JOYCE, JAMES. 1882-1941.
Gas from a Burner. Flushing [Holland, but printed in Trieste]: September, 1912.
Broadside poem printed on white wove paper, 23 5/8 x 9 1/4 inches. Matted. 3 horizontal folds, separated at lower fold and repaired on verso, short separation at top fold, somewhat toned.
FIRST EDITION, JOYCE'S VITRIOLIC LEAVE-TAKING OF IRELAND. In a railway station in Holland, en route home to Trieste after his final trip to his homeland, Joyce writes this cutting satire in the voices of the Dublin publisher George Roberts and the printer, John Falconer. The publication history of Dubliners was a series of broken promises and confusion. Potential publishers (and printers, who under English law were held responsible for content) were put off by fears of libel, obscenity and, finally, in the case of Richards (for Maunsel) the "anti-Irishness" of some stories. Richards writes that he feared libel actions from the railway stations, pubs, and other places simply for being named in Dubliners, a paranoia that comes in for particular mockery in "Gas from a Burner."
John Falconer did print 1,000 copies of Dubliners in the summer of 1910, a year after the signed contract with Maunsel, but they were not bound or released. Two years later, after negotiations between Richards and Joyce became irretrievably bitter and public, they were destroyed. According to Joyce the 1,000 copies were burned (hence "Gas from a Burner") though Richards averred that they were merely cut up and pulped. Joyce rescued one copy of his early masterpiece from destruction and never returned to Ireland. Joyce's anger overcame his financial worries and he self-published this broadside in Trieste and sent copies to his brother Charles in Dublin for free distribution to his friends (and enemies) there. See Ellman James Joyce, 1982, pp 328 ff. Slocum & Cahoon A7.