Enclosures: James Joyce

20 Jan 2020 3:14 PM | Frances Dickey (Administrator)

In April 1931, James Joyce settles temporarily in London with Nora Barnacle and their daughter Lucia. He immediately calls Eliot, and so begins a period of close contact between the two men. Eliot describes Joyce to Hale as a great writer whose shoes he is not worthy to untie, but a rather impractical person. He reports at least two dinner parties he has given in Joyce’s honor (3 and 16 July), as well as numerous mornings spent discussing the writer’s affairs. On July 21 he is trying to sort out disagreements between Joyce and C. K. Ogden over a gramophone recording of Joyce reading Anna Livia Plurabelle, a copy of which he offers to send Hale.

After his departure from England in September, Joyce exchanges a number of letters with Eliot about the publication of his work and other matters. After answering a letter from Joyce, Eliot often sends it to Hale, such as the long, undated letter enclosed on December 17 (for his reply see Letters 5.775).  In this previously unseen document, Joyce calls the BBC “imbeciles” in reference to their cancellation of a radio broadcast on Ulysses by Harold Nicholson, husband of Vita Sackville-West. He asks Eliot whether Faber has paid any royalties on extracts of his "Work in Progress" this year, and describes Viking’s offer to publish Ulysses,still banned in the U.S.: “Miss Beach whose skirts are still short took a running kick at the offer and sent it…across the Atlantic and through Viking’s goal posts.” An almost indecipherable paragraph concerns his difficulties disposing of his London flat, including remarks about George der Fünfe (the current King of England) conferring the Order of the Garter on Marshal Hindenburg (then president of the Weimar Republic), “in return for the latter’s plucky but unsuccessful attempt to confer the order of  [the?] boot on him.  Is it not enough to make a Norwegian sailor take to drink?” One wonders what Hale made of all this. In a more accessible note written February 2, 1932, Joyce reports the birth of a grandchild, regretting only that his own father (who died on December 29) did not live to see the day.


  • 20 Jan 2020 5:24 PM | CR Mittal
    Rather naive in his courtship, Eliot is already treating Hale as his (unofficial) wife with whom he must share everything.
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  • 20 Jan 2020 5:58 PM | CR Mittal
    Gestures, maybe, of his sincere conviction towards that effect.
    Link  •  Reply
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