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Oxford to Publish Previously Uncollected Correspondence of James Joyce

Released on May 6, 2013

Oxford University Press announces plans to publish a three-volume edition of the unpublished correspondence of James Joyce in the United States and Canada starting in 2016, along with a single-volume abridged edition aimed at an audience of general readers.  Currently, more than half of Joyce’s correspondence remains unpublished.

A team coordinated by Executive Editors Kevin J. H. Dettmar (Pomona College), Robert Spoo (University of Tulsa), and William S. Brockman (Penn State), will undertake the work of collecting, transcribing, and annotating the nearly 1,800 Joyce letters, postcards, and telegrams not previously published.

“Much of this correspondence came to light only after the three-volume standard edition Letters of James Joyce was completed in 1966,” noted Brendan O’Neill, Acquisitions Editor –Literature & Cinema for OUP USA.  “In addition to these more recently available letters, the editors are eager to make available previously overlooked correspondence whose significance has only become clear in the light of new critical approaches to Joyce’s writing. The unpublished letters offer new perspectives on Joyce, from family life to professional and business activities to his engagement with modernism to his role as a public figure.”
Joyce did not engage in the public life of lectures, book reviews, and interviews; for the most part, the only first-person documentation of his work is found in his private communications. The correspondence offers insight from Joyce into his own work, and details of the complex business, financial, and artistic context in which Joyce wrote and published his work.

“His battles to preserve the integrity of his work and to see it into print are important components of how we know and read Joyce,” said O’Neill.  “Joyce’s letters are by turns cranky, self-doubting, self-righteousness, and manipulative. Yet the letters of this prose master also display a remarkable sense of humor, sympathy, beauty, whimsy, and love for family.”

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