'The More Subtle Inquisitor:' Arthur Machen as Early Reviewer of Dubliners for Grant Richards



Ferguson C (2018) 'The More Subtle Inquisitor:' Arthur Machen as Early Reviewer of Dubliners for Grant Richards. Dublin James Joyce Journal, 9, pp. 122-134.

This essay examines the welsh fantasy writer arthur machen’s hitherto unacknowledged role as an early reviewer of Dubliners for Grant richards. a political conservative and self-declared anti-modernist, machen nonetheless evinces a surprising sympathy for Joyce’s aesthetic ambition and sexual frankness in the short story collection, declaring it to be ‘utterly free [...] of the stale literary pastry which forms the stock-in-trade of most of our writers’. my article considers the implications of machen’s unlikely championship of Joyce for our understanding of the literary affinities and networks which connected popular and vanguard artists in the early modernist period. richards’s enlistment of machen as reader also sheds new light on the pair’s own, often fractious relationship, one that would anticipate Joyce’s later and equally fraught dealings with the publisher during the torturously slow route of Dubliners into print. connected through their shared business dealings with Grant richards, Joyce and machen also faced the similar challenges of publisher hesitancy and moral censorship. my article suggests how machen’s review, and the support for Joyce’s work it reveals, creates new directions for the comparative study of these two, very different writers.

Arthur Machen; James Joyce; Grant Richards; Dubliners; The Hill of Dreams

Research for this article was funded by a Princeton University Library Fellowship

Dublin James Joyce Journal: Volume 9

Publication date31/12/2018
Date accepted by journal15/12/2017
PublisherJames Joyce Research Centre and National Library of Ireland
Publisher URL…mesjoycejournal/

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Professor Christine Ferguson

Professor Christine Ferguson

Professor in English, English Studies