James Joyce's first published work, a little book of poems entitled "Chamber Music", appeared in 1907. Graceful, delicate, and patterned after Elizabethan 'ayres', the lyrics heralded the musical quality of language intrinsic to Joyce's genius. Joyce himself called the poems 'a suite of songs' and stated that they 'were meant to be set to music'. Joyce described the settings by Geoffrey Molyneux Palmer (1882-1957) as 'elegant' and 'distinguished' and made strenuous efforts to get them published and performed. However, the composer was strangely reluctant, and for many years the music was presumed lost. Joyce was aware of only 10 settings, but when the manuscripts were recently found - at Morris Library of the University of Southern Illinois - it was revealed that Palmer had written music for 32 of the 36 poems. This, their first publication, fulfills a hope that Joyce never abandoned and that Palmer expressed belatedly. Myra Russel's introduction offers fresh perspectives on Joyce's remarkable poetry, biographical material on Palmer, some of his correspondence with Joyce, and analyses of selected poems and settings.
Literature-Fiction, Poetry, Irish,