticism of Chapters I-III, in versions prior to those known from the published book, plus a draft opening of Chapter IV. Specifically-if inference may be trusted-the Christmas dinner scene was still apparently in Chapter II, and the conclusion of Stephen's confession in Chapter III was yet unwritten. Schmitz's response encouraged Joyce to complete Chapter IV and begin Chapter V. Yet this precipitated an apparently more serious crisis. Sometime in 1911, Joyce threw the entire manuscript as it then stood-some 313 manuscript leaves-in the fire.7 Instantly rescued by a family fire brigade, it apparently suffered no real harm and was kept tied up in an old sheet for some months before Joyce "sorted [it] out and pieced [it] together as best [he] could" (Letters I, 136). This involved developing and rounding off Chapter V, thoroughly revising Chapters I-III and shaping the novel as a whole into a stringent chiastic design. It was an effort of creation occupying Joyce for over two, if not an ample three years. On Easter Day 1913, he evisaged finishing the book by the end of the year, but completing it spilled over into 1914. The surviving fair copy bears the date line "Dublin 1904 | Trieste 1914" on its last page. Yet the date '1913' on the fair copy's titlepage indicates that Joyce's Easter Day confidence was substantially grounded. Chapter IV, together with the opening pages of Chapter V, survive from the manuscript thrown in the fire, while Chapters I-III and V in the fair copy postdate the crisis of 1911. Since Chapter I as we have it was written out later than Chapters II and III, and since, in turn, sections of the Chapter V manuscript appear to coincide

with the fair copy of Chapter III through fol. ioo, 'putting together' the extant final manuscript meant writing out Chapters I-III afresh after revision, incorporating Chapter IV and the beginning of Chapter V from the earlier manuscript, and completing Chapter V. The stages may have been something like V/III, II, I, followed by the insertion of the final version of the Villanelle episode in Chapter V, and the writing of the end of Chapter III, as finishing touches. If this represents Joyce's work on the novel from 1912. to perhaps early 1914, it was undoubtedly in 1913, as the manuscript titlepage indicates, that the design, and much of the text, was essentially realised.