Monday, April 26, 2010

Links: Beach, Joyce, and a lost Guru

As I type this, the Padres are losing 10-0 to the Marlins and Jaroslav Halak is becoming a Montreal Canadiens playoff hero, withstanding a barrage of shots from the vaunted Washington Capitals. Just as I typed his name, he allowed the first Caps goal of the game on their 52nd shot.

I've got a few links to bring attention to.

I found another article on Sylvia Beach and James Joyce, this one from the Irish Times. The article has another cool photo of Beach and Joyce with JJ sporting his dapper suit, walking stick, and sneakers. Just like the last piece I discussed, this one begins with some extremely high praise for Beach:
SYLVIA BEACH would not have considered herself a candidate for sainthood: yet it is hard not to feel a certain reverence and awe when faced with someone who so assiduously and indefatigably advanced the difficult cause of literary Modernism in the early decades of the last century.
But the article doesn't have such high praise for the editing work done on her letters which have been gathered in a new book (it is this book that generated these recent Beach news items), noting many factual errors and faulty editing.

Speaking of which: an anonymous commenter had some very interesting things to say regarding my recent post on the "new" Finnegans Wake that recently came out. He brought my attention to John Kidd, a deceased Joyce scholar who had come under fire not too long ago for criticizing Danis Rose, the same editor who is largely responsible for this new "corrected" Wake. In an incisive article for The New York Review of Books, Kidd shed light on the new "Reader's Edition" of Ulysses that Mr. Rose had edited and released in the late 90s, changing much of Joyce's writing in the process to the point where the Joyce Estate went to court demanding that James Joyce's name be stripped from the book's cover and spine. They cited that Rose had made almost 7,000 editorial changes "that do not appear in any existing manuscript or edition, [and] are so anti-Joycean that the author is Danis Rose, not James Joyce."
It's actually pretty funny to read Kidd ripping Rose a new one. Rose described his own new edition of Ulysses as one which "liberates the text… and makes it possible for the first time for the general reader to relish every nuance and beauty of Joyce’s masterpiece” and he brags about smuggling Ulysses "out of the ivory tower of the academics" to bring it back to the common man in the marketplace. But before his version of the book even begins there's 80 pages of ridiculous prefatory material (preface, three-part introduction, appendix, footnotes, and something called a Technical Appendix discussing Rose's novel techniques) which "alone will intimidate all but the professional textologist or software engineer."

I'm still reading up on John Kidd after the interesting info the commenter passed along but I can say that, after thumbing through the two latest editions of the James Joyce Quarterly I don't agree with his negative assessment of it (the commenter paraphrased him describing it as a "circle-jerk") but it could be that they've changed things up since Kidd's scathing indictment.

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Along the same subject of forging an artist's words...One of my favorite hip hop emcees of all time, Guru from the group Gang Starr, passed away from cancer last week at the age of 43. The sad news comes a few months after he'd entered into a coma spawning swirling rumors of his untimely death. But last week it happened for real. Guru was the voice behind the legendary Gang Starr along with producer DJ Premier and he's responsible for some of the greatest hip hop songs of all time including one of my favorites, "Above the Clouds" featuring Wu-Tang Clan's Inspectah Deck:

Guru's intelligent lyrics provided a major influence throughout my teenage years and, along with the Wu-Tang Clan, helped inspire me (amidst a materialistic, dummy culture prominent amongst the youth in my hometown of Staten Island, New York) to become, or at least try to become, an intellectual. Over melodic, booming DJ Premier beats, Guru glorified the mind ("Street knowledge, intellect and spirituality: my survival package as I deal with reality") and downplayed material objects ("My sense of self and my mental health is much more powerful than any inch of wealth").

The controversy that has arisen after his death has been more than a bit discomforting for me. A slimy, sleezeball named "DJ Solar" who had been working with Guru the last few years (and was possibly involved with him romantically) apparently would not allow Guru's family members to see him on his deathbed, he also tried to prevent long time collaborator DJ Premier from seeing his old friend. The "official" statement that was released after his death seemed to overly praise Solar and there are rumors that he's trying to get in on the royalties from the deceased artist's estate. Things have gotten so bad that Guru's father, a prominent Massachusetts lawyer, had to send police to recover his son's body from the covetous Solar.

Here are two videos that perfectly paint the picture of the man trying to gain off the death of a so-called friend. The first is from a recent interview with MTV's Sway who openly grilled a sweaty, sunglasses-wearing Solar (the video has a bunch of segments, it is the second in the sequence which I bring attention to). The second is an interview with Solar and Guru which...speaks for itself.

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Changing things up...A cool piece in GQ magazine about perhaps the most unique (and entertaining) player in baseball.
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This sounds very cool: a marathon where actors are reading Joyce's books aloud. And they all drink beer afterwards. It's the James Joyce Ramble. Sign me up.

And, last but not least, the Ulysses spacecraft discovers our solar system's biggest comet. Somehow, the article doesn't allude to the "Ithaca" chapter.


  1. Glad you enjoyed the Kidd link. If you get a chance, read Nabokov's Lectures on Literature. There's a funny chapter in there on Ulysses. I guess you should be forewarned that you probably won't find anything you haven't already read in Gilbert or Burgess or figured out yourself, but he does have his own voice--lean and direct--and it does include some interesting maps he drew to help him follow the plot.
    Concerning the copyright, I had been told that the works would enter public domain in 2012. I looked into it and, turns out, it's true and it isn't. If you're interested in the finer points of Joyce copyright, Ohio State University has compiled a great FAQ:

    It covers both the published and unpublished (you asked about the notebooks and correspondence) works. Hope that helps.

  2. Thanks once again for educating me. I'll definitely check out Nabokov's Lectures, maybe at the library. At the moment I'm finishing a second reading of Stuart Gilbert's book and I've also just received "Fabulous Voyager". I'm preparing for my second reading of Ulysses.