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Joyce: Selected Letters


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Overall customer rating: 5.000

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by riverrun on Apr 17, 2009

What's striking about these letters by James Joyce in the midst of a peripatetic, often economically desperate life--with numerous eye operations--is a genius's serene confidence about his literary talent. He betrays no modesty or humility in his correspondence with fellow writers W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound and George Bernard Shaw. A recurrent theme is Joyce's travails with publishers from Dubliners to Finnegans Wake, the response to the latter often hostile or uncomprehending. If brother Stanislaus and patron Harriet Weaver are among his most frequent recipients, the most scandalous are Joyce's erotic letters to his wife Nora Barnacle. They prefigure Ulysses' revolutionary prose and its uninhibited license. Joyce's multilingualism is daunting: French, German, Italian, Danish, but translations are footnoted. Editor Richard Ellman's judicious commentaries provide a biographical coherence to this excellent collection.

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