Two Gallants (short story)

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"Two Gallants"
Author James Joyce
Country  Ireland
Language English
Genre(s) short story
Published in Dubliners
Publication type Collection
Media type Print
Publication date 1914
Preceded by "After the Race"
Followed by "The Boarding House"

"Two Gallants" is a short story by James Joyce published in his 1914 collection Dubliners. It tells the story of two Irishmen who are frustrated with their lack of achievement in life and rely on the exploitation of others to live.[1] Joyce considered the story to be one of the most important in Dubliners.[2]

Publication history[edit]

The London house of Grant Richards agreed to publish Dubliners in 1905, but there were printing complications and concerns of obscenity. One of the stories with passages in question was “Two Gallants.” Joyce questions Richard's reluctance to publish by asking "Is it the small gold coin in the former story or the code of honour which the two gallants live by which shocks him?"[3] In a letter to Grant Richards, Joyce voiced his fondness of the story saying “to omit the story from the book would really be disastrous. It is one of the most important stories in the book. I would rather sacrifice five of the other stories (which I could name) than this one.”[2] Joyce redacted some words from the end product, but the story was kept in the collection which was published by Richards nine years after Joyce originally submitted it in 1905.

Plot summary[edit]

In the evening, a young man named Corley is walking with his friend Lenehan and telling him about a woman he has seduced. A rendezvous has been arranged with the woman and Corley, during which Lenehan wanders around Dublin before sitting down to a supper of peas. During his solitude, Lenehan contemplates his current state of being at the age of thirty-one, and is unsatisfied with his life. He dreams of settling down with a "simple-minded" woman. After eating, Lenehan wanders around the streets aimlessly, hoping Corley will actually meet at the previously arranged time. Corley presents him with a gold coin the woman stole from her employer on his behalf, which is a turn-around from past relationships Corley had where he would have to spend money on women. Together, Lenehan and Corley go off with the coin that Corley’s woman stole.[4]


  1. ^ Walzl, Florence L. James Joyce Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Winter, 1965), p. 73
  2. ^ a b Joyce, James. Letter to Grant Richards. 20 May 1906
  3. ^ Joyce, J. (1975). Selected letters of James Joyce (R. Ellmann, Ed.). New York, NY: Viking Press. pg. 81
  4. ^ Joyce, James. Dubliners (London: Grant Richards, 1914)

External links[edit]