The text of Finnegans Wake is not as monolithic as it might seem. It grew out of a set of short vignettes, sections and fragments. Several of these sections, which James Joyce confidently claimed would "fuse of themselves", are still recognizable in the text of Finnegans Wake. And while they are undeniably integrated very skillfully, they also function separately. In this publication history, Dirk Van Hulle examines the interaction between the private composition process and the public life of Joyce's 'Work in Progress', from the creation of the separate sections through their publication in periodicals and as separately published sections. Van Hulle highlights the beautifully crafted editions published by fine arts presses and Joyce's encouragement of his daughter's creative talents, even as his own creative process was slowing down in the 1930s. All of these pre-book publications were "alive" in both bibliographic and textual terms, as Joyce continually changed the texts in order to prepare the book publication of Finnegans Wake. Van Hulle's book offers a fresh perspective on these texts, showing that they are not just preparatory versions of Finnegans Wake but a 'Work in Progress' in their own right.
’Dirk van Hulle’s impeccably researched and wide-ranging book is a major contribution to Joyce scholarship. Presenting the full book-history account of the published versions of "Work in Progress" that appeared in the sixteen years before the publication of Finnegans Wake in 1939, van Hulle persuasively argues that these texts constitute an important subject and series of texts in their own right.’ Michael Groden, Western University Canada
Table of contents to come.
Exploring the intersection of publishing history, book history, and literary and cultural studies, this series supports innovative work on the cultural significance and creative impact of printing and publishing history, including reception, distribution, and translation or adaptation into other media. Proposals are welcome for interdisciplinary and comparative studies by humanities scholars and librarians working in a variety of fields, including literature; book history, periodicals history, and print culture and the sociology of texts; theater, film, and performance studies; library history; history; gender studies; and cultural studies. Topics might include, among other possibilities, publishing histories of major figures or works, of regions, of genres, or studies of particular publishers or practices (including production, distribution, and reception) that hold special aesthetic, social, or political significance. We especially welcome focused argument-driven work that investigates and historicizes new or hybrid forms of text creation and dissemination, including nonprint materials, informal, specialized or private reception and distribution networks, the translation of TV and movies into print, and multimedia publishing practices.