Today, February 2, 2012, is the 130th anniversary of Joyce’s birth, and the 90th anniversary of the publication of *Ulysses.* Steve King’s account of the holy day in Joyce’s life gets the point across: it was very important that the book be delivered to him on this day, and his friends made sure that it was. While Joyce suffered at the hands of those who were afraid to publish his work, he also benefited greatly from the generosity of his friends — Sylvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier – the couple who published it; Harriet Shaw Weaver, who supported him financially and emotionally; Valery Larbaud, who was one of the books first and best critics… not to mention Frank Budgen, or Joyce’s brother Stanislaus, or his Aunt Josephine. It’s a good day to give thanks for all the people around Joyce who made his creation of the book possible – and in that list we would have to give his wife Nora the highest place.
We have great things in store for you in this coming year — the great year of the public domain. Currently we’re working on the “floor plans” of “Nestor” and “Lotus Eaters” – two episodes that take place at the same time on June 16, 1904, so we’re having fun creating them at the same time as well. Many great coincidences and opportunities for interweaving of details. In the final months of writing *Ulysses* – the summer and fall of 1921, Joyce would work on several chapters at the same time — editing page proofs for early chapters as he was still drafting the final ones. (Add to the list of those who suffered that we might read the name of the printer, Maurice Darantiere, who set and reset and reset again the pages of the novel [in letterpress, no less] as Joyce made his thousands of changes to the text).
Stay tuned, friends, and take a short dip into the book today. As with any great work, a lot of people made it happen, not all of whom are found on the cover!
Photo: Courtesy of Wim and Chrissie van Mierlo