Ulysses: An Odyssey of Errors Term Paper

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[. . .] I cut the pages. There is a list of mistakes at the end" The edition you have is full of printers' errors. Please read it in this. I cut the pages. There is a list of mistakes at the end"7 (Ellmann, p. 540).

Joyce himself, compiled lists of errors which were later to be included in editions of the text published in England, Germany, and the United States. With each new re-print, new errors were found. With time, Joyce began to devote his time to the publication of his book Finnegan's Wake. Although he continued to work on the errors in Ulysses, he devoted less and less time to it. During Joyce's lifetime, six editions of Ulysses were produced8.

Ulysses celebrated its 80th birthday this year, and is still no wiser for the wear. The U.S. copyright of Ulysses is now under review and may open the door for even more corrected and improved editions. Recently, there has been a revitalized interest in publishing Ulysses again. There have been many competing non-copyrighted editions of the text.

For a time, copyright on the text had lapsed in the UK and Canada. However, upon review, copyright status has been returned. The copyright status in the U.S. is questionable and a source of debate. It seems as it new editions will continue to be issued in the United States. This new serge in interest in the publication of Ulysses may not be in response to growing demand, but rather due to self-interest of the publishers themselves.

Gabler published a three-volume Critical and Synoptic Edition of Ulysses and its trade counterpart published by Random House, which later became known as the "Corrected Text." Gabler's methods have been a source of debate for many years. There have been many issues raised over Gabler's theoretical orientation, involvement with the Joyce estate, and copyright interests. Gabler was once so bold as to suggest that his edition would eventually "replace the text made public in the book's first printing and every subsequent printing since 1922."9 Gabler supported his position by stating that "the claim can only be as good as the critical scholarship on which it is based."10 Gabler credited some of the most renowned Joycean scholars as advisors on the double-title Page of The Critical and Synoptic Edition.11 In this way he attempted to gain acceptance and credibility by association.

One of the chief objectors to Gabler's text was John Kidd. After four years of criticism, John Kidd's analyses of Gabler's text was published in 1984. In 1988, the New York Review ran a scaled-down version of Kidd's arguments as Kidd first presented them to the Society for Textual Scholarship conference in 1985. The article was entitled " The Scandal of Ulysses," and appeared in the June 30m 1988 issue.12 Kidd based his early post-doctoral work on the 1922 first edition, however demonstrated a working knowledge of all available versions of the printed text. Gabler's critique challenged the reader to judge the edition by the quality of scholarship, upon which the original work was based. Kidd demonstrated that Gabler's usage of facsimiles of the original manuscript combined with sloppy collation of significant compositional and transmissional documents produced an inferior version which reported linguistic and bibliographical variants unknown to Joyce and unsupported by examination of the actual manuscript materials. In response to Gabler's challenge, Kidd's conclusion in "The Scandal of Ulysses" was that "The Corrected Text" should be withdrawn from circulation. Furthermore, he recommended that Random House should reissue its 1961 Modern Library edition in its place. Kidd's attack on Gabler's texts have been a source of heated debate.

There have been those who ignored Kidd's arguments altogether, including some of the people listed on the Title Page of Gabler's edition. The James Joyce Quarterly, a journal in the field of Joyce studies ignored Kidd's monograph in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America entirely, and published Michael Groden's response to Kidd's PBSA piece instead, without ever covering or reviewing Kidd's critique on its merits.13

When sifting through the multiple available editions of Ulysses, it is important to realize that from the June 16, 1986 publication of "The Corrected Text" until June of 1990, all other versions of the novel were withdrawn from circulation worldwide14. By this means, Gabler's texts came to be accepted as authoritative without question. Gabler's editions did indeed embody the definitive text of Ulysses, but only by default. There has been a movement who wishes to re-issue the original unedited texts of the 1922 version. However, others argue that this is unnecessary as Gabler's version should stand as a suitable replacement. Kidd has argued that Gabler's text could not and should not replace the original text.

The debate has broken into two camps. The Editorial Board of the James Joyce Quarterly fervently dismisses the arguments of Kidd. However, Kidd has gained the attention of Jacob Epstein, who was at the time the Editorial Director for Random House, Gabler's publisher in the U.S.A. In June of 1988, Epstein told the New York Times that the Gabler edition appeared to be "seriously flawed," and appointed a committee chaired by famous critical editor and textual scholar, G. Thomas Tanselle to look into the question of whether or not Gabler's text should be withdrawn from publication15. Bruce Arnold's 1991 study of what has been termed the "Joyce Wars" describes the various interesting results of the Epstein/Tanselle inquiry into Gabler's text.

The Kidd-induced self-examination by Random House led to the 1990 reissue by Random House subsidiary Vintage International of the "classic" 1961 version of Ulysses. Professor Kidd has boasted that:

won the Joyce wars when Penguin decided it wasn't worth having Gabler's name on their edition of Ulysses." 16

From this point forward, Gabler's edition would no longer be the authoritative version of Ulysses. It seems that Kidd had successfully unseated Gabler's acceptance by association. As a further slap in the face, along with reissuing the 1961 text of Ulysses, Random House also set about the task of downgrading the Gabler text's cover-blurb, to less complementary language.

Kidd definitively won the American Joyce wars when Random House decided that readers could not be expected to accept its "definitive" edition as the replacement for all other previous versions of the text. This opened the stage for a series of similar changes of the Gabler text in the UK and Canada. This movement was helped by Jeremy Treglown, editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He news of the "Scandal" had the similar effect of spoiling the general reading public's taste for a so-called "Corrected Text" of Ulysses.

Most library copies published between 1990 and the present do not contain the original art or blurbs. Now most copies reflect an acceptance of Kidd's challenge to Gabler almost as readily as they accepted Gabler's "Corrected Text." Many texts published since this time have attempted to monopolize on the controversy in an attempt to boost sales. Marketers know that controversy breeds increased sales revenues.

In the UK/Canada Penguin edition, Gabler's name is conspicuously missing. This edition features an eyepatched and dapper Joyce seated just below the legend "The Scandal of Ulysses," an obvious reference to Kidd's original work. Other publishers, such as Flamingo/Pallidin have followed with similar actions.

The Oxford University Press' edition of Ulysses seems to be the least willing to exploit Kidd's version. The front-cover is primarily pictorial, and it isn't until the middle of the last paragraph of text on the back cover that the edition establishes its position in the larger textual debate by stating that:

today critical interest centres on the authority of the text, and this edition republishes for the first time, without interference, the original 1922 text." 17

The Oxford University press announces its edition of the book as "the only edition available of the 1922 text Joyce proofread and approved for publication." 18

John Kidd's Dublin Edition of Ulysses is still listed in Forthcoming Books but has yet to be released either in the U.S. Or abroad due to the continuing dispute over copyright. The initial publication was supposed to have been on February 2, 1992 in Dublin, Ireland, to commemorate 70 years after the publication of its first edition in Paris. It is based on a survey of the physical forms of the book released during Joyce's lifetime, and draws from no other sources. Kidd did not make the mistake Gabler made and call his edition "definitive." However, the press release described it as "the ideal first edition."

Danis Rose's "Reader's Edition" of Ulysses takes a different approach toward editing an improved text of the novel. This approach seem contrary to ideals of the school which he has been associated with since joining the Gabler editorial team in the early 80s. Here again we see the same claim to authority. He said of his own work,

Before now, no one has thought to look at whether a particular sentence made sense. Joyce sought lucidity. He did not try to make his work foggy… [END OF PREVIEW]

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