Chamber MusicBy James JoyceChamber Music is a collection of poems by James Joyce, published by Elkin Mathews in May, 1907. The collection originally comprised thirty-four love poems, but two further poems were added before publication (All day I hear the noise of waters and I hear an army charging upon the land).Although it is widely reported that the title refers to the sound of urine tinkling in a chamber pot, this is a later Joycean embellishment, lending an earthiness to a title first suggested by his brother Stanislaus and which Joyce (by the time of publication) had come to dislike: The reason I dislike Chamber Music as a title is that it is too complacent, he admitted to Arthur Symons in 1906. I should prefer a title which repudiated the book without altogether disparaging it.Richard Ellmann reports (from a 1949 conversation with Eva Joyce) that the chamberpot connotation has its origin in a visit he made, accompanied by Oliver Gogarty, to a young widow named Jenny in May 1904. The three of them drank porter while Joyce read manuscript versions of the poems aloud - and, at one point, Jenny retreated behind a screen to make use of a chamber pot. Gogarty commented, There's a critic for you!. When Joyce later told this story to Stanislaus, his brother agreed that it was a favourable omen.In Ulysses, Leopold Bloom reflects, Chamber music. Could make a pun on that.
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