Two Essays. A Forgotten Aspect of the University Question and The Day of the Rabblement.
Dublin: Privately printed by Gerrard Bros. October 15, .
Dublin: Privately printed by Gerrard Bros. October 15, . First edition. Sole impression of James Joyce’s first obtainable published work. 8 page pamphlet. Original pink wrappers printed in black. Housed in an orange cloth chemise. A few trivial spots around edges of wrappers, but a very fresh copy, effectively Fine.
Joyce was a student at University College, Dublin in 1901 when he penned this essay critical of the theatre of Yeats, Moore, and Martyn. “The Irish Literary Theatre gave out that it was the champion of progress, and proclaimed war against commercialism and vulgarity. It had partly made good its word and was expelling the old devil when after the first encounter it surrendered to the popular will. Now your popular devil is more dangerous than your vulgar devil. Bulk and lungs count for something, and he can gild his speech aptly. He has prevailed once more, and the Irish Literary Theatre must now be considered the property of the rabblement of the most belated race in Europe”. This essay and one advocating female equality within the university by Joyce’s schoolmate F. J. C. Skeffington were both rejected by the University College newspaper, Joyce’s because he mentioned D'Annunzio's Il Fuoce, which was on the Index librorum prohibitorum. Instead, the two young men paid to have the essays published as a pamphlet in a small run of perhaps 100 to 200 copies which they hand-delivered. Joyce’s only previously published work was Et Tu, Healy!, a pamphlet printed by his father when he was aged 9 of which no known copies survive. Two Essays is scarce, with only six copies appearing at auction since 1990. The present copy is unusually nice, without the creasing usually seen.
Slocum & Cahoon B1. Fine (Item #4394)