In news that has thousands of leather-elbow-patched English professors running around like the sky is falling, a small Irish press has announced that it will publish 10 short pieces—“epiclets,” Joyce called them, as they’re apparently epics in miniature—that the author wrote in 1923, the year after Ulysses was published. Pedants, start your lecturing.
Ithys Press is bringing the collection out as Finn’s Hotel after its editor, the scholar Danis Rose, attempted to do so more than twenty years ago, only to be roundly criticized by stuffy critics and ultimately ditched by the Joyce estate and would-be publisher. But two years ago, all copyright on Joyce’s work expired, so ha! Deal with it, academics probably just annoyed about having to add a new work to your modernism syllabus.
Whether Joyce was really working toward the infamous Finnegans Wake in these pieces or just blowing off steam after being slapped with accusations of obscenity for the admittedly/wonderfully obscene Ulysses, how can it possibly matter? We’re talking about a genius of language whose every written word should be available at every bookstore. We already read his dirty letters. Hell, I’d read his groceries lists. I bet “mustache wax” was always at the top.