Friday, February 7, 2020

Stephen Joyce (1932–2020)

James’s grandson. From a New York Times obituary:

Stephen Joyce gleefully maintained an iron grip on his grandfather’s printed works, unpublished manuscripts, letters and other material, although his hold loosened somewhat on the 70th anniversary of James Joyce’s death, when most copyrights on his masterpieces like Ulysses and Finnegans Wake expired. He said he was safeguarding the material’s literary integrity and defending them from critics and biographers, whom he likened to “rats and lice” that “should be exterminated.”
According to a New Yorker piece that the obituary cites, it wasn’t just “critics and biographers” but all academics: “Academics, he declared, were like ‘rats and lice — they should be exterminated!’”

Not a good guy.

I hope that Stephen Joyce and his admirer Paul Zukofsky (“‘What I’ve heard sounds very, very good. He is a staunch defender of rights.’”) have a chance to chat in that other world.

[“That other world”: from Ulysses. “I do not like that other world” is a sentence in Martha Clifford’s letter to Leopold Bloom, who corresponds with her as “Henry Flower.” Did you catch the agreement error in the passage from the Times?]

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