LETTERS OF JAMES JOYCE by Stuart- Ed. Gilbert


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A literary landmark, this first publication of the letters of James Joyce, 16 years after his death, is an event of great magnitude. Edited by Gilbert Stuart, his friend from 1927 until his death in 1941, these letters are addressed to the famous and obscure alike. Poignantly and unforgettably, they manage to convey- more than any biographer or critic has done so far- the singular character of James Joyce. Interest, pleasure, amusement, pity and revelation are all aroused. Chiefly the letters are notable for conveying Joyce's obsession with his work. Almost any of them contain some reference to whatever work is in progress, and many are completely devoted to this aspect of his life. In this respect, they will be very important to Joyce exegists as they give many a final clue to his later and more obscure works. As a person, they reveal Joyce as an outstandingly modest and simple man, for all his erudition. He is also a family man, and pitifully enough one driven by want of money, tortured by the sense of rejection of his native Ireland, a rebel against the church and the censors. On the one hand he is the victim of illness, the threat of blindness, dreadful living conditions; on the other, there is the overpowering faith in the drive of his work. Stuart Gilbert has chosen to edit these letters with dignity and discretion. Omitted are unduly intimate passages, and in no instance has the editor intruded on his privacy. An important book which illumines both the artist and the man to an exceptional degree.

Pub Date: May 24th, 1957
Publisher: Viking