Dear Mr Grant Richards
, I have turned to your letter of May 16th last
and particularly to the first paragraph where I read that in consideration
of three omissions conceded by me you allowed me to retain
a word originally written in one of the stories. These three concessions
I am still disposed to make on certain conditions
The second paragraph of the same letter contains a withdrawal of one of your objections and a statement that one other phrase in the story under discussion should come out. In that story there are two other phrases marked by somebody's blue pencil: and in reply to your letter I stated that I was disposed to modify the passage but that I could not omit it. You now say that one of the two phrases must come out and I presume you choose this solution in preference to the one proposed by me, namely, a modification of the passage which contains the two phrases objected to. I am still disposed to make either concession that is, either to modify (without omitting) the passage or to allow you to cancel whichever of the phrases you prefer to cancel on certain conditions.
The third paragraph of your letter of 16 May stated that you wished to omit another story of the original book but that you would not insist on this if I gave way on the other points. I replied by making the concessions mentioned above.
In the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the same letter you said that the story Two Gallants should certainly be omitted adding that you supposed I could omit it with an easier mind since it did not form part of the original book. I replied to this by pointing out that I had already agreed to make an omission in that story, that it was one of the most important stories in the book in my opinion, that I saw no way in which it could be re-written and that its omission would mean in my opinion a mutilation of the book. I am still disposed to make the omission I agreed to make of the word 'bloody' in that story if you are disposed to include it in the book.
I suppose you are now quite clear as to my present position. The concessions which I made in reference to the original book I made solely with a view to the inclusion of Two Gallants, which, if it did not actually form part of the original book, you knew to be in preparation and finally wrote for when the book was going to press. If you cannot possibly include Two Gallants with the omission I volunteered to make the motive which would induce me to make the other concessions disappears and I am disposed to allow you to print the book without it as I originally wrote it though, as I have told you, I regard such an omission as an almost mortal mutilation of my work.
The spectre of the printer which I thought I had laid rises again in your letter of 14th instant. This apparition is most distasteful to me and I hope he will not trouble the correspondence again. I do not seek to penetrate the mysteries of his being and existence, for example, how he came by his conscience and culture, how he is permitted in your country to combine the duties of author with his own honorable calling, how he came to be the representative of the public mind, how he happened to alight magically on what he was designed to overlook, and (incidentally) why he began the process of printing my book at the third page of the sixth story, numbered in the manuscript 5A. These for me are mysteries and may remain so. But I cannot permit a printer to write my book for me. In no other civilised country in Europe, I think, is a printer allowed to open his mouth. If there are any objections to be made the publisher can make them when the book is submitted to him: if he withdraws them he pays a printer to print the book and if he cannot withdraw them he decides not to trouble the printer by asking him to print the book. A printer is simply a workman hired by the day or by the job for a certain sum.
I am delighted and surprised to learn that nowadays it is impossible to buy a critic of importance. Evidently since I left the British Isles some extraordinary religious revolution has taken place. I expect to hear shortly that the practices of self-stultification and prostitution have gone out of fashion among authors.
In the last paragraph of your letter you seem to suggest the possibility of our meeting in Rome. I should be glad of such a meeting as correspondence on debated points appears to me most unsatisfactory. However, by dint of exchanging six or seven letters, I hope we have now arrived at a clear understanding of our respective attitudes.
In conclusion I thank you for replying to me so quickly and will be glad if you will answer this with equal promptness. Believe me, dear Mr Grant Richards, Faithfully yours
Correspondence Regarding Joyce's "Dubliners":
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